Every year for the 4th of July we love having…
Mother’s Day is just around the corner (May 8, in case you haven’t marked your calendar yet), but you’ve still got time to buy Mom something great. Flowers are nice, sure, but they usually don’t last more than a few days. If you want a gift that keeps on giving, head to the technology aisle.
I’ve rounded up five geek-chic items that are sure to please any mom.
Kodak EasyShare M580
Nothing makes Mom “smile!” like a new camera. The Kodak EasyShare M580 was a PC Magazine Editors’ Choice for 2010, offering excellent image quality and loads of features for a then-competitive price of $199.95. Currently, Kodak has the M580 on sale for $119.95 shipped, but it’s even less–just $99.95–at Buy.com.
The camera comes in pink, purple, or blue and features an 8X optical zoom–twice what you get from a lot of cameras in this price range. It sports a spacious 3-inch LCD and shoots 720p (i.e. high-def) video with the push of a button. It also offers built-in sharing features for quick and easy uploading to Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and other sites.
Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker
Bluetooth speakers are all the rage, and with good reason: they’re portable, convenient, and vastly superior to the tiny speakers built into phones, tablets, iPods, and the like. Give one to Mom so she can enjoy her tunes in the kitchen, on the patio, at the beach, or wherever.
Available in four cool colors (I think Mom would like the red one best), the battery-powered Jambox ($199.99) is compact and lightweight enough to drop into a purse, but powerful enough to crank out 85 decibels’ worth of stereo audio. Added bonus: it doubles as a speakerphone, so Mom can feel good about bringing into the boardroom.
I was initially going to recommend the Soundmatters foxL v2, which is the same price and a bit more compact–but not nearly as cool-looking as the Jambox. And Mom is all about style.
You know what Mom really wants? Less clutter around the house. NeatReceipts is the “magic wand” that can help, an ultra-compact, USB-powered scanner that quickly stores and organizes bills, receipts, business cards, and other documents.
Sheet-fed scanners like this one have been around for years, but where NeatReceipts is concerned, the secret is in the software. Just scan a receipt and the software automatically recognizes the date, the name of the store, the amount of the purchase, and so on. You can categorize your scans (business, personal, etc.) and even tag them with specific tax-form information.
The device is a little pricey at $199.95, but Buy.com has it for $169.99 plus shipping.
Padded Gadget Case
Dad may be fine with a black leather case for his phone, camera, or iPod, but Mom needs something a little more stylish. GlamBaby Designs (by way of Etsy) offers a wide assortment of colorful, padded gadget cases–most of them priced at $14-16.
If you don’t find something you think Mom will like, just search Etsy’s other corners for “smart phone case” or “smart phone purse.” You’ll find an endless variety of handcrafted, often one-of-a-kind options.
TomTom Ease GPS
Is Mom a little, um, navigationally challenged? Help her find her way with a GPS. There are countless models to choose from, but my vote goes to the TomTom Ease for its low price, simplistic menus, and choice of custom decorative skins.
When you order an Ease direct from TomTom, you can browse a large gallery of professional artwork to adorn the front and rear of the GPS: flags, patterns, nature themes, and so on. You can even upload your own images and add custom text (an engraving, so to speak) for a truly original design.
TomTom’s price for the Ease: $109.95. You can find it for less elsewhere, but you won’t get the skin option.
Self-proclaimed cheapskate Rick Broida has been a technology writer for over 20 years. He has authored over a dozen books, including, most recently, “How to Do Everything: Palm Pre.” Currently he writes the Cheapskate blog.