Is there someone on your holiday shopping list who loves gadgets -- someone who already owns the latest smart phone, the newest tablet, and a hybrid SUV that parks itself?
Shopping for people who take pride in being "cutting edge" isn't easy, but it can be done. For example, here are three items I recently came across that could be the best gifts your favorite über geek receives.
Your home to your fingertips, courtesy of Belkin's WeMo
Belkin has clever home automation products that let you control household appliances and electronics via an app on a smart phone or tablet. The devices are called the WeMo Home Control Switch and the WeMo Motion Sensor, respectively, and all they require are a Wi-Fi network and an always-on Internet connection.
Simply plug the WeMo Home Control Switch into any electrical outlet and then plug whatever you want to control (up 15A at 120VAC) into the switch. Using the free smart phone app, you can then turn the lamp, coffee pot, Christmas lights, etc. on or off from anywhere or schedule them to turn on or off at set times.
The WeMo Motion Sensor works with the WeMo Home Control Switch to make the latter react to motion. Used together, they can create a home environment where a light or electric heater turns on when someone walks in a room, or off when no one is present.
Belkin plans to expand the WeMo product line into a scalable, customizable whole-home management system. The company says future products will include a remote garage door opener, door lock, lighting controls, and a baby monitor that lets you monitor sounds from your nursery from anywhere.
The WeMo Home Control Switch (Model F7C027fc) sells for $49.99. The WeMo Motion Sensor + Home Control Switch (Model F5Z034fc) retails for $99.99. For more information, visit Belkin.com.
Sony SmartWatch brings Android to your wrist
When you smart phone is buried in your bag or purse, checking for email takes some digging. This could lead to your not answering texts or emails as quickly as your boss, spouse, or customers would like.
Sony's SmartWatch puts the power of Android on your wrist. A vibration and screen alert notifies you of key events, and the device also allows you to read incoming messages, as well as Facebook and Twitter updates.
The watch connects via Bluetooth and works with most smart phones running Android 2.1 and above. Apps are available from Google Play, all customized for the unit's 1.3-inch OLED touch screen.
The device is dust-proof, splash-proof, and comes with a black rubber wristband. Wristbands in five other colors are also available ($19.95 each), plus a rear-mounted clip allows it to be removed from the wristband and attached to clothing or a belt.
The battery lasts up to four days and notifications occur on-screen or vibration. The Sony SmartWatch has a suggested retail price of $149.99. For more information, including a list of compatible Android devices, visit SonyMobile.com.
Fitbit: high-tech pathway to a healthier lifestyle
Fitbit is the leader in wireless activity tracking, largely because of the runaway success of the Fitbit Ultra, a device that has been praised by Dr. Oz, Martha Stewart, and other TV talk show hosts.
Health experts say the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be reversed by walking and being generally more active. Studies also show that routine stair-climbing lowers body fat and burns up to 400% more calories than walking.
The Ultra actually measures floors climbed, using an accelerometer and state-of-the-art altimeter technology to track movement in three dimensions. It's even smart enough to know the difference between climbing stairs and taking the elevator.
Fitbit's system is unmatched when it comes to keeping track of steps, distance, sleep, and attaining goals. A key component is an online dashboard that tracks personal fitness metrics and recognizes achievements.
With the holidays approaching, the company just unveiled two new trackers, the Fitbit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker and the Fitbit One Activity + Sleep Tracker. Like all Fitbit trackers, the Zip and the One wirelessly upload your information to any computer and are compatible with FitBit's recently updated free app for iOS and Android devices.
The Fitbit Zip sells for $59.95. The Fitbit One Tracker, which replaces the best-selling Ultra, has a suggested retail selling price of $99.95. For more information, visit FitBit.com.