The team at BYTE had the unique challenge of finding the top business-worthy consumer tech gifts for the holidays. There are lots of top 10 lists out there, but our challenge was finding cool consumer stuff that will also work well in the enterprise. Of course, many consumer products can be brought into the enterprise--that's the raison d'etre for BYTE--but there aren't a lot of them that also make great gifts. We skipped the obvious--the iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire--because we bet whoever wants t
If you use the Apple Wireless Keyboard for your iPad, the Incase Origami Workstation for iPad 2 and iPad stand is a must have. The keyboard snaps into place securely and the cover holds both versions of the iPad at the correct angle for typing in either landscape or portrait, turning your iPad into a desktop.
Inspired by the Japanese art of paper-folding, the Origami Workstation doesn't add a lot of thickness to the overall package. In fact, it works with most iPad cases, so you never need to unsheathe it just to type. The rubberized base keeps everything firmly in place. The iPad kicked BYOD into high gear. The Origami Workstation gives it a place on the desktop. $29.95
A rear view of the Origami.
One of our writers got a pair of Bose MIE2i Headphones for his birthday and insisted we include them in our list. And why not? The earbuds are secure without being tight, reaching that sweet spot where you forget you're wearing them. Because they are made exclusively for Apple products, they allow you full control over your music without having to fumble with the screen.
If you haven't yet ditched the buds that came with your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad for a better pair, these are the way to go. Use the built-in mic at work to ask Siri what your day looks like. $116.96
The concept of consumerization is not waiting for IT to help you with a project; if you need to make a video to show the sales team how your department's new product works, just do it with your iPhone. Now, to make your videos pop, attach a Photojojo iPhone Lens Dial and add a wide angle, fish-eye, or telephoto effect to the project just by rotating the dial. $249
Another view of the Photojojo iPhone Lens Dial. The aircraft-grade aluminum jacket is equipped with two tripod mounts for portrait and landscape. Photojojo makes some ultra-cool lenses for the iPhone, but the Lens Dial is the most versatile.
If you're ready to make the leap from point-and-shoot cameras but not ready for the expense and bulk of a DSLR, the Olympus E-PM1 12.3MP is a good choice. It produces photographs and video that rival a DSLR's yet it's as portable as a point-and-shoot. Dare we say it's nearly pocketable. The E-PM1 has a zippy autofocus and fast buffer clearing for rapid shooting, with a huge number of customizations available. The 5.5fps burst mode and art filter bracketing features are mondo cool. Olympus always has a large number of add-on lenses (micro four-thirds) and there's an available hot shoe to add an external flash. $499.99
Not too long ago you needed deep pockets to buy any technology. Now you need deep pockets to hold it all. With 19 pockets on the Scottevest Puffer Jacket, we challenge you to fill all of them. The jacket has two cell-phone pockets with translucent windows so you can see and control your iPhone right through the cloth, and pockets for digital cameras, GPS units, glasses, handwarmers--whatever you can think of. You're a walking Best Buy, staying both warm and connected. The jacket has a weight-management system with "no bulge" technology so your devices remain unknown to others. Just remember where you put your keys. $190
By day, the Asus Eee Transformer Prime is a button-down laptop and the envy of any board member. By night it's a sleek, sexy tablet when detached from its keyboard. The original iteration, which debuted in April, received mixed reviews due to the OS. Honeycomb is lame, so Asus installed Ice-Cream Sandwich on the Prime, and upgraded the chip to a quad core with 1GB of RAM. The Prime is surprisingly lightweight, has a tight fit and finish, and boasts a whopping 18-hour battery life when connected to the keyboard. With all that horsepower, the gaming is dazzling. It does a fairly decent spreadsheet as well. The tablet and keyboard are sold separately, $448.98 and $119.16, respectively.
Wristwatches are so five minutes ago. These days, we might not have a lot of time, but it's displayed everywhere, including the screen you're looking at now. So why give anyone a watch? Sony Ericsson has the answer. Use the Sony Ericsson LiveView to deliver music, Facebook, tweets, texts, RSS feeds, calls, calendar items, even a "find your phone" feature--and of course the date and time. The LiveView is a 128-pixel-by-128-pixel OLED screen with two buttons and a touchscreen that provide limited control of your mobile phone via Bluetooth.
