No doubt this Christmas, technology companies will target men with tech babble (ram, gigs, specs etc), and then try to woo women by dressing up their products in glitzy, pinked up marketing bows. This is a guide for men and women, those who are less in love with technology and more interested by what technology can do for them. Here are my Top 10 gadget buys for Yuletide.
My newest and must have gadget this Christmas is the PURE Sensia Internet radio. This elegant device looks like something from a sci-fi writer's dream. It’s the first and last thing I touch each day. I can listen to all the programs I have missed during the day from anywhere around the world (a bit like Sky+ but for the radio). It comes with “Apps” or “Widgets” (the new currency of the tech world) meaning I can get Facebook and Twitter on the same screen which controls my audio. PURE Digital have promised that by early next year it will be able to display web-video such as YouTube.
My second choice is the incredibly practical Nokia BH-214 Bluetooth Stereo headset. Like all Bluetooth headsets, this device means I am able to do multiple things at once such as doing the dreaded Christmas shop whilst calling the relatives at the same time and making all the necessary arrangements for the Big Day. The great thing about this gadget is that Nokia have finally realized that people want all the flexibility of Bluetooth but with their own choice of headphones.
The iBores will hate me for saying this, but the iPhone's reign might be drawing to a swift end with the rise of cheap Android based (alternative to Microsoft and Apple’s mobile operating system) handsets. This year's must-have mobiles provide the Google experience in the palm of your hand but without a nasty contract to tie you in for two years. T-Mobile released their “Pulse” as the UK's first ever PAYG Android phone without any great fanfare which is great if you decide it is not for you and you want to upgrade within a few months.
Make no mistake, the Flip Mino HD is not your dad's camcorder. Unlike traditional camcorders which are strapped to your hand, the Mino looks and works like a “candybar” style camera-phone. The Mino's spec-sheet makes for short reading since it aims to do very few things, but it does them very well. This emphasis on simplicity is not just for people who have difficulty with conventional video cameras – it's for people who want a device which is instantly ready for capturing anything this Christmas from your nan snoring like a boar on the sofa to mum starting on the wine at 10am and getting slowly but surely drunk by lunchtime. Although personally, I am not sure I want to re-live Christmas day more than once.
Dell's new Adamo XPS is my most extravagant recommendation. It is apparently the thinnest laptop in the world at 9.9mm and weighs only 1.4 kilos. It's loaded with enough bling to make your Mac Pro-owning friends give it a second glance: I particularly love the sexy keyboard lock: You simply swipe your finger across a touch sensor and the mechanism opens for you. It is a joy to touch.
Even though I lust after the Adamo's style, my preference is for something handbag-size, and this is where the ASUS EEE Seashell Netbook comes into its own. You might dismiss this as yet another Macbook Air clone, if it weren’t for the price-tag, which means you can get one for under £300. While it might not have its rival's power or sophistication, at this price it only has to last a year for me to have obtained value for money. This laptop is light, tough and mine has survived regular bashings from my small children.
Nokia won no friends with the flawed release of their N97. After a disappointing experience I vowed to stay well away from Nokia. That was until I experienced the new N900, the first of a new generation of Linux-based handsets. It's got a qwerty keyboard, a great LED touchscreen and appears to be an intuitive device.
Many people will be looking forwards to receiving eBook readers from Santa. However the most popular Kindle from Amazon is not exactly the most glamorous addition to your winter holiday suitcase. If you can wait until January you can get the oddly-named Nook by Barnes and Noble. This sleek looking device has a dual touch-screen, and, unlike Amazon's miserly book-reader B&N will allow you to lend up to 12 of your eBooks to other Nook readers. Great for kids too.
The iPod has dominated the music-player market for so long that it's easy to forget that other products exist. However, the French company Archos's Internet Media Tablet 5 claims the prize for being able to play every kind of video and audio file ever invented and makes for an easy distraction as more and more unwanted guests arrive on at your door on Christmas day.
Not every gadget lover's gift needs to involve hardware: This year the Swedish company Spotify launched a music service which anybody can use for free on their PCs as long as you don't mind the occasional ad. If you pay a modest monthly subscription you can get the “premium” service which allows you to listen ad-free on any device including PC, Mac, iPhone and Android. A welcome and surprising gift making a change from the usual socks, books and in my case, big knickers.
Author: Belinda Parmar is the founder of Lady Geek, helping technology companies understand and sell to women.
You can follow Belinda on Twitter: Twitter.com/belindaparmar