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Wednesday December 21, 2011 12:04 pm

Ask Andru: Eight last-minute ideas for cool tech gifts

Last minute holiday gifts

[Editor's Note: Andru Edwards of Gear Live and the Ask Andru column joined us on this week's GeekWire radio show and podcast to share his top picks for technology gifts this holiday season. Here's a rundown of his choices, just in time your last-minute shopping.]

Kindle Fire: Amazon's $199 tablet is often compared to the iPad, but in many ways it's more appropriate to compare it to the iPod touch, based on the price and feature set. If you want a cheap tablet that can ship to you by Christmas, the Kindle Fire is it. There are some bugs. In terms of responsiveness and the accuracy of its touch interface, the Kindle Fire doesn't always live up to Apple iOS devices, but for $199 you're not going to find anything else that has this feature set, and many of the bugs will be fixed by software updates.

Crayola ColorStudio HD: This $29.99 accessory is a digital marker for the iPad, turning the Apple tablet into a virtual coloring book when used in conjunction with a companion app, with music and animations. With the digital marker, kids can do more with the iPad than just play games. They can be color, they can make their own coloring book pages. Input styles include crayons, markers and paint. Features include Facebook sharing and printing through Apple AirPrint.

Eye-Fi: These SD memory cards for digital cameras have Wi-Fi built in, allowing you to automatically upload photos straight to your computer, eliminating the need to sync with a cable. It also can post directly to Facebook and other social networks. Prices start at $49.99 for a 4GB card.

PlugBug Charger:  This power accessory attaches to MacBook power adapters, adding a built-in USB port and 10-watt charger for another device, such as an iPad, from the same outlet. It's priced at $34.99. So even if you can only grab one plug at the airport, you can charge two devices at once.

GLIF: This accessory for iPhone 4 and 4S allows the Apple phones to be attached to a tripod or propped up on a flat surface, and it can even be screwed on to a tripod. It sells for $20. Grab the Glif+ pack for a keychain accessory and a bracket to hold the iPhone in place.

CanvasPop: This online service makes canvas prints from Instagram photos, with prices starting at $30. The deadline for holiday shipping has passed, but gift certificates are still available.

GeeksRiotThis site, featuring geeky apparel and merchandise with a Seattle theme, also made Monica Guzman's list of geeky gifts from the Seattle, for its Heart of the City shirt.

Sonos Play:3 This wireless music player sells for $299, letting you stream music anywhere in your home, controlled by your smartphone. It pulls music from all sorts of music services, including your own computer, and radio across the world.

That's it! If you have any ideas of your own, feel free to add them to the comments. As always, send your tech questions to askandru@gmail.com and I'll be sure to feature them, along with my answers, in a future column!

Andru Edwards is the Editor-in-Chief of Gear Live, a digital strategy consultant, and does speaking gigs focused on startups and social media. He’s a true lover of all things digital. You can find him on Twitter at @andruedwards, watch his technology videos on YouTube, and/or subscribe to him on Facebook.

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