[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.
Here we are in the week before Christmas, and while we hope that everyone's got their holiday shopping completed, we know from experience that it's a little too optimistic to think that way. We put together our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide in order to help guide you, but we've heard loud and clear that some of you felt the guide was a little light in the video game area. With that in mind, we've decided to compile three big holiday game releases that we think you should add to your wish list, if you haven't already. The holiday season is chock full of major game releases, so this obviously isn't a definitive list. Instead, it's a look at three titles that we think you shouldn't miss. A big thank you goes out to Sony's Xperia Play, which sponsored this post - if you're looking for the ultimate smartphone that can also run Playstation games, you'll wanna check out the Xperia Play.
These games should all be easy to find at your local Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Gamestop, and the like - so you don't have to wait for slow shipping that might ruin an otherwise perfect Christmas gift exchange. Now, on to the list - click on through for our thoughts!
The Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB is one of the cooler items we're featuing in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. It basically turns your computer into a fully-functional live TV DVR. We know that features like Media Center exist on PCs, but the problem is that, until now, it's been hard to get a good signal into your computer. The InfiniTV 4 USB fixes that. It's a CableCARD adapter that plugs into your machine using USB. So all you need to do is insert a CableCARD from your cable provider, plug in your cable cord, and plug in to your computer. From there, you'll have access to all of the cable channels that you subscribe to, and you can record up to four different channels at once. See? We told you this was cool. Great for rooms where you only have a computer and no television, but also great if you want to incorporate a Mac or PC into your home theater setup, as it eliminates the need for a cable box, meaning you save on that montly rental fee. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 USB sells for $299, but you can get one on Amazon for $269, saving yourself 10%.
We bet a few of you are wondering what an SD card is doing on our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide, but give us a moment to explain. Eye-Fi cards are the bomb. What you're getting here is freedom and convenience, as these cards will sync and upload the content stored on them without the need for a cable. In other words, put this thing into a camera and snap away. When you get back home to your Wi-Fi network, the images will be transferred to your computer right over the network, over the air. You can also optionally tell it that you'd also like the images uploaded to your favorite social network, like, say, Facebook. Even better? Your images get geotagged too by the Eye-Fi card. These things are straight up awesome, and you can get one on Amazon for $88 (a 17% discount.)
This 2011 Holiday Gift Guide entry is targeted at making computing a little more fun and futuristic - and we're even giving this one away! The Microsoft Touch Mouse is made exclusively for use with Windows 7. It's got a multitouch surface, allowing you to use natural touch gestures to perform common tasks. Basically, think of it as the Apple Magic Mouse, but for your Windows PC. It's got support for one-, two-, and three-findered gestures, and runs on 2 AA batteries. They sell for $79, but you can get one on Amazon now for $41, which is a whopping 48% discount.
Or, you can win one here! We are giving one of these Microsoft Touch Mouse prizes away as we continue our holiday giveaway series. Simply use the widget below to enter to win. We've got a lot of ways for you to enter, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:
Here's a 2011 Holiday Gift Guide entry aimed at the office workers in your life. We know that robotic helicopters and dinosaurs win all the points for flash, but we're here to tell you that the Desk Pets TankBot helps you conquer by force. You charge up the TankBot using its USB connection, and then you use your smartphone to control it. How cool is that? You can also set it to random, letting it wreak havoc on all your co-workers with its light-up eyes and sound effects. They're available in multiple colors, and you can get one for $50 on Amazon.
Steve Jobs will definitely be missed, and today's 2011 Holiday Gift Guide entry honors his memory, while also helping a great cause. What you see above is the GeeksRiot Steve Jobs Tribute t-shirt. All proceeds from the $25 purchase go towards Movember and the fight against cancer. Aside from all that, though, the shirt looks ridiculously cool. Seriously, we've seen 'em in person, and they're high quality. Go check them out, and grab a couple for the Apple fans in your life!
We know how many of you are Star Wars geeks, so we had to get some love for you in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. As you know, there are enough Star Wars books out there--enough to line the walls of the Jedi Academy. But these...these are a collection by J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at LucasFilm, where he's brought together amazing content from all six films. Yes, that includes original sketches of the Death Star. This is enough to make any fan tingle with glee. The set normally sells for $500, but you can get it on Amazon for $450, a 10% discount.
Here's a more unique entry for our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. This is the Lomography Sprocket Rocket. The plastic-bodied Rocket camera has a wide-angle frame that exposes the film all the way to the edges, out past the sprocket holes. It also lets you rewind the film for those cool double exposures. They typicalls sell for $89, but you can grab one on Amazon for $78.50, a 12% savings.
Apple's smallest notebook is the MacBook Air, and all signs are pointing to this being the best-selling Mac this holiday season, so we had to include it in our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide. The 11-inch MacBook Air packs in speedy flash memory that is soldered directly onto the motherboard, resulting is lightning-fast performance. It also means no moving parts, so you get five hours of battery life from the tiny little wonder, and it even sports a full-sized keyboard, which we feel is a must (and is one of our main complaints with other netbooks.) The price starts at $999 from Apple, but hey, if you go with Amazon then its $994 with free shipping, and MacMall has them starting at $799--a full $200 off! Not bad for the most portable Mac out there.