25 Holiday Gifts A Techie Will Love

All right folks, it's that time of year again. Time to sip the eggnog and ponder what to the heck get the gadget-head that has everything. Techies are a tricky tribe. When they want something, they buy it for themselves. The goal here is to beat them to the punch so when the big day comes they can't get all "bah humbug" on you. Whatever holiday you celebrate, this is the time of year to go the extra mile and give your beloved geeks a gift they'll cherish, or at least wow them with the ironic cheesiness of it all.

With your technology loving loved ones in mind, we present 25 gifts to get that techie in your life. These hit all technologies and all price ranges, though with most technology some of the prices might appear staggering. With any luck, a few of these will have you slapping your forehead and wondering "Why didn't I think of that?"

Yeah, your geek may already have a BlackBerry. But does he have the BlackBerry Storm? Probably not. This hot handheld, which hit stores on Nov. 21 -- just in time for the holiday shopping season -- is the Apple iPhone for the professional set. The Storm marks BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) Ltd.'s first foray into touch screen devices and the Canadian wunderkind pulled no punches with this bad boy. The Storm packs all of the professional BlackBerry punch into a slick touch-screen smart phone, while also packing in enough multimedia capabilities to give your geek some grade-A bragging rights.

The 3G BlackBerry Storm ties in all of BlackBerry's e-mail, calendaring, messaging and mobile Web capabilities, along with a host of multimedia capabilities like GPS, video, music and more. It also features a 3.2-megapixel camera with zoom, flash and video-recording capabilities. But the main draw of the Storm is its "clickable" touch-screen that makes an audible clicking sound and depresses slightly as users type on the touch-sensitive display.

The Storm, which is exclusive through Verizon Wireless in the U.S., costs around $200 with a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year activation.

No doubt that the techie in your life already has an Apple iPod or some other MP3 player. And odds are they know someone else who does too. So leave it to a 16-year-old San Francisco-area girl to create a way for iPod users to beam music from one MP3 player to another. While the NeoStringAttached by SnoopTunes first hit the market in 2007, it'll be a hot one this year. Essentially, these silver bullet-like devices can beam music from one device to another, as long as the sender and recipient each have one and are within a 30-foot radius.

The NeoStringAttached runs about $30 for a pair. For more info and availability check out SnoopTunes on the Web at www.snooptunes.com.

OK, this one might not be for everyone on your holiday gift list, but there has to be someone who wants a, ahem! stylish way to carry around their MP3 player. Chinavision has introduced this cast metal skull belt buckle that comes complete with a 1 GB portable media player, an LED light module and stereo headphones so it's as much an entertainment device as it is a fashion statement. Just pop the MP3 player or LED module into the skull's forehead and rock out.

Chinavision even bills it as a self-defense tool: "What else can you do with this punk skull belt buckle? Do you have to walk through a dangerous neighborhood at night or hang out at a rough bar? Then we have found the perfect clothing accessory for you. If anyone gives you trouble, just give them a skull in the face! That's right, this belt buckle is so solid you could take it off and use it as a handheld weapon. Wear this unique belt buckle with pride of ownership."

So far, pricing has not yet been announced, but the folks at Chinavision guarantee it will be available soon and for a competitive price.

We've all been there, trying to find a hot spot (legally or illegally) and having to boot up a laptop and search for a signal. Boot no more. The Mobile Edge Wi-Fi Signal Locator attaches to a keychain or carrying case to help track down hot spots.

It's being billed as the world's smallest Wi-Fi signal detector -- 2.2 inches by 0.5 inches by 1.2 inches -- and features patent-pending technology so it only detects the presence of Wi-Fi signals -- 802.11 b and g networks -- not microwaves or cordless phones, which can sometimes cause interference. It features four LED's to show signal strength and comes with a one-year warranty.

The device carries a price tag of just under $30.

Just in time for those long holiday drives, Autonet Mobile is offering in-vehicle Internet service that brings Wi-Fi connectivity to the family vehicle. Keep the kids or grandpa busy surfing the Web in the back seat while you navigate the road ahead. Autonet Mobile offers in-car Wi-Fi that lets users bring laptops, Macs, PSPs and other Wi-Fi devices so they can live the digital life on the go.

Autonet does caution though, that users shouldn't surf and drive. Duh.

The Autonet Mobile system can be installed in any new or existing vehicle for a suggested $499 per unit and service starts at $29 per month.

