Holiday Gifts for the Techie in Your Life.

Holiday shopping for the technologically-savvy people on your list can be a daunting task. Don’t worry, we can help. I asked my team of techies what was on their list. Here are some ideas straight from the source:

Smart Phone – Perfect for: everyone.

The smart phone topped the list for my team as the most basic, “must have.” They were divided between the iPhone 4S and the EVO 4G Android. Keep in mind that although the phone is the gift, either you or the recipient will have to pay the monthly bill, including a data plan. If possible, it might be handy to have the phone activated so that it’s ready to dial Christmas morning.

Tablet or eReader – Perfect for: everyone.

The tablet made everyone’s list. The iPad 2 was the top pick with the Nook and the Kindle Fire tied for second.

You can get the Kindle Fire for $199, the Nook for $249, and the iPad for a hefty $499 or $829, depending on storage needs and if you want the wifi-only version or the 3G service. The monthly service for 3G will run an extra $15-20 a month.

The Kindle Fire and the Nook can’t really compete with the speed, storage, screen size or number of available apps on the iPad, but for less than half the price, it doesn’t need to. Plus, you won’t pay a monthly data fee. Choosing between the Kindle and the Nook is a decision about whose content is king, the Kindle downloads content from Amazon and the Nook downloads from Barnes and Noble.

Web TV – Perfect for: the homebody.

Internet-enabled television is a hot item. The most noted were Apple TV, Roku and Google TV (the Logitech Revue box). It’s a small component, about the size of a sandwich, that connects to your TV with one simple cord. You can stream movies, TV shows, music, photos and videos. Google TV even lets you browse the web and features other functionality, like a split screen for concurrent web browsing and TV watching.

These technologies are the impressive future of TV, but the downside is that they may be soon obsolete. There are already TVs that are internet-ready and you can typically get a lot of these services through your Blu-Ray player or gaming system. The upside is their affordability – typically between $50-100.

3D-TV – Perfect for: the movie buff.

If you want the cinema experience in your living room, you’re going to pay for it. You’ll need the 3D TV, the 3D Blu-Ray player, the 3D movies and, of course, the goofy 3D glasses. For everything, you’ll pay more than $1,500.

Tough Camera – Perfect for: the shutter bug.

It seems that all the camera makers have a “tough” camera on the market. They’re sturdier and more resilient than ever. Drop it from 10 feet, submerge it in up to 30 feet of water or freeze it to 14 degrees – this camera is for the outdoorsy type and could even stand up to the abuse of a family. Shatter proof, waterproof, and freeze proof options are available for around $300.

AirPlay speakers – Perfect for: the music lover.

AirPlay speakers let you play music from your computer, phone, iPod and more without the cords. They use wifi or Bluetooth technology – or as it seems, magic. Prices range between $200 and $1,200. Bose has launched a portable version just in time for the holidays priced at $300.

Giant Universal Remote – Perfect for: the person with multiple remotes.

This giant remote boasts a 3.5” lighted touch screen display and controls TV, DVD player, music player, VCR, radio, game console and more – in fact, it’s pre-programmed for 225,000 devices. For $350, your techie can turn on all the right gadgets, in the right order – with one touch.

Wireless charging tray – Perfect for: the multi-tasker.

If your techie has a slew of devices that need charging, consider a wireless charging tray. The charging tray is a flat surface that plugs into an outlet. You simply rest your item(s) to be charged on top of it. They’ll never be short an outlet or waste time searching for that lost cord again. They’re affordable too – as little as $40.

It’s easy to research prices and features online, but it’s always fun to head down to the store to play with the gift before you buy. Good luck with your holiday shopping and have fun!

by Nannette, Vice President, Technology Solutions Group

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