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This holiday season, tech gifts are not just popular, they’reexpected. Whether you’re buying for your husband, your children oreven your parents, new technologies are available to suit theirneeds. A far cry from Tickle Me Elmo, this year’s hot gadgets offerthe latest in connectivity and speed, which consumers have come toexpect. Whether shopping online or in-store, be sure to check outthis holiday season’s hottest tech gifts.

Tablets: The granddaddy of this genre, the iPad, is still thefrontrunner in tablet sales, but several other manufacturers haveproduced tablet offerings this holiday season. Verizon and Googlehave partnered to release a talked-about tablet of their own justin time for gift giving. High on the wish list of any student orworkaholic, tablets operate much in the same way as a laptop,without the bulk. Apps are available for playing games, editingphotos and even streaming video, which make surfing a breeze withone of these sleek gadgets.

Mobile broadbandInternet: For those who still prefer the capabilities andkeyboard of a laptop, the gift of high-speedmobile Internet access may be perfect. Usually accessed with asmall USB-ported receiver, mobile broadband speeds can be fasterthan most landlines. Companies such as Clearspot4G offer 4 gigabyte speed, practically unheard of untilrecently. For those on your list looking for a reliable, on-the-goconnection, mobile broadband may be the solution.

HDTV and 3DTV: Each year has advances in television technology,and this year is no different. Perhaps two of the most hyped techadvances in decades, 3DTV and HDTV, are all the rage this holidayseason. While a 3D set may be less than affordable, HDTVs arebecoming more so and may be a great gift to consider. Advances inHD include sets that are now Internet-capable, the most notablebeing Sony’s Google TV. Available everywhere, these TVs not onlyfeature impeccable picture quality but fully functioning Internetbrowsing capability. These items make great gifts for the moretech-forward members of your gift list.

Connected Blu-ray: Blu-ray has slowly but surely asserted itsdominance in the digital video sphere. Featuring the best picturequality available, Blu-ray is further setting itself apart bypairing with video services, downloaded through an Internetconnection. Players like Netflix and Blockbuster have partneredwith Blu-ray to connect TVs digitally to vast catalogs of videos.Purchasing a connection bar for someone often also gets them accessto online radio services such as Pandora, available to streamthrough TV speakers.

E-readers: While last year was truly the market breakthrough fore-readers, this year provides many more options. Retailersretaliated against tablet offerings by making today’s e-readersmore affordable and easier to use than ever. Borders, Amazon andBarnes and Noble all offer their own version of a reader, withBarnes and Noble’s “Nook” being the most controversial and hyped.Make sure the reader you choose offers all the functions needed asall e-readers are not created equal.

Forget stale fruitcake and new dress socks, tech gifts are whateveryone really wants this year. Retailers have begun pricing theirgadgets affordably and making them easier to understand, addingvalue to already-desirable gifts. When you head out to the mall orstart your online search, don’t forget this year’s list of what’swhat in the technology sphere.