Lifestyle

Holiday gift guide: 7 last-minute gifts for techies

Apps

app store

You know those app things? You can gift those! Some really superb mobile games came out this year, from heavy-hitters like Infinity Blade III ($7) to excellent indie fare including Impossible Road ($2), Ridiculous Fishing ($3), and Year Walk ($4). You might want to consider social “board” games like Pandemic: The Board Game ($7) and Small World 2 ($10) as well. For those not into games, you might consider snagging a subscription to a digital magazine or newspaper (or, you know, any other app).

PlayStation Vita

PS Vita Tearaway

While the next-generation game consoles are selling as fast as stores can stock them, the PlayStation Vita is unlikely to sell out — and it may finally be worth picking up.

Sony‘s newest handheld gaming machine has spent the last 18 months overshadowed by Nintendo’s 3DS, but there’s still hope for the PS Vita. The device is finally starting to get some great games, like the charming Tearaway from Media Molecule [above]. It also has some nifty connectivity features with other PlayStation consoles, including second-screen functionality with the PS4 and a cross-buy feature, which means you can buy games like PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for either the PS3 or PS Vita and download them across both systems at no additional cost. You can also stream Netflix and other video services. And you just can’t beat the Vita’s slick OLED screen, graphical horsepower, and dual-analog control.

The PS Vita is available at most major game and electronics retailers for $199 (or more depending on the bundle or if it comes with 3G).

Google Chromecast

Chromecast

Chromecast is a great, affordable gadget for the media fans in your life.

Unlike Google TV, which didn’t pan out as planned, the tech giant’s $35 Chromecast device is a hit. It’s a little HDMI gizmo that plugs into your TV and enables video streaming from your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. With Chromecast, it’s easy to throw music, movies, TV shows, and random Internet videos on the big screen. It currently works with Netflix, YouTube, Hulu Plus, and Chrome, with more developers working to update their apps for Chromecast streaming.

Chromecast is available at retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Staples, and Amazon.

Bitcoin

Stacks of Bitcoin

What better way is there to show your affection than to introduce a friend or family member to the shadowy, legally gray world of virtual currency? If you don’t mind Bitcoin’s massive carbon footprint or its connection to questionable marketplaces (and don’t think the recipient will either), perhaps you should buy some cryptocurrency and give it to a loved one this holiday season.

You could buy physical Bitcoins — though not from Casascius, which was shut down by the U.S. Treasury Department last week — or use a service like Coincow or Coinapult to send Bitcoins to any email address. If you’re worried about security (and you really should be), use Brainwallet to generate a new private/public key pair and send it to the given address (the recipient will need the private key to recover the Bitcoins).

“It’ll be like a pet rock or a share in Sears: Cool and fun this season; worthless and quaint — but still amusing — in years to come,” says VentureBeat editor-in-chief Dylan Tweney.

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More information:

Sony is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Kōnan, Minato, Tokyo, Japan. Sony Corporation is the electronics business unit and the parent company of the Sony Group, which is engaged in business through... read more »

Spotify is a Swedish DRM-based music streaming service offering streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels, including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group, and Universal.[ Launched in October 2008 by Swedi... read more »

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