‘Tech the halls’ with gadgets

Apple or Android, our annual gift guide features a few must-haves

With the 2012 holiday season in full swing, unique gifts for your hard-to-buy for on this year’s list abound. Our annual tech gift guide has a great selection of high-tech gadgets that can be that perfect gift for the technically savvy or the technical novice, Android or Apple fan.

TelyHD Video Calling System

Who on your list would not enjoy video calling as a way to communicate with family, friends and colleagues near and far. TelyHD lets anyone, anywhere, experience video calling from any high-definition television with HDMI input. You can even transfer videos and photos with this Android-based futuristic find that comes complete with a remote control for Skype-like calling from across the living room or the board room. (TelyHD, $249)

Keyboard Buddy Apple iPhone 5

Do you have a friend or colleague on your list who is an Apple fan and a texting addict? The innovative Keyboard Buddy Apple iPhone 5 case might be the answer. This multitasking iPhone 5 case has a backlit QWERTY keyboard that slides out and makes it easier than ever to text or answer work or play emails. With an onboard battery, chargeable by micro-USB cable, for up to two-weeks of charge duration, this is the perfect gift for the plugged-in Apple person. (BoxWave, $90)

Roku Streaming Stick

Not much larger than a normal USB stick, the Roku Streaming Stick uses the new HDMI MHL standard, instantly giving any compatible television set access to all of Roku’s online content from providers such as Rdio, Pandora, MLB and Netflix, to name a few. The Roku requires no dedicated power, has built in WiFi and will debut for less than $100.


Wi-Fi body scale

The Wi-Fi body scale is a great motivational tool that can help you and up to eight others stick to your New Year’s fitness resolutions. Not only is it a digital scale, that measures weight, fat mass and BMI, it has the capability to share your the information via a wireless connection to your iPhone, Android device, Web page or even Twitter. (Withings, $160)


3D printer

Do you have money to spare and a tech-savvy friend who is hard to impress? A 3D printer could be a splurge that would wow even the choosiest of gadget gurus. I saw one in action at the North Country Technology Symposium in May. The Cube 3D printer is an amazing machine that can replicate anything in multi-dimensions and bring images to life like we’ve never seen before. Apps are now available for free, but the 3D printer by Cubify will set you back $1,299.

nPower PEG

The world’s first human-powered charger for hand-held electronics, the nPower PEG has arrived. The generator is you —  just store the 14-ounce nPower PEG in your purse, briefcase or backpack while you walk, run or even bike during the normal course of your day. Your kinetic energy is stored for later, when you need it to charge your favorite device. (nPowerPEG, $160)


PowerSkin SpareOne

The PowerSkin SpareOne may be the lowest-tech cell phone available on the market today. The PowerSkin SpareOne has no screen, a basic number pad, and a single AA battery (preferably lithium) for power. Not designed for daily use, the SpareOne, can always dial 911 but would need a SIM card to make a regular calls. For $50, this doomsday prepper’s dream should find a home in your nearest and dearest’s first aid kit, glove box, or storm shelter, and an honorable mention in your company’s disaster recovery’s plan.

Jill Van Hoesen is chief information officer for Johnson Newspapers and a 25-year IT veteran. Contact her at jvanhoesen@wdt.net. Her column ‘Biz Tech Bytes” appears monthly in NNY Business.