holiday gift disappointments. In our opinion two tech devices seem to stand out this holiday season as strong gift options we'd recommend jumping on early: the Amazon Kindle and the Microsoft Kinect. Just make sure beforehand that the person receiving the Kinect has an Xbox 360 already, or you should factor in the console system into your purchase, or it will be one sad Christmas morning. The Kinect would make for a fun gift for the whole family to enjoy after gifts are all open, considering its multi-player nature and ability to make anyone look the fool while having fun. The Kindle has been reduced in price, starting at $139. The 3G version costs $50 extra and it can be easily customized as a personal gift by downloading books that the person will enjoy. You don't have to purchase them. You can just download some from the thousands of books that are available for free from Amazon in the ebook format. Adding a yearly magazine subscription is also a nice touch. As an example, I don't own a Kindle, but do own an Xbox 360. I'd probably appreciate getting a Kindle, as I read voraciously, but don't believe that ebook reader technology is there yet. However, if someone were to give me one, I'd definitely be happy.
Another interesting gift combination would be one of those iPod Nano watch bands with an iPod Nano ($149). The one from Griffin is called the Slap and sells for $25. There are a number of similar products that were recently released that would be a good gift for someone who already has an iPod Nano. Lastly, we've seen a few places that are selling iPads for $399, making this also a good, yet pricey gift for a loved one. The updated version of the iPad will have a bunch of extra features, so maybe it's best to be careful with a big purchase like this, especially if the iPad 2 comes out in Q1 2011. With enough early planning, Black Friday and the sales before and after are the perfect times to upgrade minor/major electronics and appliances at considerable discount. But knowing the when, where and how are important when it comes to a successful Black Friday. [photos via Griffin, Squidoo]