We’ve recovered from our Thanksgiving-induced food coma, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for the annual Techonomy gift guide to help with your holiday shopping. We scoured the interwebs to bring you this assortment of innovative, fun gift ideas for the tech-loving people on your shopping list. Good luck!
We can’t remember the last time a watch was just a watch. The latest smart watches work with your phone, monitor your health, and more. We like the classy Pebble Steel watch ($200 and up), which syncs with your phone to display texts and emails and lets you control music selection and volume—all without taking the phone out of your pocket.
For more data, check out the Samsung Gear Fit activity tracking watch ($100), which not only controls calls and messages from your phone but also monitors your heart rate and other fitness factors. It’s got a neat display, but only works with Samsung devices.
And for the fair-skinned people on your list, check out the sun exposure-monitoring June wrist band ($99). It offers updates via smartphone on what kind of SPF to wear based on routine sun exposure, as well as alerts to put on a hat or get out of the sun when necessary. Choose from a leather or silicon wrist band with a platinum, gold, or gunmetal device.
Help with selfies
For the person who can’t stop documenting her day, check out this Polaroid camera designed for social media. The Socialmatic can share any image on the spur of the moment via wi-fi or Bluetooth, and it also prints instant photos on zero-ink paper for those of us who remember the original Polaroid camera. (Slated for release on January 1; pre-order now for $300.)
If your photography fan is also an extreme adventurer, consider one of the GoPro wearable video cameras. The Hero3 line ($200-$300) features great video quality and wi-fi for easy sharing, while the Hero4 Silver ($400) sports a built-in touch display for added control and functionality.
And for the epic photo snapper who can’t keep up with all those shots, try a gift subscription to GrooveBook. Each month, the service will print up to 100 photos selected from your cell phone, bind them into a postcard-size book with perforated pages, and ship them to you—all for just under $3 per month.
For the home
The Internet of Things has given us lots of great innovations for our home, many of them controlled by our smartphones. Exhibit A: the LIFX LED light bulb brings multi-faceted moods to your home or wherever else you’re confident enough to install it. It changes color on command and can also be programmed with other functions, such as dimming or flickering like a candle. (Can be bought individually or in bundles; costs close to $100 per bulb.)
If security is more important to your giftee than color-specific mood lighting, check out the Smart Home Starter Kit from SmartThings (on sale now for $200). He’ll get a set of devices that will prompt smartphone notifications for a range of activities he might want to know about, such as doors or windows being opened; people, pets, or vehicles nearby; or movement in the house while he’s away. (As a bonus gift, send a link to SmartThings CEO Alex Hawkinson’s talk at our 2013 Techonomy Lab.)
We also like Tile, a small device that helps you track down valuable possessions or things you tend to lose. Just slip the $25 Tile on or in the item you need to keep track of, and when it goes missing, use the related app on your phone to locate it. It’s like having LoJack for your keys, purse, or anything else you’re likely to misplace.
The gift of sleep
If you’ve got a bad sleeper on your list, these innovative gifts are here to help. Start with a special light bulb chosen by NASA and used on space missions to help astronauts sleep. The bulb ($60) reduces blue light, which has been found to disturb sleep patterns when someone is exposed to it before bed. Use it at your bedside in those final minutes when you’re reading or hanging out before sleep.
For people who want to learn more about their sleep cycles and break habits that are messing with those circadian rhythyms, consider the Sense device from Hello. A small gadget clips to your pillow to monitor sleep cycles, waking time, and how much you’re tossing and turning during the night. A smartphone app tracks all the information over time so people can change their environment or habits to promote better sleep. (Pre-order now for $129; expected to ship in February.)
That one person on your list still writes things down on paper, right? (Shudder.) Coax your friend/grandparent/neighbor into the 21st century with this low-tech but very cool LCD writing tablet ($40). It’s like a little tiny erasable whiteboard—lightweight and portable, perfect for grocery lists or reminders—that will save all those trees otherwise destined for reincarnation as Post-It notes.
And one to keep
We put this one on the gift list, but let’s face it: if we could afford it, it would wind up in our own garage. The brand-new Ferrari FXX K (still in prototype phase) proves there’s no reason you can’t have a luxury sports car that’s also environmentally friendly. The hybrid features a 190-horsepower electric engine along with a traditional 860-pony V12 engine. The vehicles will be an extremely limited release and are expected to cost about €2.5 million. Yes, there may even be some Techonomy readers who can actually afford it!