2012
12.02

It’s the holiday shopping season and I’ve been reading a lot about all the connected gadgets people are scooping up for the holidays. Tablets and smartphones are both top sellers, according to the Consumer Electronics Assn., and retailers are also touting their gaming systems, fitness devices, connected photo frames, GPS devices, and home control systems.

All the advertisements and articles got me thinking: What would be the No. 1 device on my wish list? If I could receive any connected product I wanted, with price as no object, what would I choose? Coming up with an answer proved harder than I realized.

First the obvious choices: I’d love a new iPad. The shiny new 4th-gen version is fast and offers LTE, and it would look great sitting on my coffee table. Or perhaps an iPad Mini, so I could pop it in my purse and head out for the day with all my movies, emails, and apps at the ready. But I already have an iPhone, and while the iPad seems fun and exciting, I’m not sure what I’d actually do with it most of the time. I already have enough screens to stare at, what with my phone and my laptop and my TV.

I also considered a new product—the revamped Jawbone UP. Sales of this fitness-tracking gadget were halted earlier this year after some customer complaints that it wasn’t functioning properly. Jawbone says it has put the device through rigorous testing and recently started selling a new version.  The UP bracelet is designed to be worn around the clock, tracking your steps, your movements, and even your sleep patterns. All the data is available online so you can monitor your activity.

This seems enlightening, though I’m sure I’d be shocked at how little I actually move during the day. And I’d love to know if I’m getting enough deep sleep. But I know myself, and I know after the initial thrill of checking my stats online wore off, the bracelet would be relegated to the back of my closet, with the hands weights and the yoga mat.

So what gift would I most want to receive (aside from world peace and a winning Powerball ticket)? Among connected devices, I have to pick the Philips hue home lighting system. The reason is simple: it claims to combine all the things I love about connected products. It seems easy, useful, beautiful, and fun. Philips says hue will allow the user to recreate almost any lighting scene they can find. I could use a photo I took of the light on the coast of San Francisco, and the hue LED bulbs would work to match it.

The Web-enabled light bulbs can mimic most colors, and I could control them using a smartphone. Setup seems fairly simple—I would install the bulbs and set up a bridge as the intermediary communications unit. I could also program the system to turn lights on and off at my pleasure. The first thing I’d do is program the lights to come on gradually in the morning to help me wake up. Maybe they could be the color of a sunrise?

While there are lots of connected devices I’d like to own, right now hue has attracted my attention. Rather than monitoring me or providing another screen, it aims to make my home life more enjoyable, and that’s what I like about it.

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