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Photo: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The fight for the next generation of hardware has already begun, and nearly all the tech giants are taking part.

Why it matters: All the firms that were successful with the phone want a place in what comes next. So do all the companies who came up short in mobile. That's a lot of companies.

Here's a look at the three most critical new categories, with some of their pros and cons, and a look at the competitive landscape this far.

The wrist

Pros: There's room for a decent size screen, direct access to measure things like heart rate and a history of people wearing devices there.

Cons: Just shrinking phone apps to fit the tiny screen isn't very satisfying, and figuring out the best means of input remains tricky.

Early leader: Apple Watch

In the mix: Google has struggled, but the addition of Fitbit gives it another chance. Samsung, meanwhile, stands to benefit from its partnership with Google. Facebook is also working on products in this space.

The ear

Pros: It's a natural spot for a speaker and a pretty good place for microphones, and people are used to putting things in their ears.

Cons: There's very little space for a battery or processor, so computing work will have to be done by a nearby device.

Early leader: Apple AirPods

In the mix: Everyone else has their own buds, including Samsung, Google, Amazon and Microsoft.

The eyes

Pros: There are different ways to serve up a display from smart contact lenses to lightweight goggles to full headsets.Cons: Glasses are a familiar accessory, but they have also set an expectation that anything placed there will be lightweight and fashionable. That means today's devices are either underpowered or too bulky for the masses.

Early leader: It's still a wide open field.

In the mix: On the lightweight side, Snap has been experimenting with Spectacles for some time. On the bulky but powerful front, Microsoft's Hololens has won military and business deals. Google has been reeling since its early setbacks with Glass, but it continues to invest, while Facebook plans to start testing its own smart glasses later this year.

Go deeper: Your smartphone is breaking up

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 8, 2021 - Technology
Column / Signal Boost

The long list of Facebook's insiders-turned-critics

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

While many tech firms have had their critics and whistleblowers, Facebook has a uniquely lengthy roster of ex-employees and former insiders who have sounded alarms over its practices.

Why it matters: These calls keep coming from people who were once inside the building. Such voices can carry more weight than outside agitators, though no one has yet found the key to kickstart large-scale Facebook reform.

Nikolas Cruz pleads guilty to Parkland school shooting

Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz at the defense table during jury selection at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Oct. 6, 2021. Photo: Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Nikolas Cruz on Wednesday pleaded guilty on all counts for carrying out the 2018 shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead, including 14 students and three staff members.

Driving the news: Cruz, 23, pleaded guilty at a hearing on Wednesday to 17 murder counts and 17 counts of attempted first-degree murder for carrying out the deadly shooting.

2 hours ago - Health

White House unveils plan to "quickly" vaccinate kids ages 5-11

Charles Muro, 13, is inoculated at Hartford Healthcare's mass vaccination center at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford, Conn. Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Wednesday released its plan to vaccinate children between the ages of five and 11, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration of the first COVID-19 shot for that age group.

The big picture: The White House said it has secured enough vaccine supply to equip more than 25,000 pediatric and primary care offices, hundreds of school and community health clinics, as well as tens of thousands of pharmacies, to administer the shots.