Gadgets are always popular this time of year and while there are some excellent options out there this year, the ones that we can control from our smartphones and tablets are often the most fun. Great for all sorts of price ranges, these gadgets are great if you want to give a friend or family member one more reason not to put their smartphone or tablet down.
Great for kids and bigger kids alike, the Sphero 2.0 is essentially a Bluetooth ball of fun. You connect it to an Android device and the guy can roll around at a decent pace at your command. It lights up, you can put a rugged coat on the 'lil guy to take him offroad and he's just a lot of fun. If you're looking to give someone a cool techie gift that's controlled by their smartphone, then this is an excellent choice.
PowerUP 3.0 Smartphone Controller Paper Aeroplane
Remember those Paper Aeroplanes you used to make in the back of class? Well, now you can bring them to life with PowerUP 3.0. The pack consists of a smart module and a propeller that you attach your paper aeroplane to and then you can control it from your iPhone or Android smartphone. You'll need Android 4.3 or above for this, but if you have a recent Android device you'll be fine. It's a lot of fun and whoever you give this to will have lots of fun playing around with new plane designs.
Rover 2.0 App-Controlled Smart Tank
The Rover 2.0 is a smart Tank that you can control using your smartphone or tablet and there's a camera onboard that can help you navigate without being in the same room. A cool gadget for any techno fan looking for something a little more "out there" the Rover 2.0 is a great piece of hardware and a lot of fun to mess around with.
Griffin HELO TC Chopper
If you know a small kid (or big kid) that wants to take the skies, Griffin has a more compact and manageable solution for you; the HELO TC Chopper. Controlled by either an iOS or Android device, this small little Helicopter allows you to take off and tilt your smartphone to move left and right. A nice way of getting kids interested in flying using their Android device or their parents' smartphone this doesn't break the bank and it's from a decent name, too.
From the same company that brought us Sphero comes Ollie, a more rugged and perhaps more grown-up approach. Ollie gets its name from its ability to jump fairly high and those colorful, chunky treads are what allows Ollie to hit the tough stuff and get out and about. It's fairly tough, can travel at some speed and works on a variety of surfaces that the Sphero 2.0 just can't. It's a little more expensive than the Sphero 2.0, but it's also more rugged and harder-wearing.
Parrot Mini Drone Rolling Spider
From the same company known for the Parrot AR Drone comes a new, more manageable drone, the Mini Drone Rolling Spider. Named as such thanks to its ability to roll along as well as fly at the control of your smartphone or tablet. There's an embedded camera that points straight down to show off those birds-eye views and while this is clearly aimed at younger flyers, this is powerful for the whole family to get involved with. Hopefully those big wheels will help with those tricky landings over the Holiday period as well.
Griffin MOTO TC Monster Truck
From the same folks that can help little ones take to the sky with their smartphones or tablets comes the MOTO TC. Great for those that prefer four wheels, this monster truck can be controlled from your smartphone or tablet running Android and it's great for going offroad with, too. While I doubt the MOTO TC is all that hard wearing I'm sure it'll take a beating like a good number of the real trucks out there.
Death Star Bluetooth Speaker
There's a new Star Wars film hitting next year and what better way to get your resident Sith or Jedi ready for the new film than a light-up Death Star speaker? While this isn't perhaps as exciting as the Sphero or a remote-control Helicopter, but it sure does look cool and for kids that are into their audiobooks and such, this is a great way to listen to hem at night. It comes with a cool stand and this would be a great gift for any Star Wars fan.
You can purchase the Death Star speaker from ThinkGeek.
Doctor Who Smart Safe TARDIS
So you know a big Doctor Who fan? Chances are that these days you know more than one, but if you're looking for a novelty gift this Holiday Season that at least has some sort of usefulness to it, then this TARDIS safe is a good option. It's controlled by either an Android phone or iOS device and you can store keys, money, trinkets, that sort of thing inside the TARDIS and unlock it with your smartphone. Sadly, it doesn't open when you click your fingers.
The TARDIS Smart Safe is available from ThinkGeek.
Parrot AR Drone 2.0
The king of smartphone drones, the Parrot AR 2.0 Elite Edition is the best gift you can give to someone looking for a Drone that does it all. Available for iOS and Android, there's not much we need to say about this guy except that it's quick, stable and a seriously cool gift this time of year.