10 tech-inspired Mother?s Day gift

Cool, fun, practical: Mother?s Day gifts with a tech edg

Mother's day gifts

If you're looking for a gift for your mom -- or something for your kids to give their mom -- check out these nine tech-inspired options. You'll find something for all budgets and levels of effort. There's even a Tetris-inspired ice cube tray.

Verizon's Hub

I'm a sucker for anything that could bring order to a chaotic household. Can Verizon's Hub accomplish it? Not sure, but I'm intrigued by the multifunction phone-Web-video-mail device. The Hub costs $200 with the purchase of a two-year contract.

Plia Designs

These hardshell cases from Plia Designs can protect a smartphone and do double-duty as a clutch for those times when all a mom wants to carry is a phone, ID and little cash. You can buy them here for $72.

Flip from Pure Digital Technologies

I'm itching for more than the two-minute videos I can film with my digital camera -- I'm ready for the Flip from Pure Digital Technologies (which Cisco is acquiring). The second-generation of the Flip Ultra camcorder debuted in late April, and it features double the memory of its predecessor, a larger screen, and battery recharging through a built-in USB arm. The Flip Ultra costs $150 and the Flip UltraHD is $200.

ice cube trays, salt and pepper mills

If you want to go a little campy and a little nostalgic, think games. Industrial designer Martin Zampach created these Tetris-inspired ice cube trays (roughly $10). If you're more of a Rubik’s Cube fan, check out the Rubik’s Cruet salt and pepper mills available at fredflare.com ($20).

Energy Detective

Pinching pennies is in vogue these days, and it seems there are plenty to pinch around the house. Energy monitors such as The Energy Detective (starts at $145 for single-panel 200AMP electrical service) and P3 International's Kill A Watt meter (about $20 for a plug-in monitor) can help monitor energy use and curb waste -- and maybe even save you enough cash to buy a less practical gift for mom.

Laptop sleeves

Spring is here and so is a new crop of laptop sleeves. Fun and inexpensive (generally in the $20 to $50 range), these protective covers make it easy to stash a laptop in any bag. Some of my favorites these days are from Be.ez and Snupped .

Balanzza

With some airlines charging for every checked bag, I try to cram as much in each suitcase as possible. Then I wind up holding my breath at the ticket counter as the baggage scale creeps closer to the 50-pound penalty zone. With this handy digital luggage scale ($25) from Balanzza , there are no more surprises -- and no more frantically removing contents to get below 50 pounds.

Mozy online backup service

I'd be devastated if I were to lose years of pictures of my family, and even though I've backed up my digital files on CDs, I'd feel much safer using an offsite option like Mozy's online backup service ($5 per month for unlimited space). If my family set all that up for me, that would be a pretty cool Mother's Day gift.

Lighting from Philips

A snazzy new line of lighting from Philips uses organic light-emitting diodes -- which light more evenly than LEDs -- and adds interactive features: You can dim the chandelier with a hand gesture, for instance. The company previewed its freestanding, wall-mounted, desktop and ceiling lights in April, though they're not yet for sale.

Kindle DX e-reader

OK, it's definitely pricey at $489. But Amazon's new Kindle DX e-reader , unveiled just in time for Mother's Day, has a much bigger screen than earlier generations (9.7 inches diagonally). 3G wireless support makes downloading books a breeze; no monthly fees or annual contracts required. It has taken a while for me to really warm up to the idea of the Kindle, but now it's official: I want one.

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