Beyond Flowers: The Best Tech Gadgets for Mother’s Day

We know, Mom. We don’t have to get you anything. You don’t want to be a bother. But you wouldn’t turn down a fashionable netbook, a top-notch camera, or a cool music player, right?

The Best Tech Gadgets for Mother’s Day

We know from experience that Mom will always welcome flowers and chocolates, but we also know that those gifts don’t usually last long--and that they can’t take pictures or send e-mail. So with Mother’s Day coming up on Sunday, May 10, you face a choice.

Option 1: Choose a stylish netbook, a cool MP3 player, or a swanky phone from this list, thus solidifying your claim to be Mom’s favorite.

Option 2: Send your mother a cheap card that’ll inevitably arrive a day late, and prepare to live a life of undying guilt, shame, and regret.

Take all the time you need to decide. We’ll wait.

Sony Webbie HD MHS-PM1

A big part of being a mother is recording memories: you missing the big shot at the soccer game, you playing a swordfish in the school play, you wearing a powder-blue tux to the prom. Then Mom forever threatens to trot out the videos at every family outing. In the good old days, parents were limited to shooting fuzzy Super 8 films, and you could argue that your outfit didn’t really look that dorky--the video just didn't do it justice. Today’s moms, though, can wield tools like the Sony Webbie HD MHS-PM1 ($170). The high-def quality of this handheld camcorder (which comes in three great colors) lets Mom create and upload crisp and clear videos, and send them off to relatives and friends in a few easy steps. So why would you want to put such a powerful weapon into Mom’s hands? In a word: strings. Before you give it to her, make sure that she understands the essential rule of family video: “What happens in middle school stays in middle school.”

Swarovski Heart Ware Vitrail Light USB Memory Key

If I had followed Mom's advice and become a doctor or lawyer (“Something professional, that I can be proud of. Is that so much to ask?”), I could afford to buy her an actual diamond necklace this Mother’s Day. Instead, I became a technology journalist and so can barely scrape together $180 for a Swarovski Heart Ware Vitrail Light USB Memory Key. Hey, this 1GB thumbdrive is just as sparkly as a piece of real jewelry--and it also stores data, making it a perfect gift! Like that’ll keep her from bringing up Cousin Mark, the entrepreneur. --Edward N. Albro

LG KF900 Prada II Smartphone

Feeling guilty about last Mother’s Day, when you gave Mom that Pradaa purse? Remember her joy when she thought you had spent big bucks on a true luxury item for her? Remember her shame when her friends pointed out that the real thing has only two a’s in its name and can’t be bought for $10 from a man behind a card table in Times Square?

Here's your chance to make amends. LG Electronics’ KF900 Prada II smartphone is sleek and stylish, with a 3-inch touchscreen and a fairly intuitive interface. At $500, the LG KF900 Prada II is definitely a splurge, but you do kind of owe it to her, don't you?

HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition

Let’s face it: Not all moms are fashion-forward. If your mother’s version of a pencil skirt and Jimmy Choos is gray sweatpants and a pair of running shoes, it’s probably too late to attempt an extreme makeover. But at least you can get her to carry something fashionable. The HP Mini 1000 Vivienne Tam Edition boasts a gorgeous original design from fashion designer Vivienne Tam that will make Mom feel superstylish. At $700, it comes with Windows XP and is ideal for checking e-mail, surfing the Web, and viewing photos; and best of all, it fits easily in a typical purse (or camouflage backpack, if that’s what your mother is into). Buy it for Mom and wait for the style osmosis to begin.

Canon Powershot A1100 IS

Okay, so some moms can be a little...demanding: "Why didn't you do better on this test?" "Why isn't your room cleaner?" "Why are you still living at home at age 34?" If exacting standards are one of your mom's little foibles, the Canon Powershot A1100 IS is the perfect camera for her. Its picture quality is way better than that of most other point-and-shoots in its price range (around $200). The body is sturdy and well put together. And it runs on two AA batteries. It's like the National Honor Society medalist/All-Star pitcher/Debate Club captain of cameras. Give your mother an A1100 IS, and you'll advance some small way toward becoming the kind of child she always thought you could be. But it won’t stop her from asking when you're going to settle down and give her a grandchild.

16GB Apple iPod Nano

It was bad enough when your brother got your mother her first iPod. She gushed and cooed about how great it sounded and how it could hold so much music. Then your sister came along with an iPod Shuffle. "Oh, it's so tiny and cute!" Mom raved, while you stood there and fumed, knowing that inside your gift-wrapped box was a bottle of cheap perfume and a Starbucks gift card. That's why this year you must buy Mom the 16GB iPod Nano ($199). Sure, the latest iPod Nano is fun and easy to use, and it comes in nine vibrant colors, but the main thing is that it's newer and therefore must be better than those tired old gadgets she got months and months ago. This is why Steve Jobs loves sibling rivalry.

Nintendo DS Lite Mother’s Day Bundle

We all like to think of our moms in a certain way: standing in the kitchen, wearing an apron, and pulling freshly baked chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. Nintendo knows about that fantasy and wants to help reinforce it with the Nintendo DS Lite Mother's Day bundle ($150). The bundle includes a spring-green DS Lite, a chic matching carrying case, and the Personal Trainer Cooking title. So go ahead--get Mom the DS Lite bundle, and imagine her on a Sunday morning making popovers. Just don't be surprised if you come for a visit and find that she's actually capping pimps in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe Oled 2.8

Are you one of those people I hate? The kind who can still wear the jeans they graduated from high school in and who have a family full of adorable, photogenic kids? Then by all means, buy your mother the Digital Foci Pocket Album Deluxe Oled 2.8. This $89 picture frame gives her the best image quality available among today’s portable digital frames--all the better to show off your family's gleaming white smiles and perfectly placed dimples. Me, I'll be giving my mom a smudgy photo from 1989 and the same old line about my camera being on the fritz. --Edward N. Albro

Don’t think any of these gifts would tickle your mom’s fancy? Try these other gift guides for the truly hard-to-please mother:

If Mom is ridiculously well-to-do, ask her to adopt us. Then check out "Technology for the Obscenely Wealthy."

Is Mom embroiled in internecine battles at work? Take a look at "10 Invincible Gifts for the Cubicle Warrior."

If Mom is a leet haxor, you’ll need to consult "10 Gifts for the Hard-Core Techie."

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