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On the 12th Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me…12 Tech Toys

Published on Dec 13, 2013 at 9:23 am in Tech Trends.

This post also appeared in The Tennessean, where Concept Technology has a bi-weekly feature in the Business section.

 

It’s that time of the year again. Time to dust off your trusty ‘wish list’ and go about trying to convince your loved ones that you’ve been more nice than naughty this year.

This year, you can give your ‘wish list’ a decidedly techy makeover. With so many innovative products on the market right now at every price point, it’s easy to find the perfect tech gift for everyone. Here are 12 of my favorites.

 

Under $100

nike-moveNike+ Move, free, https://itunes.apple.com

It’s free, if you have an iPhone 5S that is. This app works with the iPhone 5S’ motion coprocessor. If you keep your phone on your body, it will track your every movement and gently motivate you to move more.

tile-appTile, $19.95, www.thetileapp.com

Never lose anything ever again — now that’s one heck of a value statement. Attach a Tile to anything you’re likely to lose — keys, the TV remote, luggage — or might be stolen — a bike, wallet, tablet — and then use the Tile app on your iPhone to locate the item.

The Tile app can find things within 50 to 150 feet of your phone, depending on the environment. You can also activate a Tile to ring, so you can find it by sound.

If your bike gets stolen, you can mark the item as missing, and Tile uses its community of users to find it. If any Tile user’s phone comes within 50 to 150 feet of your bike, you’ll receive a ping with the bike’s whereabouts.

Preorder your family’s Tiles now for shipping in the spring.

ChromecastChromecast, $35, www.google.com/chromecast

At a mere $35, Google’s Chromecast is almost begging to be a stocking stuffer. The device, which looks like a flash drive, plugs into your television. When connected to WiFi, you can send content from your smartphone, tablet or laptop to your television.

coinCoin, $55, https://onlycoin.com

Coin is another item that you can preorder now. Though it won’t ship until the summer, it’s an I-owe-you you’ll want under the Christmas tree.

Coin is a connected device into which you can import all of your debit, credit, gift, loyalty and membership cards—so instead of carrying several cards, you only need to carry one Coin.

Coin will also send you an alert when your Coin is separated from your phone — no more accidentally leaving your card in the billfold at a restaurant. It could change the way we pay.

Coin works with an app and is supported by both Android and iOS. It will retail for $100, but if you pre-order now, you can get a Coin for half price, plus $5 for shipping.

 

$100 to $200

ReservoirReservoir, $129, www.mydarkenergy.com/reservior

A portable charger, Reservoir can charge virtually anything — flip phones, smartphones, tablets, MP3 players, cameras, camcorders, etc. — anywhere you are. With a massive battery life, Reservoir can charge your iPhone three to six times before it needs to be recharged itself.

Fitbit-ForceFitBit Force, $129.95, www.fitbit.com/force

New from FitBit, Force is a wireless wristband that tracks your sleep and activity patterns over time. FitBit offers the only trackers that sync wirelessly and automatically through Bluetooth-enabled phones and computers.

petcubePetcube, $149, www.petcube.net

A pet sitter in a box — Petcube is a four-by-four-by-four inch cube that contains a wide-angle camera, microphone, speakers and a laser pointer that connects to your home WiFi. Using your smartphone, you can use Petcube and see, hear, talk to and play with your pet while you’re away.

By preordering now, you can save $50 from the expected retail price. The first Petcubes will ship in May.

skybell-wi-fi-doorbell-with-motion-sensorSkyBell WiFi Doorbell, $199, www.myskybell.com

This WiFi doorbell lets you answer your doorbell no matter where you are. It includes a video camera, motion sensor, microphone and speaker and uses an iOS or Android app to let you see, hear and speak for visitors remotely.

beats-pill-xlBeats Pill, $199.95, www.beatsbydre.com

Dr. Dre has made more money making consumer electronics than he ever made making music, and for good reason — his Beats Pill wireless speakers provide incredible sound quality in a small package. Lightweight and portable, the Pill plays music from any Bluetooth-enabled device from up to 30 feet away.

 

$200 to $500

nest_heatingNest Learning Thermostat, $249, http://store.nest.com

The Nest thermostat is a game change in an industry that’s not known for its innovation. It learns your schedule and programs itself based on your habits and temperature preferences. You can also manage your thermostat remotely using the Nest app.

office-runnerSennheiser OfficeRunner Wireless Headset, $319.95, www.headsets.com

The perfect gift for the business professional in your life — I recently purchased this headset for my office, and it has certainly improved my work life.

The wireless headset works for up to 12 hours of talk time in one charge. With a range of 400 feet, you can also use it to answer and end calls away from your desk and take voice dictations.

I suggest ordering it from Headsets.com — this website’s customer service is seriously great.

 

Splurge-worthy

ZBoard-Electric-Skateboard-500x333ZBoard, $649, www.zboardshop.com

If you’re looking for tricked-out sports gear for the adventurer in your family, look no farther than ZBoard. ZBoard is a weight-sensing electric skateboard that uses front and back footpads to operate — simply lean forward to go and lean back to stop.

You can go five to 10 miles on a single charge and top speeds up to 18 miles-per-hour.

If anyone asks, you know what I’ve got my eye on this holiday season.