By Joe Levi | December 24, 2013 7:13 AM
Regardless of whether you celebrate Christmas or one of the other Winter holidays, if you haven’t gotten a gift for your favorite Android-toting friend or loved one, you’re seriously running out of time!
However, all is not lost! There are some gifts that you can give that will be useful and make the recipient feel that you put in a lot of time and effort coming up with the perfect Christmas gifts for them.
Unless your recipient doesn’t spend any time in an automobile (train, bus, and bike riders come to mind), the gift of a car charger may mean more than just a little extra battery life between their location and their destination. Supplying power while driving means they can run any number of GPS apps to help them get from point-A to point-B quickly and safely.
Most modern GPS apps include near-real-time traffic and hazard information and could literally save their life. Many are hesitant to do so because they haven’t invested in a simple (and relatively inexpensive) accessory: the car charger.
No, we aren’t talking about car docks, though one of those might be a great idea, too, we’re just talking about the “plug thingey” that connects the vehicle’s DC power jack to a micro-USB connector. Your buddy may already have one, but that’s okay. Look for something that’s got two ports and supplies 2-Amps. This can either double its utility (by charging two things at once), or halve the charging time. In either case, it’s probably an upgrade from what they’re using now.
One of these puppies is relatively inexpensive and can be picked up at virtually any cellphone store. Even your local big-box or retail store may carry them.
Google Play Gift Cards
Let’s face it, our Androids are much more enjoyable when we have premium content on them, whether that’s a game, music, movie, book, magazine subscription, or a season of your favorite TV show. Google Play has all of those, and a gift card is a great way to share them.
These cards are available in various denominations and can usually be found at cellphone stores, or even your local convenience store.
Not long ago every new smartphone came with a pair of fairly decent headphones — not so anymore. Sounds have so much more detail and depth when played through a good, quality set of headphones. Most people have a pair, but many don’t. Even if they do, there’s a pretty good chance they’re probably the “round” kind.
Round cables have a tendency to tangle fairly easily. I’ve had a pair of headphones tie itself in knots after having been laid neatly across my desk after only ten seconds. It’s a freak of nature. Flat cables are much less likely to tangle. Yes, they still can, just not as often, and not nearly as badly.
Even if your recipient already has a pair, a second will be warmly welcomed. Be prepared to spend US$30 to $50 on a good set — you don’t want to scrimp here. Cellphone and electronics stores will be your best bet, but big box and even convenience stores may have what you’re looking for.
This one may not be as easy to find, but let me tell you, they sure come in handy. What are they? A portable charger! Basically, they’re a big battery with all the ports and circuitry you need to charge up your phone when you’re away from an outlet.
You’ll want something that has standard USB ports and has an output of 1.5-Amps or 2-Amps, and a capacity of 10,000 mAh or more. This means your recipient should get at least two, and maybe three full charges before they’ll have to find an outlet.
These fancy little gadgets take a while to charge and can be on the pricey side, but every road-warrior should have one. Other than online distributors like Amazon.com, electronics stores are your best bet for these.
What to avoid
The sweater pictured above notwithstanding, there are some ideas that you can’t go wrong with, but there are some things you probably want to avoid.
Car docks: These are illegal in many locales, and are hard to find the right fit between the phone and the vehicle. You’re probably better off leaving this decision up to your friend.
Cases: There’s almost no way to customize one’s cell phone or tablet other than through a case. They’re very personal, and because of all the many shapes and sizes of devices out there, unless you know exactly which device your recipient has, the chances of you getting a case that actually fits isn’t very likely.
Screen protectors: Again, due to the many variables involved here, it’s best to leave this choice to your recipient, too.
What about you?
Hopefully you haven’t left your shopping to the very last minute, but in case you have, what ideas do you have to share? Are you an Android user and have an idea that we didn’t include above? Head down to the comments and share your thoughts — just don’t forget to include the best places to pick one up on Christmas Eve!