Rather than having a single tech toy this month, I've decided to offer a list of what I think are cool technology gift ideas for the holiday season. Some of the items on this list I've written about before. Others are new or have additional information. If for no other reason the items on my list are included simply because I think they are worthy. And I can do that because this is my list - so there! :)
OK, without further ado and in no particular order, here is the Marcel Brown Tech Toy Holiday shopping list:
Apple iMac & MacBook
Apple Macintosh computers are a very hot item. Macintosh computers have been slowly but surely gaining market share from Windows over the last few years as more and more users are switching. If you are thinking of buying someone (yourself?) a Macintosh, start by looking at the iMac and MacBook. The iMac is an all-in-one desktop computer. The MacBook is Apple's "consumer" oriented laptop. Both models have recently been "speed-bumped", meaning that new models are out, offering faster speeds and more features at the same price as previous models. However, be warned that these new models are selling out quickly, so you may want to get one ASAP.
Palm Centro SmartPhone
Finally! Palm has come out with a true smartphone for the average user. In other words - it is actually affordable!. With a 2 year agreement, the Centro is only $99. For the time being, the Centro is only available on the Sprint network, but I'm sure it will become available on other carriers soon. For more info on smartphones, see my previous article. For more info on the Centro, see this website: http://www.palm.com/us/products/smartphones/centro/
If you're going to buy someone a TV, please make sure it is an HDTV (high definition television). Remember, all TV stations will be required to broadcast ONLY in high definition in 2009. There are so many HDTV models in so many difference price categories, I can't really make a specific recommendation. However, here are a couple of tips. Try to actually see the TV in person and compare it with other models. There is no substitute for actually seeing a TV in person - after all, what else do you do with a TV but stare at it? Also, make sure the store you purchase from has a liberal return policy. The TV that looks great in the store may not look so great in someone's living room.
Digital Photo Frames
Digital photo frames can make a great gift, even for those who are not into tech toys. These gifts can be personalized by including your own family pictures on a compatible media card (this a great use for older, smaller media cards that you may no longer use). Read more about digital photo frames in my previous article.
Simply put, the Nintendo Wii is a revolutionary video game console, but more importantly, it is THE hottest tech toy of the season. You can get more information about the Wii in my previous articles, http://www.wii.com, or http://www.nintendo.com/wii. Besides the Wii's features, the Wii is also known for being notoriously difficult to find. Availability of the Wii was improving - until the holiday season began. If you are in the market for a Nintendo Wii, shop early and shop often, as your only chance may be to snag one as they put it on the shelf.
If you know someone who has a few gadgets, then a charging station can make a nice, yet inexpensive gift. Rather than putting up with an unsightly mess of cables, charging stations allow a user to organize the cables and then easily charge their devices. There are many different types of charging stations, so I've picked out two examples at different price points.
The first is the "Power Station". At $19.95, it is useful but inexpensive, charging up to 3 devices at one time. Available in black or grey plastic, it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing product, but if that isn't a consideration, then it should be a much appreciated purchase. You can find the Power Station at X-TremeGeek.com.
The second example is the Brookstone Charging Valet. This charging station can charge up to 6 devices simultaneously and looks as if it is made out of a slightly dark wood, which should blend in nicely in many decors. However, you'll pay for this as at $75, it is more than double the price of the Power Station. However, if "Spouse Approval Factor" (SAF) is important to your gift recipient, then do them a favor and spend the extra money! You can find the Charging Valet at Amazon.com.
iPhone & iPod Touch
Unless you've been living under a rock, you certainly know that the iPhone from Apple is a hot item. Feel free to read more about the iPhone in my previous articles or at http://www.apple.com/iphone. However, you may not know about the iPod Touch. Basically, the iPod Touch is just like the iPhone - without the phone features. It still has Wi-Fi connectivity, the Safari browser, the large rotating screen, and all the other cool features of the iPhone. You just can't make calls on it or use it with a cellular data network. It also sports a lower price tag than the iPhone. So for many people who like all the features of the iPhone but don't need another phone, the iPod touch could be perfect.
It appears that the Slingbox is going to be a popular item this year. The Slingbox basically lets you watch programming from your home TV on your laptop or mobile device anywhere in the world. You can read more about the Slingbox in my previous article or at http://www.slingbox.com
The Nintendo DS is the current handheld game system from Nintendo. It has been a consistent hot seller since the device was introduced in 2004. The DS stands for "dual screen" and is the first handheld game system that uses two screens. One of the screens is a pressure-sensitive touchscreen, which allows users to interact with in-game elements in a more direct way than by pressing buttons. The DS also includes built-in Wi-Fi networking, allowing users to play with others across the room or around the world. Current colors of the Nintendo DS are white, black, and pink.
Myvu Personal Media Viewer
Simply put, you can wear these glasses to watch movies or play video games on a virtual big screen. With the included earphones, you can watch your movie or play your game without disturbing others. You can connect these glasses to any video source such as a portable DVD player, video iPod, or video game console. I will write in more detail about this item for my next Tech Toy of the Month article, but in the meantime go to http://www.myvu.com for more information.
If you have any questions about any technology gift, feel free to contact me.