Need gift ideas for Christmas? Try one of those new connected devices!

December 9, 2011

Christmas is coming soon now and as always, many of us find ourselves with many friends and relatives and too few ideas. You can’t really gift a Wi-Fi scale or a blood pressure monitor to everyone, so if you’re looking for some other smart high-tech gifts that could benefit the whole family or just someone you care about, here are a few ideas.

Nest, the learning thermostat

Nest is a new coming brand who has just released its first product: the learning thermostat. The Nest thermostat promises to learn your habits and routine over just a few days and be able afterwards to automatically adapt the temperature in your home depending on your activity. For example, after a while the thermostat will learn at what time you usually come home from work and will start heating the house a few moments before then. Nest can also detect when you are not at home and will stop the heating or the air conditioning (depending on the season) to conserve energy and money. You can also manage it remotely through a webservice, in case you plan on coming home early for example. Perhaps the only issue with Nest is that it cannot be installed in all homes, you need to have a heating system compatible with the device.

Apple TV and Google TV

Connected televisions have been out for a few years now and have become common place in many homes. Some TV manufacturers have developed their own platforms while Apple and Google both have put out a device that transforms your TV into a real media center.

Both Apple TV and Google TV look like small boxes connected to the Internet that you plug into your television and that let you access a variety of content through streaming. You can then access Services such as Netflix, iTunes or YouTube and play videos, photos and music on your TV as well as open an Internet browser at any time. While similar in design, both devices have their own benefits. Apple TV for example allows you to project the display of your iPhone or iPad on your TV screen while Google TV enables you to access many made-for-TV apps through the Android store, so which one you choose is up to you!

The Parrot AR Drone

Christmas often means vacations, meaning that it’s a good time to get out of the house to play. The Parrot AR Drone is certainly best fitted for outside use. It was already available last year, but maybe you missed it: it is a rotocopter that you control with your iPhone or iPad, creating its own Wi-Fi spot to connect with it. While flying around with this strange machine is already great fun, the Parrot goes beyond that and uses a series of dedicated apps to enable you to play games with it using augmented reality. For instance, one of the games will put virtual targets on your iPhone or iPad display on top of the real environment and the player will be tasked with maneuvering the drone around them and shooting them down. The AR Drone has very intuitive controls and is easy to handle if you have never piloted a helicopter before.

Bonus : the Universal Gadget Wrist Charger

All those gadgets, computers and smartphone are constantly hungry for power. On a long trip, this can be an issue as no one likes having their phone or gaming console run out of power with several more hours of boredom still ahead of them. Fortunately, that’s where the Universal Gadget Wrist Charger comes in. Designed to be worn at the wrist with comfort, the UGWC has an internal battery that can redistribute its juice to other devices. It even comes with several kinds of cable to power up as many devices as possible.

Are you planning to give some cool gadgets to your friends and family for Christmas? Or are you more eager to receive that kind of gifts for yourself?