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So you’re still looking for gifts. Well fret not — thanks to our increasingly close relationships with our mobile devices, accessories for phones and tablets also make great gifts. Here are a few cool stocking stuffer ideas that will appeal to anyone.
Phone and tablet cases
Our mobile devices these days often feature large slabs of glass. And while that’s great for enabling the proliferation of touchscreen technology, it also makes our phones and tablets ticking time bombs for scratches, cracks and shattering unless they’re protected somehow. So consider a case for the clumsier members of your friends and family. They’re available in most retail stores these days, and you can also find a wide selection in Apple stores and cellular carrier retail locations.
For the iPhone and iPad, I recommend cases from iSkin, a company that offers a wide variety of attractive designs that are strong enough to let your device survive a tumble. Your choices are more limited where it comes to Android phones, but generally you can find cases at the phone’s respective carrier retail spots. Accessory Geeks has a wide selection of Android cases and accessories, but it may be too late to order in time for Christmas.
GelaSkins: An easy way to customize mobile devices
Instead of a case, you can opt for a GelaSkin — an adhesive print that can spice up the design of phones, tablets, ereaders and more. The skins are designed specifically for individual devices, so they generally fit without issue. They’re also easily removable and don’t leave any residue on your device. The company has artwork available from over 100 artists, and each design looks completely original.
I’ve tested a couple of GelaSkins over the past few months, and I’ve found that they get more attention than just a plain iPhone case. While they won’t offer much protection for your devices, they sure do look cool.
Agloves: Touchscreen capable gloves for the cold
Winter and touchscreen devices just don’t mix. Normal winter gloves have a layer of insulation that prevent capacitive touchscreens from recognizing your inputs. Enter Agloves, a company that has developed winter gloves knitted with conductive material. They’re affordable at around $17.99, and while thin, I’ve found that they stand up to below-freezing temperatures fairly well.
Headphones: Because stock headphones usually stink
Modern smartphones do more than just phone calls, email and texts — they also serve as portable music players. It’s criminal that Apple still includes terrible earbuds with iPhones, and most other phone manufacturers are guilty of the same thing. So do your friends a favor, and get them a pair of headphones that don’t stink.
You don’t have to pay much for good sound — you can snag Sony’s EX71 earbuds for a mere $13.89 on Amazon. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, Sennheiser’s CX500 earbuds are a tremendous value for around $40. You can find a wide variety of headphones in retail stores, but beware of brands that you’ve never heard of. Noise-cancellation headphones sound great, but are usually expensive, so seek out “noise isolating” sets instead.
Go digital: Gift apps, music, games and more
One of the great things about digital marketplaces is that it’s incredibly easy to gift things without ever having to worry about shipping or delivery charges. On iTunes, you can gift apps, games, music, TV episodes (but not whole seasons, sadly) and movies to people instantly. Android’s Market isn’t robust enough yet for that, unfortunately, but you can always gift music, TV, and movies via Amazon.
My recommendations for digital gifts: The addictive new iPhone/iPad game Infinity Blade; Terriers, yet another great TV show canceled before its time; and the Scott Pilgrim iPad app (which is technically not giftable because it relies on in-app purchase, so you’ll have to gift $50 of iTunes credit so your friends can buy the issues on their own).