Techno life Christmas Special: Give or get a gizmo

Last year's must-have Christmas present was the iPod mini, but now the discerning technophile has more to choose from. There are four new iPods, a crowd of music-playing rivals, Sony's PlayStation Portable, a slew of new digital cameras, and high-performance PDAs and accessories aplenty. Not much room on your list, then, for woolly jumpers and socks.

by Tom Dunmore, editor-in-chief, Stuff magazine

But whether you've embraced the digital revolution or are struggling with an ancient pocket calculator, Christmas is packed with exciting opportunities.

It offers the technophobe a chance to dip a toe into the water and give technology a try; for the gadget-lover, Yuletide brings a chance to expand your collection at the expense of others (even if that means giving inappropriate presents that you know will find their way back to you). And for the office goody-goody, Christmas is the perfect time to impress your boss with a thoughtful techno-trinket.

Next year promises to be another bumper year for technology, with the new version of the all-conquering Windows operating system, the launch of three new gaming consoles, including the hotly anticipated PlayStation 3, and - best of all - the arrival of high-definition (HD) television, just in time for the World Cup. HD-ready plasma screens are on sale right now, but it's not until Sky turns on its HD broadcasts in the spring that you'll be able to see just what an amazing difference hi-def makes to your viewing experience. When you do, you'll want to upgrade the office teleconferencing gear to HD so you can see what your colleagues in Australia really look like in the middle of the night.

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