For the past few holiday seasons, GPS systems have been the go-to gift for techies, or road warriors with a poor sense of direction. But Mio is taking GPS one step further, going a bit David Hasselhoffian with this little number: the Mio Knight Rider Portable GPS Navigator. The 4.3-inch widescreen GPS comes pre-loaded with U.S and Canadian maps straight out of the box, without the need to download data from a PC. The focus of this navigator, however, is the turn-by-turn voice navigation, featuring the original voice of K.I.T.T. (William Daniels), the talking car from the now-iconic 1980s television series. While that might be enough for those who want to emulate Hasselhoff's Michael Knight, this bad boy also features a data base of points of interest to point you to gas stations, restaurants, hotels and more. And with up to eight hours of battery life, you can play Knight Rider all day.

Mio is quick to note that Michael's Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, the original K.I.T.T., is not included.

The Knight Rider GPS runs about $269 and is available from a host of retailers.

This 3.3-ounce camcorder packs one heck of a punch. The Flip MinoHD is the world's smallest high-definition camcorder. From Pure Digital Technologies, the slim handheld can record up to 60 minutes of HD video and also features Flip Video's new FlipShare software, an on-board software platform that lets users plug the camcorder's signature flip-out USB arm into any computer for drag-and-drop video organizing, editing and sharing on popular sites like YouTube, MySpace, AOL Video or through email.

Flip MinoHD also lets users personalize their own device at no extra cost through thousands of professional or custom designs.

The camera has 720p HD resolution, 4 GB of internal memory for 60 minutes of HD video, a 1.5 inch anti-glare LCD display, one-touch recording with two times zoom and a host of other features and functions.

The suggested retail price for the Flip MinoHD is around $230.

Once it got an endorsement from the all-powerful Oprah, it's guaranteed that the Amazon Kindle will be a hot item for not just geeks, but pretty much anyone. The Kindle, an e-reading device, costs $359 and offers enough memory to store 200 books. It offers a week's worth of battery power if the wireless is turned off and recharges in two hours. When the wireless is on, it has to be charged about every other day. And since it's wireless, the Kindle works like a cell phone, using Sprints EVDO network to find and download books.

The Kindle features a 6-inch diagonal E-Ink electronic paper display with 600 by 800 pixel resolution. It weighs in at 10.3 ounces and measures 7.5 inches by 5.3 inches by 0.7 inches. Most books run about $10 for the Kindle and a number of major newspapers and magazines have launched subscription services where the latest issues are delivered directly to the device.

Know someone who works a lot in a cold home or office? Or someone with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, arthritis, Raynaud's, DeQuervain's, poor circulation, tendonitis or other painful ailments? Well, the WarmMe Warm Mouse may make the perfect gift.

While it looks like a typical mouse, this USB optical scrolling mouse warms up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit to keep your hand warm while working. It features an on/off switch on the cord and works with any PC, Mac or notebook. It offers standard two- or three-button function and accurate 800 dpi.

Warm Mouse maker WarmMe says the device is ergonomically designed to minimize unnecessary pressure on the wrist and forearm and ensures the user's wrist is in a neutral position. The Warm Mouse uses therapeutic infrared heat to relax hand and wrist muscles and can actually improve circulation while also reversing damage to overworked joints.

The Warm Mouse retails for about $30.

Any geek that's not yet tired of leaving streaks and fingerprints on the iPhone, iPod or other touch screen device will jump at the chance to muck up their PC screen, right? Well put an HP TouchSmart PC in their hands and let the fingerprints fly.

HP's TouchSmart PC IQ500 family features HP software designed specifically for touch: either a finger tap or sweep across the high-resolution screen delivers quick access to information, entertainment and social networks without a keyboard or mouse.

The TouchSmart IQ500 series makes it easier for users to interact with their media, record TV shows, burn personal videos and keep in touch with friends with a built-in Web cam and microphone. Requiring only one cord to set up and power the system the TouchSmart IQ500 line combine a 22-inch diagonal high-definition widescreen with an Intel Core 2 Due processor in a single design. They offer a low-profile wireless keyboard with integrated WLAN.

The IQ504 and the TV-tuner equipped IQ506 start between $1,299 and $1,499.

Slacker Inc. wants to go head-to-head with the Apple iPod this holiday season, unveiling its ultra-portable Slacker G2, a personal radio player that lets users carry personalized Slacker radio stations anywhere they go, regardless of a network connection.

Slacker Personal Radio lets listeners personalize more than 100 programmed stations to create, edit and share their own Personal Radio stations while also having access to artist profiles, album reviews and cover art.

The G2 promises CD quality personal radio everywhere. Music is delivered automatically without having to manage playlists or deal with software. Slacker does all the work -- just plug in the headphones and listen. With no subscription fees, Slacker G2 owners can access the extensive online music library of millions of songs. The device also features buttons to let users flag their favorite songs or ban ones they don't like.

