So many tech options this holiday season


Published: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:45 p.m.

‘Tis the season. For me that means ’tis the season for recommendations.

Everywhere I go it seems somebody wants to know what iDoodle to get his or her significant other. Next year my picture that goes with the column is gonna have the Groucho Marx mustache from Halloween till New Year’s. At least that way I will be left alone to doodle in peace without being recognized in the lavatory.

Talk about an awkward conversation.

Problem is these once were easy questions to answer. I would mindlessly just say buy whatever has an Apple logo on it. Since then, Android got all grown up, tablets got smaller, smartphones got bigger and laptops have touchscreens.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Smartphones are point and shoots and point and shoots come stocked with Android. Tablets are laptops and laptops fold into tablets. Get the idea?

Where is Optimus Prime when you need him, because this tech world is transforming faster than an Autobot at a WD-40 party.

Even in the camera world, which is my home turf, you have the Nokia 808 Pureview smartphone that doubles as a camera sporting nearly twice the megapixels of my best professional camera.

You have iPhone and Samsung with solid smartphone cameras that outperform many point and shoots. Not necessarily in quality, but they make up for it with apps and connectivity. And just as I crafted that little speech, here comes the Samsung Galaxy point and shoot that is running a great version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS.

Last year, “which tablet?” was my go-to question — iPad 2 if you had the dough and Kindle Fire if you didn’t. So clean and easy, but this year is another story.

Not only were there two new iPads released this year but neither really had a name besides “new” iPad. Then we got the mini. Actually we got lots of 7-inch versions.

Microsoft put its last bit of mojo in the Surface Tablet while Google came along and shocked everybody with the Nexus 7 and now Nexus 10.

Kindle responded with a Kindle Fire HD and made the original Fire cheaper. Nook chimed in with an even better deal and they both came out with larger-screen models that are cheaper than the big boys.

So which one do you want? Mind spinning yet?

Before you answer, there is also the Asus Transformer line — great tablets that dock into a real keyboard with USB ports, a trackpad and bigger battery. Even folds up like a laptop.

Speaking of laptops. Now we have Windows 8 that has taken over the market. Problem is not many people like it.

Unless of course it is touchscreen, so naturally we now have touchscreen laptops. Those come in ultra and mega size.

Dell put its spin by making a laptop where the screen folds around and over the keyboard revealing a newly transformed tablet. Apple is merging its “pro” books into their “ultra” books while merging Retina display from iPhone to iPad and now into the laptops. As the saying goes — “it’s the best Mac yet.” It’s also the most confusing.

Don’t think that desktops are any easier. The whole Windows 8 thing has shifted to this market too. So you have to decide on a touchscreen model or deal with the finding the missing “Start” button.

Problem is that touchscreens on a huge monitor are not only weird but your arms get sore pretty fast.

Then of course you have Apple, who seemingly abandoned the archaic world of the desktop yet surprised everyone by releasing an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous iMac. If Gisele Bundchen were a computer, this would be her.

If that did not tickle your fancy, the Made in the USA badge that is stamped on some of these probably will.

Finally you have the smartphones. Apple finally budged and made the iPhone bigger, but they also changed the data connection. Both of these render most of your accessories useless. Confusing for sure.

In the Android world, you have the rise of the Phablet, most notably the 5.5-inch pocket-bulging Samsung Galaxy Note 2 — a smartphone that doubles as a tablet but with more horsepower under the engine that some new laptops.

That is all great if you don’t mind holding what looks like a spare tire to your ear when somebody calls.

As you can see, recommendations are simply too cumbersome this year. I am gonna Xerox this article and keep several copies to hand out when I get stopped on the street.

My advice this year is a gift card and a smile. Just pray nobody asks for a digital gift card.

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