Now that so many of us rely on electronics to read, watch movies and listen to music, you may be thinking that giving gift cards is the only option to help fill out your loved ones media library this holiday season. Yet the generic ease of a gift card makes for a very impersonal gift. Luckily you can achieve gift nirvana with a variety of truly useful digital products and services that are sure to please even the most difficult to buy for loved ones on your list. Here are our Top Tech Gifts of 2012.
With the increasing popularity of eReaders, it may seem that giving the gift of a great digital book requires you resort to an Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card. Not so! If there’s a specific title you’d like to share, you can gift an eBook to your favorite Kindle or NOOK user. As long as you have the recipient’s email address, neither of you need wait for the title to arrive in the mail.
For Kindle owners, find the title in the Amazon Kindle store and choose the “Give as a Gift” option on the right side of the page, under the “Buy now” button. Share the love with the NOOK users in your life by finding the title you’d like to give at www.barnesandnoble.com, scrolling to the NOOK Book option and choosing “Buy as Gift.”
Give the Apple gadget lovers on your list a better excuse for wasting so much time on their phone by gifting them a few great apps, movies, TV shows or tunes. While you may consider just picking up an iTunes gift card, take the time to find a game, video, album or tool that you think they’d enjoy for a more personal touch.
To gift an app, start at the iTunes app store and find the app that you think your loved one will enjoy. To the right of the “Buy App” button, click the smaller grey button for an additional options menu. At the top of the menu select “Gift This App.” You can send the gift via email or print a certificate to wrap or deliver by hand. A similar procedure can be followed to gift a movie, TV show, song or album.
If you know someone that has a towering stack of magazines that they love to peruse for inspiration and leisure, a gift membership to Next Issue (http://www.nextissue.com/gift/, 3 months of premium membership for $44.97, longer periods are available) will give them all-you-can-read access to over 70 digital magazines delivered to their iPad or Android 7” tablet. While titles are limited on the Android application, the iPad’s list of titles is comprehensive, including just about every magazine I’ve heard of – Vogue, Cooking Light, Cosmopolitan, Fitness, GQ, Money, and many more. Upgrade to Premium to get Entertainment Weekly, People, Time, and Sports Illustrated.
For the person who has everything – particularly if a lot of it is stored on their computer – a gift membership to a cloud-based data backup service is a truly thoughtful and likely unexpected gift. What better way to show you care than helping to protect them from the sorrow of losing precious photos, family movies and possibly years of work due to hard drive failure. Crashplan+ is a great, easy to use data backup solution for the home user. Simply pick a plan from their list of pricing options (www.crashplan.com/consumer/store.vtl, starting at $1.50/month). Complete the payment form, entering your email address so that you get the receipt and license key. Clear the auto-renew check box if you want to just purchase a one-time gift. Now all your recipient need do is download CrashPlan and navigate to Settings – Account – License to activate it with the license key you gifted them.
We totally stole the picture from Crashplan, but we recommend their service all the time, so we hope they’ll forgive us.