What to Give Your Favorite Geek Who’s Got It All

This holiday season, what do you get for the technophile who already has everything? A handful of analysts ticked off some of the items on their Christmas lists, and it was no surprise that they included the most bleeding-edge, technologically advanced — and slightly off the wall — suggestions.

Here are some items sure to impress the tech-savviest: a handheld, multifunctional entertainment center; a pocketknife with 1 GB of memory; a tiny robot; and a ray gun — and these are just for starters.

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  1. Sonos Digital Music System. Some might call it magic, but the Sonos Multi-Zone Digital Music System allows you to play different music simultaneously in various parts of your house. And it just got upgraded to Sonos System Software 2.5. The wireless, multi-room digital music system which debuted last year has received attention recently for its added search capabilities and inventory of 5 million songs. Sonos takes the music from your hard drive and broadcasts it all over your house.

    “It’s been around for a while, but it’s gaining momentum,” said Van Baker, a research vice president at Gartner Group. “You can be playing Bach in the front room and Led Zeppelin in the back room, and it’s all controlled via a wireless hand held device.”

    The Sonos Controller 100, Sonos Zone Player and Zone Bridge, are all sold separately. The controller goes for about US$100 but the player and bridge will each run you anywhere from $300 to $500.

  2. Nokia N810 Internet Tablet. The sleek, silver bar-shaped Nokia N810 signifies a heightened phase of portable Internet communication. This little device will be a hot commodity as this season wireless Web devices are all the rage, according to Baker.

    “Handheld Web clients are a big deal right now,” he said. “There are not that many now, but there are more to come. For the real early adapter, the handheld is key.”

    This candy-bar sized gadget can be connected to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot or over your Bluetooth mobile phone. The user has the ability to make Internet calls, check e-mails or Facebook pages and more. It features handy bonuses such as a slide-out keyboard, touch screen, built-in maps and satellite navigation.

    Hot trends aren’t cheap however, this little item retails at $479.

  3. Victorinox SwissMemory 1 GB. With the arrival of the Victorinox SwissMemory 1GB, pocket knives are finally complete. This 2 1/4-inch pocket knife features all the usual goodies such as a blade, nail file with screw driver, scissors, key ring, LED (light-emitting diode) mini light and retractable ball point pen but it also has a USB 1 GB memory stick.

    “It’s basically a Swiss Army pocket knife with a memory stick for storing music, photos and text files,” said Benjamin Kim, engineering analyst at technology research and advisory firm, Nerac. “This gift obviously is not loaded with incredible high-tech features, but it does have functions of certain tools that may be needed and seems very practical and useful for any tech savvy guy.”

    With a price of $79, it’s a find the multi-tasking techie on your list will love.

  4. Vectrix USA. The world’s first fuel cell/electric hybrid scooter has arrived. The environmentally sound high-end electric motorscooter was the recipient of last year’s Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation and Leadership of the Year Award.

    “This is actually a serious ride,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at technology consulting firm Enderle Group. “They just started selling them in San Francisco.”

    The dashboard features a sophisticated instrument pod that displays speed, odometer, trip mileage, time, estimated range, system status, battery status and charging status on an advanced and easy to read LCD (liquid crystal display) and analog display.

    The best part? Its environmentally sound: The Vectrix scooter utilizes innovative zero-emission technology.

    The worst part? This bike will run about $11,000.

  5. GE Monogram’s Undercounter Beverage Center with Liquid Crystal Window Stainless Steel.

    Want to help the social butterfly techie on your list get a leg up on the competition? Invest in one of these party-enhancing mini fridge with a transparent liquid crystal door. It’s perfect just in time for the holiday parties.

    “I have two of these,” Enderle said. “It’s really impressive.”

    The 34 1/2-inch mini-fridge features liquid-crystal technology, which turns the glass door from opaque to clear with the press of the button. This futuristic fridge also features a LED Temperature Display, allowing for temperature monitoring with ease.

    With a price of $140, you’ll still have money left over for party favors.

  6. Super Trackstick GPS Tracker.

    Have no clue as to what to get for that covert operative techie on your list? Well, look no further. The Super Trackstick GPS Tracker features Google Earth mapping technologies to supply its user with the latest in tracking machinery.

    “You get to play spy and keep track of your kids and spouse or whatever else you stick this thing on,” Enderle said.

    And he’s right. The pen drive-shaped device features 4 MB of memory encased in a weatherproof case and removable magnetic mount that allows for installation on any number of objects.

  7. Archos 705 WiFi. The Archos 705 is a complete portable entertainment system that can be held in the palm of your hand.

    “It’s better with movies and browsing the Web wirelessly than an iPhone or iPod Touch,” Baker said.

    The rectangular, 30 GB device features a huge screen, up to 160 GB for movies, and what “may be the best browser on a portable device,” according to Baker.

    The multi-faceted gadget allows for scheduling, recording, downloading, streaming and (of course) viewing of TV and movies. It plays music and allows for Web surfing and photo viewing. You can even make slide shows with music and transition effects.

    It comes at a reasonable price of $299.

  8. Takary Tomy i-Sobot. The 6 1/2-inch tall i-SOBOT, created by toymaker Takara Tomy, was named the smallest humanoid robot in the 2008 Guinness Book of World Records.

    “It’s the only robot small enough to scare your hamster,” Enderle said.

    What the i-SOBOT is lacking in stature, it makes up for in personality. It says 200 different phrases and can take a number of poses. The tiny robot responds to voice commands and can be controlled and programmed with a remote.

    With a price tag of $350, however, the robot’s companionship doesn’t come for free.

  9. Cruzon Cooler Motorized Cooler. Get ready for the Super Bowl and ride your beer to the big game. This 300-watt motorized cooler is a great addition to the tailgating party. The cruiser allows the cooler to hook up to the frame and handlebars and act as a seat. It’s smart, versatile and handy. It’ll make a perfect gift just in time to help you arrive at the Super Bowl festivities in style.

    The mobile cooler is going at $399, so you may have to spring for cheap beer if you’d like to invest.

  10. Sony’s OLED TV. Sony will release its organic light emitting diode OLED TV, the XEL-1, in December, joining Sony’s existing TV line-up centered on its Bravia LCD brand.

    OLED is a light-emitting display technology based on electroluminescent organic materials, which Sony claims enables unprecedented levels of thinness and lightweight design.

    The technology delivers advanced levels of contrast and brightness, wide color reproduction range and rapid response times, and has attracted widespread attention for its limited environmental impact.

  11. Ray Guns from Weta Originals. Designed by the same guys who did the props for the “Lord of the Rings” movies, it’s a full-on replica of a ray gun.

    “It’s not inexpensive, but it’s numbered and collectible,” Enderle said. “I’ve got one myself and they’re heavy. It’s more of a novelty or a trophy than a toy. It’s not cheap, but it’s for the guy that likes technology that has everything.”

    His wife, who purchased the gun for him, agrees.

    “I bought that for his birthday. Its very realistic, it’s really heavy when you pick it up,” Mary Enderle said. “I’m happy that he likes it, because he’s a very hard person to shop for.”

Go Green

So there you have it. Now as you go off to brave the scary world of electronics stores and the techno geeks who work there, the experts we talked to would like to remind you of the trends.

This season, environmentally sound gadgets are hot commodities this year as are all things wireless, wireless, wireless.

“The green is big,” Enderle said. Folks are buying things to save the environment. People want to eliminate greenhouse gases and save gas.”

In addition, there is also a lot gong on with more sophisticated displays.

“Were going to see more advanced display technology,” Enderle said. “There are interesting changes going on with stuff being brighter, saving power and becoming thinner.”

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