With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about shopping for that perfect gift for the guy or gal in your life! Tech expert and Today show contributor Mario Armstrong is a pro when it comes to technology and holiday gift giving, and he was kind enough to join me for an interview this week to dish on his seven favorite apps and tech gadgets for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
Candace Rose: Which Microsoft product has the edge for shoppers now?
Mario Armstrong: “I think there’s a couple of things going on in Microsoft land that’s really hot for the holiday season. I get a lot of questions about ‘Mario, should I get a laptop?’ ‘Mario, should I get a tablet?’ I say look at getting the best of both worlds in one device and that’s the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 because it gives you a fully functioning keyboard, fully functioning laptop. You can get all of your office and productivity work done, but then it’s also a tablet so you can do all of your entertainment, your games, your apps – everything that you would expect to do on a tablet and more, plus the multi-positioning kickstand is great and stereo speakers sound amazing. This gives you both devices in one.
I think Windows phones like the HTC One (M8) – great prices on Windows phones. This comes with the latest Windows software, five inch display, Cortana is included and the all new digital gift card app, which is really great for doing digital gifts. I think they’ve got you covered with quite a few things this holiday season.”
Candace Rose: What’s special for gamers on your holiday shopping list?
Mario Armstrong: “Amazon has just blown the roof off with this – their Amazon Appstore is offering discounts on not just games but also apps – from 50 to 90 percent off. A digital gift giving of an app is a really great thing to do especially for you procrastinators out there that might take a little long. You can easily gift someone an app especially if they’re on a Kindle or an Android device, they’ll love this – big, big discounts in the Amazon Appstore. In late December over 100 in paid apps will be available for free.”
Candace Rose: Do you have something for people hooked on magazines?
Mario Armstrong: “I’m a big magazine reader, but I don’t want to have to pay for all the digital subscriptions to all the different magazines that are out there. There’s an app that’s called the Next Issue app. The Next Issue app gives me unlimited access to more than 145 magazines along with not only the current issue, but also the back catalogs as well. You get access to things like Bon Appetit, People, Vanity Fair and more. Plus since it’s digital you’ll get access to videos, extended photo slideshows and cool things like that.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything new in wearable tech that is super fashionable?
Mario Armstrong: “Yes, finally! You’re going to love this Candace, finally. We’ve been talking about wearable for a long time and wearable’s not always fashionable. We all have the trackers that do this or that and other things, but this is a beautiful piece of technology right here (please see video above for details) this is the Intel powered MICA bracelet, which is absolutely stunningly gorgeous, designed by Opening Ceremony, has an LED display right on the front which gives you your texts, social media updates and more that you can get right on that screen. It’s basically an intelligent communications accessory, but it looks absolutely gorgeous in person. You would seriously wear this as a piece of jewelry for a night out on the town.”
Candace Rose: What’s revolutionary in photography this holiday season?
Mario Armstrong: “I would say this camera that I have right here is blowing me away, it’s called the Lytro ILLUM and it’s a different camera. You can’t think of this camera like you think of regular cameras because when you take the picture with this camera you do it one time, but you get access to changing so many different things about it and that’s because it’s a light field camera. It captures this whole light field basically capturing 3D information of that particular image and giving you the ability to change things about that image after you’ve taken it right in the camera. You can change the focus, you can change the aperture, you can change the tilt, the zoom. There are a lot of different things that you can change instantly within the camera without losing any of the quality of that image and without carrying a bunch of lenses as well.”
Candace Rose: What’s the best way to organize and save all your photos and videos?
Mario Armstrong: “We’re going to be taking a lot of them over the season so I pulled together a free app that I think is going to make it really simple and easy, it’s called Carousel by Dropbox. This free app you basically download on your phone, looks at all your images and your photos and then makes it so easy to organize them and then get access to them, but also to share them on social networks, so to family and friends. And because it’s an app by Dropbox, you also have the benefit of Dropbox storage, so you’ll have the backup. If you lose your phone, or your device or if it gets damaged, you don’t have to worry because all of your memories are backed up to the cloud in Dropbox.”
Candace Rose: Thanks for the great gift ideas, Mario. Where can we go for more information?
Mario Armstrong: “We covered a lot of ground, different price points for everybody. If they head over to the website ThunkNews.com/Favorite they’ll find detailed information.”