Slacker stations can be refreshed over Wi-Fi or USB. The device features a 2.4-inch color screen; customer EQ and volume normalization options; and up to 15 hours of battery life. The device is available in both 25 and 40 station capacities for $199.99 and $249.99, respectively, and can play existing MP3 and WMA music.

For the extreme geek on the go, Solio's Universal Hybrid Charger can zap any handheld electronic device under the sun back to life when the battery drains. The device can accept solar power from the sun or from the wall. It can hold its charge for up to a year and power up cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras, portable gaming systems and GPS devices.

According to the folks at Solio, a fully charged Solio Classic (shown here) will charge a mobile phone more than twice or give an iPod 20 hours of tune-pumping juice. Just one hour of sunshine equals 20 minutes of talk time or 50 minutes of MP3 music. The portable charger offers an energy source where no others are available.

The Solio Classic, which runs between $70 and $100, weighs 5.6 ounces and measures 4.72 inches by 1.34 inches by 2.56 inches. It can withstand a temperature range of between -4 and 131 degrees Fahrenheit.

Know a techie who is also an audiophile? Then you can't go wrong with the Olive Opus No. 4 Music Server. This bad boy stores up to 3,000 CDs and plays them in stellar sound quality. The multi-room music system is easy to use: insert a CD, make one click and the music is digitally stored and categorized with all of the relevant album information. The 4.3-inch wide touch-screen interface lets users browse through their music, make playlists, and find the right song. Really like the playlist you created? The Olive Opus No. 4 lets you burn it back to a CD. Opus will even pre-load CDs for you, so you can give the gift of music.

The Opus No. 4 is available in 320 GB, 500 GB, 750 GB and 1 TB models that range from $1,499 to $1,799.

This holiday season, give the gift of connectivity.

Cradlepoint's CTR500 Cellular Travel Router can make any mobile broadband connection a Wi-Fi hotspot. The router supports both express cards and USB modems and works over EVDO and HSDPA, aka 3G, networks meaning regardless of provider users broadband subscription service can become a wireless hotspot. Take it on the road or on vacation to always stay connected. The device also includes an Ethernet port. This box can be used anywhere that wireless broadband is available that an Internet connection is not.

The Cradlepoint CTR500 runs about $180.

Your favorite techie probably already has an Apple iPod. But can that techie control it with voice commands? Doubtful. This year brighten up the holidays with Innotech Systems' Accenda Voice Control for iPod, which lets users manipulate the media players with their voice. Voice commands can adjust the volume, play a song, stop play, skip tracks, go back to tracks and replay songs without lifting a finger. Perfect for exercising, biking, canoeing or just sitting and relaxing.

Just plug the earbuds into the Accenda Voice Control and plug its cable into the iPod and rock out hands free.

The Accenda Voice Control for iPod has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of around $100.

LG's first entrance into the U.S. smart phone market comes in the form of this slick little touch screen: the LG Incite. The AT&T exclusive device works on the carrier's high-speed 3G network and packs a wallop when it comes to functionality and multimedia features, from a music player to corporate email integration. The Incite runs on Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, so it makes a perfect gift for the Windows faithful. It also brings a good dose of other features like aGPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 to the table.

The device costs just under $200 with a two year contract and mail-in rebate, but it's a small price to pay to put the world in the palm of a techie's hand.

Digital picture frames were so 2007, and the techie in your life knows it. But AuidoVox has taught an old dog new tricks with the AudioVox Homebase. It's a digital picture frame and message center all in one. Additionally, the audio Homebase has a microphone and records voice messages, while the video Homebase has a tiny camera that lets users leave video messages. The Homebase ties in a 7-inch LCD digital picture frame that can hold up to 125 images. The frame is embedded into an erasable white board with a magnetic boarder for notes. The Homebase even features a slot for a pack of Post-It notes.

The AudioVox Homebase runs between around $100 for the audio model and up to $200 for the video model.

Now that everyone has given your favorite techie every digital gift under the sun, it's your turn to be the hero and present a single remote control to work it all. While the $250 price tag makes the Logitech Harmony One Advanced Universal Remote a spicy meatball, the features and functions will make up for it, while also chopping the number of remotes needed to just one.

This remote does it all. It offers one-touch access to entertainment, simply press the touch-screen and the remote does the rest; just select DVD, TV, music and other one-touch functions. It can replace up to 15 remote controls. It features sculpted and backlit buttons, an ergonomic design and is rechargeable, meaning you'll never have to fumble around for batteries when the remote conks out.

