Holiday 2012 Gift Guide: This Year’s Best of GDGT Live SF

Written by Mike Rothman

MIke Rothman and Julie Blaustein covered the GDGT event in San Francisco to check out this season’s drool-worthy gadgetry so you have some up-to-the moment gift options this holiday season. Get ready to go shopping, because this is the gift guide you’ve been waiting for.

We made our way to the annual December GDGT Live event in San Francisco to check out the best, most sought-after gadgets of the holiday season.


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Whether you are building your own wish list or shopping for others, you’ll find something for everyone at this show.  We’ve selected our picks for best of show.

SONOS, the Wireless Hi-Fi System


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Sonos has defined the best in high-end household music streaming, and has become much more affordable in recent years.  Control this music dynamo using apps available on iOS, Android and the Kindle Fire.  Select one of its integrated speaker systems for as little as $299, available at Amazon and elsewhere on the web, but purchase directly from Sonos and it will include the Bridge, shown above, a $49 value, so you can play music anywhere and work wirelessly.

Boxee, Meet Boxee TV

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Boxee has been around for awhile, but now meet the new Boxee TV, which just might be the set top box we’ve been waiting for: live TV, unlimited DVR and web apps like Netflix, Vudu, YouTube, Vimeo, Pandora and Spotify.

If you purchase Boxee, Watch More Free TV during the holiday season for $99, you’ll get three months of free “No Limits DVR” service, plus a reduced $10 monthly fee for the lifetime of your subscription.  The No Limits DVR service is currently available in eight US markets, and Boxee expects to roll out the service in many more markets soon, so check its website.  Early purchasers will also get three months of free Netflix, for both new and current subscribers.

You can find Boxee TV directly at Boxee, at Wal-Mart and other retailers.

Drobo, the World’s Easiest-to-Use Storage

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For that photographer or movie maker in your life who never has enough access to high speed redundant storage, consider the gift of Drobo, pictured above on the right.  This model shown (on the right), the Drobo 5D, holds up to five 3.5-inch disk drives of any make or capacity and seamlessly configures them to work so that the failure of any one never puts at risk the safety of your data.

The Drobo acts great as either your primary or backup storage pool, set it up and it just works.  The model shown is priced at $799 (not including disk drives) or purchase the Drobo Mini, which holds four 2.5-inch drives, priced at $649.  You’ll find Drobo products for purchase on its website, or at Wal-Mart or NewEgg.

Logitech UE Mobile Boombox Surprisingly Small and Surprisingly Powerful

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This Bluetooth connected speaker fits in the palm of your hand and boasts 10 hours battery life for music streamed from your smartphone while on the go all day long.  The Mobile Boombox also serves as a speakerphone with build-in mic to seamlessly go from listening to music to taking a hands-free call.  At $99.99, this is an ideal gift or stocking stuffer, available on the Logitech UE website, Amazon or Best Buy.

Sling Media Slingbox 500, Extend Your Living Room TV Experience in 1080p HD

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Want to watch that home cable or broadcast TV you love while on the road?  Then tune in to your favorite programs on your high speed Internet connected PC, Mac, tablet, smartphone, or connected TV with the Slingbox 500.  On the PC or Mac it is as easy as browsing to a web page, on your phone or table, watch using Logitech UE’s SlingPlayer app ($15, sold separately).  The Slingbox 500 is priced at $299 and is available through Sling Media or at or,

Kubi, the Robotic Stand for Tablets

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Place your 7-inch or 9-inch tablet in the Kubi stand and it is ready to be tilted or panned from anywhere in the world by way of a smartphone app.  Kubi is a web-controlled robotic tablet stand that lets you look around and interact during video calls.  This cool device was demonstrated at GDGT, where it was recognized as Best Startup.  It is currently an Indiegogo project set to ship early in 2013.  Ideal for the business professional on the go or the working parent who wants to monitor the baby in the nursery or daycare.

NextGuide, the “Hyper-personalized” Guide for Streaming and Live TV

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And finally, consider NextGuide, the new app from Dijit Media.  For the truly price-sensitive gift giver, this free app will still wow the receiver.  NextGuide combines listings from any live TV service with movies and TV shows that can be found and played on Hulu Plus, Netflix and iTunes.  The app includes searching capability, alerts and one-click watching.  Try this one yourself, you are going to love it.  Dijit Media currently offers the app for iOS devices, and promises an Android App in the new year.

1 Comment

  • For those interested in the Kubi – The Robotic Stand for Tablets – The first 10 people that pledge for the KUBI-HACKER EDITION will receive it by Xmas if they order by this Wednesday.