Another view of the Sony Ericsson LiveView. Your phone stays in your pocket while you get updates on your wrist (or anywhere else you care to clip it). This could come in handy in meetings when you're dying to look at your smart phone but want to maintain the illusion of paying attention. $73.94
Any cube worker would love the Jawbone Nerd, a thumbnail-size Bluetooth gadget that allows you to pair multiple devices. The Nerd comes pre-paired or hardware paired with the Jawbone Icon HD headset. Once you pair your headset to your phone, plug your Nerd into any Mac or PC. Without needing a software installation, or pairing of the devices, it's connected to your headset. The connection is instant. When a call comes in, the music turns off with a tap.
Range is about 30 feet in an office environment, which is typical for Bluetooth devices. The Nerd's equipped with "military-grade" noise cancellation developed for use for U.S. tank commanders and helicopter pilots. It's priced at the higher end of similar Bluetooth/USB combinations, but for the convenience of not having to fumble through another setting, it just might be worth it. $139
The Eye-Fi Connect X2 is the first wireless memory card that has a Wi-Fi 802.11 adapter built in. Any camera that takes the card--and there are thousands--becomes a wireless device. You might never need to plug a card (or device) into a PC again to offload files. The card allows for up to 32 networks to be hard-coded in. One of those can be your company's Wi-Fi where you can move that video you made for the sales department to a PC. If you don't have Wi-Fi at work, just send it to your iPhone, iPad, or Android device with direct mode. Photographers will love this because they can preview photos on the iPad's larger screen during a shoot. $49.99
The Acer Aspire S3 has been our number-one drool object for all of 2011. We've gotten our hands on one for a bit and I can honestly say it is the best notebook we've seen in years. From the feel of the keyboard, to the weight, to the fact that it doesn't collect fingerprints, if you're in the market for a thin, fast, on-the-go Windows 7 laptop, this is the one for you. The solid-state drive provides an "instant on" and it works like magic. You open the computer and it's right there asking for your password. Take that, iPad.
The CLEAR 4G Mobile USB Modem is the gift that keeps on giving--that is, if you also offer to pay for the monthly service that goes along with it. If you surf the Web at work, odds are you're being monitored by the network administrators. They might not be looking on a daily basis, but that information is being stored for your annual review. Those hours spent on BYTE can really add up. Even if admin doesn't have the tools to track your Web usage, your cache is recording all of it locally.
Attaching this USB stick to your laptop will give you peace of mind knowing that your surf time is truly private. It works on Windows 7 and Mac OS 10.5. This pay-as-you-go plan won't saddle the recipient (or you) with any long-term contracts if they don't use it. As with any provider, check the coverage map before you buy. $49.99; $35 a month
At 5.5 inches wide, the Soundmatters foxLv2 Bluetooth Speaker system builds a wall of sound loud enough for small parties. Designed by a former NASA engineer, the speaker system, whose lithium battery acts as a subwoofer, is also a hands-free audio device. It includes a "business quality" built-in microphone for speakerphone conference calls for teams that travel. Of course, that deep bass also provides some rich sound that can fill a cubicle--with minimal disturbance to those around you. Think upcoming holiday office parties. There is no plugging. Put it anywhere fully charged and it'll go up to eight hours. $199
Your USB data should be on an encrypted drive so if it's ever lost, it's useless to whoever finds it. Of course it's also useless to you if you lose it. Give a gift that keeps the recipient's data safe and close to his person. With the 2GB USB Jewel Pendant Necklace Flash Drive Chain & Box, they will always have access to their personal and professional data without a need for an Internet connection. Do they have an ever-growing list of passwords? They can keep them close to their heart on this 2GB encrypted drive. Prices range from under $20 to $5K. (We're showing the less expensive jewelry. After all, the real value is on the inside.)
Okay, so this one might be a little less than business oriented. The My Pregnancy Digi Time Capsule Crystal Heart Collection is a complete pregnancy journal suite. Capture your full journey to motherhood and store it on a multifunction 4GB USB drive in an attractive heart-shaped pendant that you can keep close to your heart. $51.50
Server Market SplitsvilleJust because the server market's in the doldrums doesn't mean innovation has ceased. Far from it -- server technology is enjoying the biggest renaissance since the dawn of x86 systems. But the primary driver is now service providers, not enterprises.