This morning we're jump-starting your holiday shopping with some gift ideas -- including a few great tech gadgets.
Picture Keeper photos backup safe
If your family is anything like mine, you'll take thousands of photos this holiday season. With these precious digital memories, you will want to protect them with a backup. The PictureKeeper line of USB backup safes couldn't be simpler. Plug the USB key in to your computer and it will automatically search for photos, preventing duplicates, until the drive is full. When you fill one, just plug in another. A gift pack of four, 4GB (good for approx. 4,000 photos, though higher-resolution photos will reduce that number) drives, is on special for $50. Buy a few for yourself, give some as stocking stuffers. The 8GB drive, good for up to 8,000 photos, sells for $60. I especially like the DIY license for $99 which loads the easy-to-use software on to your own hard drive or USB stick. ($30+, PictureKeeper.com)
Sony Playstation 4
A hot game console again this holiday season is Sony's PS4 ($400, Target.com). There's also a white bundle with the new Bungie title Destiny included ($450, Target.com). A new feature allows you to play Playstation games remotely on another TV in the house with the optional Sony Playstation TV ($99, Sony.com).
ASUS PadFone x mini photo+tablet w/Intel Processor
The first smartphone with Intel Atom processor and Intel LTE is available from AT&T for GoPhone pre-paid/no-contract customers. A versatile device, the PadFone combines with a 7" screen for one device, one service plan and one set of data.
HP Envy 15 x360 convertible laptop with Intel Core i5 processor
Another versatile tech gift is the HP Envy x360 touchscreen laptop. Flip the screen around and the x360 becomes a tablet. BeatsAudio and Intel dual-Core processor give you sound quality and processing speed for the most demanding applications. Runs Windows 8.1. ($579, hp.com)
SkyViper QuadCopter Camera Drone
With drones dominating the news this year, many enthusiasts might have an aerial video quadcopter on their list. While more professional drones cost thousands, the Sky Viper Camera Drone provides photos and video up to 100 feet up and with a speed of 14mph for under $80. Onboard storage captures up to 30 minutes of video or up to 25,000 photos. ($79, skyrockettoys.com)
Harmon Kardon Onyx Studio Bluetooth Speaker
A Sprint.com exclusive, the Onyx Studio has high-quality room-filling sound and is just as suitable for parties as outdoor BBQs and family gatherings. The built-in battery lasts for five hours or connect the included power supply for unlimited listening. Get yours for $99 with a qualifying accessory purchase from Sprint. ($99-$399, sprint.com)
Sprint LivePro hotspot/projector/Android computer
I'm a huge fan of all-in-one devices. Sprint's LivePro is a hotspot, projector, Android mini-computer and more in a single gadget. Use it to watch movies with the family, share presentations on a business trip or connect all your gadgets on your next roadtrip. ($450, sprint.com)
When it comes to picking out an E-reader, the top choice is Amazon's paperwhite series. The latest model, released earlier this year, is the Kindle Voyage. At nearly $200, it's definitely not the least expensive, but the brilliant crisp e-ink technology will provide for volumes of page-flipping. ($199 "w/special offers" / $219 w/o, Amazon.com)
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9
Tablets are hot this year and one stands out packing a lot of punch. The Fire HDX 8.9 has a fast processor, brilliant display and unlimited cloud storage for photos. Add the new Fire Keyboard to add laptop-like functionality to your slim tablet. ($379, Amazon.com)
Ollie App-Controlled Robot
One part toy, one part educational app-controlled robot, the Ollie robot is certainly a lot of fun. The Ollie uses a smartphone or tablet app to maneuver in real-time. "Tilt, touch, or swipe," Ollie's creators, who also were responsible for the app-controlled ball Sphero, instruct. ($99: Apple Stores, Brookstone, Best Buy, Marbles: The Brain Store)
Moto X 2014
When the Moto X debuted in 2013, a fast, affordable, customized smartphone was born. The latest version improves on this solid device with a 5.2" Full HD Display. The Motorola-specific gesture control and other features set this phone apart from the competition. ($99, motorola.com)
Rosetta Stone Online Language Learning
Give the gift of...learning a language! The ideal gift for the jet-setter in your life, Rosetta Stone's online language learning system makes learning a foreign language easy. The immersion-based online courseware allows you to interact with native speakers. A special 3-month subscription will be available for $99. ($99-$279, rosettastone.com)
Casio OmniSync STB1000 Bluetooth watch
Many "wearables" are either not yet available, are too expensive, or both. The water-resistant watch is stylish and syncs with your smartphone using low-power Bluetooth. Track your fitness using built-in sensors while you track and report progress using supported apps on your smartphone. ($99, casio.com)
Burnt Impressions "Selfie Toaster"
Have you ever wanted to have your face on a piece of toast? Perform your own miracles with the "Selfie Toaster". Submit your own image to create a custom toaster. For $25 extra, you can add a second impression. It may not replace your daily toaster, but it is a great customized gift. ($69, burntimpressions.com)