It could be a high-tech holiday despite all the harping and hand wringing over economic downturns. If you're looking for help this season when it comes to getting technical - without looking for a bailout, that is - try our list of Top 10 Gadget Gifts.
It could be a high-tech holiday despite all the harping and hand wringing over economic downturns.
If you're looking for help this season when it comes to getting technical - without looking for a bailout, that is - try our list of Top 10 Gadget Gifts.
You don't have to be a computer geek to appreciate a good idea or Donald Trump to afford what's on our list.
The gaming market appears entranced with the Nintendo Wii - reported by eBay as the most searched-for product over the Thanksgiving weekend - so we won't catalog video games.
But there are plenty of other items that might click with the people on your list.
Top 10 Gadget Gifts
• 1. Samsung Delve. Okay, you're aware of the iPhone, Apple's magic box that has transformed the market. But in America, we're all about competition, so here's another do-it-all cell phone device called the Delve.
"You've got three key benefits - e-mail, Internet access and GPS navigation," said Peter Sternberg, a marketing manager for U.S. Cellular, which offers the phone for $99.99 with a two-year service agreement. You can get unlimited Internet and e-mail for an additional $19.95 per month.
• 2. Blackberry Storm. Here's another smart phone, this one from Verizon. The big feature: the first "clickable" touch screen for easy navigation. This is a world phone, able to connect globally in over 150 countries with voice or data. Available from Verizon for $199.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract.
• 3. AT&T Gift Finder. Need help with landing that wireless phone? AT&T offers www.attgiftfinder.com. You get to review what the phone giant has to offer - 28 popular handsets and 10 accessories - while at www.att.com/onlineexperience - you can take a test drive and "touch" a device before you buy it.
• 4. Mini Pop-up Speaker from Cableorganizer.com. So there's someone with an iPod or some other MP3 player on your list (that seems to be most of the population younger than the age of 25)? Give this puck-shaped portable speaker a twist and it pops open to increase bass response. Cost is just $22.26.
• 5. iPanda from Speakal. Who can resist a cuddly audio system?
Just like the iPig speaker dock system that preceded it, the iPanda charges MP3 players plus gaming consoles, game devices, cell phones, desktop PCs and laptops. Control the volume by touching the ears. Price: $139.99.
• 6. Canon PowerShot A410. You need at least one digital camera on the list. This model is fully loaded and simple to operate. It's also affordable. Price: $139.
If you have your heart set on spending a lot, know that the more expensive cameras with six or more megapixels (the PowerShot is three) dropped in price this holiday season, according to PriceSCAN.
• 7. Wind Power Renewable Energy Science Kit from Imaginechildhood.com. Build a wind turbine right in your living room while learning how wind is such a promising energy source. For ages eight and older. Price: $49.95.
• 8. Environmental DVDs from Earth Cinema Circle. Going green? You pay $17.95 every other month (plus $4.95 for shipping) and receive four different films that focus on the latest environmental issues. You're not renting. The films are yours to keep, share or trade.
• 9. Replay Media Catcher from Applian Technologies. Download online video and audio from millions of sites with just one click. Don't ask us how they do it. Just know that the computer press loves this thing. Price: $39.95.
• 10. Mediapedia by Kit Laybourne. Now that you've got stuff, you need to know how to use it. Here's a book for anyone interested in being creative with technology. More than 700 pictures make it a gorgeous book to look at even if you're just skimming pages. But settle on a chapter and learn.
The author said his goal is to help folks take their personal media work to the next level. A teacher of media design at the New School in New York City, Laybourne says, "People who live on the water should know how to swim." Price: $24.95.
Steve Tarter can be reached at (309) 686-3260 or firstname.lastname@example.org.