The set up is simple and Logitech offers an online setup software and live customer support, though we doubt that'll be necessary. The Harmony remote can control virtually any home-entertainment device and sports and online databases of more than 225,000 electronics from 5,000 different brands.

Give your geek the gift of control with Hawking Tech's HomeRemote Pro Starter Kit. The starter kit ties in HomeRemote Pro Internet Gateway, HomeRemote Pro Door Sensor and HomeRemote Pro Lamp Module. Together, the components let users customize their home lighting, security, climate and entertainment control with one Web-enabled device. Users can log into a computer or smart phone to turn on and off lights or other systems using Z-Wave. Users can also add email and text alerts for a small fee. The starter kit runs around $229.

A high-end techie will be as giddy as a child unwrapping this hefty DVR this holiday season. TiVo's biggest DVR to date offers massive recording capacity that can save up to 150 hours of HD programming and is THX certified for premium audio and video quality. Users can record two shows at once in high-definition and also pause and rewind live television. What good is that pricy HD TV if you miss everything you want to watch?

This monster TiVo box commands a $600 price tag.

Ok, so this one is kind of a throwback to the analog era, but as vinyl makes its resurgence it just makes sense to have a top-of-the-line turntable to spin those slabs of wax. Everyone knows that vinyl sounds better than CDs or those poor excuses for audio, MP3s. The McIntosh MT10 belt-driven turntable offers tracking force, anti-skate and cartridge position reset, as well as a friction minimizing custom tonearm that'll make any techie's records sound as crystal clear as the day the bought them -- pops and hisses be damned. If that's not enough, the MT10 ties in an illuminated speed meter. While not too many are willing to shell out $9,500 for a turntable, just imagine how great that mono copy of the Beatles White Album your dad dropped a massive chunk of coin for on eBay will sound on this beast.

Standard notebooks have become passe, and every techie knows it. This year, break the boredom and plunk a tablet under the tree. Earlier this year Fujitsu rolled out its LifeBook P1630 Tablet PC, which features an 8.9-inch WXGA touch-screen display. The P1630 has an Intel Core 2 Duo Ultra Low Voltage SU9300 processor running at 1.20GHz, 1 GB DDR2 667 SDRAM memory and an 80 GB or 120 GB 5400 rpm hard drive. The tablet also features a 1.3-megapixel Web camera complements an integrated digital microphone.

It weighs 2.2 pounds and retails for $2,179 to $2,354, according to Fujitsu.

As already stated, most techies already have an Apple iPod, so that's out of the question. Why not give them something to enhance their iPod experience? Lifeworks Technology Group has reinvented work and play with its Multimedia Keyboard with iPod Dock. The keyboard can charge and sync iPods with iTunes and features touch-sensitive media keys; two rotating USB 2.0 ports; a rubberized wrist rest; a 3.5 mm headphone jack; a universal dock that fits all docking iPod mods. The docking keyboard is available for both PCs and Macs with a suggested retail price of $149.99 and available in black and white.

Hands-free devices are sure to be a hot seller again this year, especially as more and more states pass legislation banning handheld cell phone use while driving. But who said you had to sacrifice style for safety? Show a techie you care, both about their well-being and their appearance, with the Plantronics Voyager 520. This earpiece features a noise-canceling microphone that filters background noise so it doesn't intrude on your conversation. The Voyager can also minimize wind noise with a built-in wind screen. The device features one-touch call controls and, if you use two Bluetooth enabled phones, multipoint technology lets you switch between them with the same headset.

The Voyager 520 offers eight hours of talk time and 180 hours of standby when fully charged. The Plantronics Voyager 520 runs around $40.

Doesn't really fit with the rest of the items in this roundup, but what techie doesn't remember the hey-day of GNR? Sure to be stuffed in many-a stocking this year is the band's -- well, not really the whole band, pretty much just Axl Rose -- first studio album since 1993. It's been more than a decade in the making and has cost Geffen Records millions of dollars, but Chinese Democracy is set to see the light of day on Sunday, Nov. 23, exclusively at Best Buy.

Chinese Democracy is the perfect gift for your favorite techie, or anyone on your holiday shopping list. Love 'em or hate 'em, the new Guns N' Roses effort is sure to create a stir this holiday season and everyone wants in on the action.

Word is the record is also getting the vinyl treatment. There's no better way to break in that brand spankin' new McIntosh MT10 Turntable than with a fresh slab of GNR wax.

Or you could always wait for the follow-up to Chinese Democracy, which, at this rate, will hit stores sometime in the 2020s.

Have a rockin' holiday!