Holiday sHOPping? Here Are 8 Awesome & Affordable Tech Gifts

NOVEMBER 2012:  Nothing says Happy Holidays like tech gifts that help people you love become more productive! The faster they (or you) can get “it” done, the more time everyone has for fun!

So we hopped around to find some of the most useful, unusual, affordable and smile-producing tech-related gifts in the entire pond.

Check out our suggestions for 2012:

1. Tablets Just For Kids ($99-$149)
Eyes will sparkle with delight when a child rips the wrapping paper off a rugged, kid-sized tablet — and the little toad will be almost as happy as you! No longer will you have to worry about sticky fingers, the potential for shattered screens or (let’s be honest) sharing. Parental controls are included. Highly rated models are Tabeo ($149), Meep ($149), Kurio ($149) and LeapPad 2 ($99, from LeapFrog…no relation but their products are definitely hop-worthy).

2. Wagan Tech Mobile Charger ($15 and up)
Got road warriors on your list? Help them power up and go, go, go. These devices convert car DC lighter sockets into chargers for phones, PCs, tablets, even items with household plugs. Some include several converters types on the same device or split a single lighter socket into several sockets. There’s even one that recharges AA or AA batteries.

3. Tagg™ The Pet Tracker ($100)
Take a chance on losing your pet? No way! Give your pet the gift of GPS. This lightweight pet tracking system attaches to an existing collar and lets you see where your best friend is at all times, using your computer or a free mobile app.

4. Cloud Backup For the Year (free to $80+/year)
No more data worries! Perfect for procrastinators, the accident-prone and your tech-challenged loved ones. P.S. You might want to give them something a little more personal as well — some frogs may not yet understand just how cool this is. Check out our super-safe recommendations.

5. Plug-In Charging Shelf ($15)
Never let your loved one’s device dangle from its charger again. This handy shelf plugs into an outlet and provides a safe place to store devices while they’re charging. Plus it manages the cord. Works in vertical or horizontal outlets.

6. Freehands Gloves ($18-80)
Winter is coming! Save the day by giving your friends gloves with trap doors for the fingertips. They can answer calls, take pictures, check email and shoot off texts while keeping their hands warm and toasty. And no more looking silly holding their gloves in their teeth! Ideal for skiers, hikers, people who walk their dogs and other people who go outside.

7. Personal Assistant App (free to $5)
No Siri? No problem. Help your loved ones streamline their lives, remember things, be on time and find out answers to life’s most important questions…like the location of the nearest coffee shop.

8. Amazon Gift Card ($0.15 to $2,000)

Can’t decide? Let your loved ones choose their own tech gift while you get creative with the gift card. Amazon lets you customize, email, print out or snail mail gift cards with tech-related designs like Kindle Fire, Amazon Kindle, Amazon Digital and Amazon App Store. You can even post the gift card on your friend’s Facebook wall.