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Mama's Toys


She helped you take your first steps in the world. And there's a fair chance that she was not too far away even when you thought you were good enough to be on your own. No matter what you do, how old you get, how many pounds you put on and how much your hairline recedes, you will always be her little bundle of joy.

Yes, mothers are special. And always think (scratch that and make it 'know' ) that they know best. Which can make buying a gadget gift for them on Mother's Day quite a challenge. How do you come up with a gadget that can make even the least tech-savvy mum smile on her day? Well, here are seven tips, for highly effective tech shopping for mums, to help you.

Keep it simple, stupid

Make blind adherence to the KISS principle, the cornerstone of your maternal tech shopping expedition. Though they would rather die than admit it, the stark fact is that most mums get a trifle intimidated by gadgets that look complicated. Heck, most still prefer to wash clothes using their old washing machines with three buttons instead of fiddling around with the latest clotheswasher in town with seventeen touch-sensitive controls and an infrared remote. . . you get the idea. Make the gadget something that is easy to use (read: 'Not too many controls or buttons, please' ) and you bet she will get hooked. And oh yes, forget about the documentation - mums don't do bulky manuals.

Ring in the new, but do not out the old

One of the biggest mistakes offspring commit when gifting their mothers new gadgets is trumpeting the virtues of the newcomer and claiming that it will make her forget her existing (and often old and trustworthy) incumbent. So no matter what tech toy you inflict upon her, do resist the temptation to advise her to get rid of the old one. She will do so at her own time. And while on the subject, do also try to give her something that lasts for a while - mothers do not subscribe to the 'an update a day keeps one up to date' principle and are pretty delighted with what they already have. They would have dumped you ages ago if they did not!

Function over form

When stuck between choosing between a feature-laden gadget that looks like a recycled garbage can and one that looks like an Adonis but does comparatively less, opt for the former. They may not use all the functions on board the gadget, but mothers will go for function over form - after all, it is one of the tenets that they preach to their children.

So try to get a gadget that packs in lots of features, and yet does that without violating the principle of simplicity. Do remember, though, that all other things being equal, a mother will prefer a sleek device to a bulky one - all said and done, a mom is also a lady.

Make it large

Size does matter when it comes to gadgets, so make sure that even the so-called portable devices you hand her have a large display, saving her the need to squint at a small screen or to read the micro-type on buttons that even you would struggle to make sense of. Another advantage of size is the fact that it does enable them to show off the gizmo. No, not because they are exhibitionists by nature, but just because rare is the mum who will not show her friends what her child gave her on Mother's Day.

...And very solid

It might make salespersons wince and look around in a furtive manner for store security, but whenever possible, find out if the gadget you are giving your mum is going to survive a nasty fall or two. No, we do not mean to claim that all mums are butterfingers, but the truth is that they often end up handling so many things that it is but natural for a few to fall. So look for gadgets with a sturdy design that will last for a while at least.

Value for money

In any mother's dictionary, the word 'economy' inevitably pops up between 'large' and 'size'. No matter what you purchase and no matter how much you insist that it is good value for money, there's a fair chance that your mum will haul you over the coals for spending too much. So be prepared with a complete justification of expenses incurred when you buy a gadget for the mater. We would also advise you to burn the bills - it will help you buy time while your mother finds out the real cost of what you have got for her.

Keep help handy

No matter which gadget you give your mum, there is no way you can ensure that it will not malfunction or stop functioning altogether at some point of time. The only thing that you can ensure is to buy a product from folks who are more than willing to help out when things go wrong. For, whether you like it or not, if something does go wrong with your gift, your mum will try and set things right herself before turning to her beloved offspring. So go in for a product that comes with excellent support.
Statutory warning: No matter how closely you adhere to these principles, your mum is still going to say that she really didn't need anything. Mums never do. Which is exactly why you should buy things for them.

Gadget gift guide

Apple's gizmo is great for making calls, watching films, browsing the web, and it will even help her find her way around town. Just throw in a portable charger

Lenovo A600 Ideacentre:

One of the slimmest computers with a full HD display. It can also double as a TV to let her watch all her soap operas whenever she wishes, with Dolby Theatre Surround Sound thrown in

Asus Kareem Rashid eeePC:

This netbook is the best combination of design and features that we have seen in a computer, and it can slip easily into her purse. The extra battery will help when she forgets to recharge it!

Motorola LS 1000W:

Moto's 10. 4-inch-screen beauty, with an MP3 player, built-in speakers and Wi-Fi connectivity is one of the best gadgets for your mum to show new-found aunts how you looked in nappies

iPod Shuffle:

The simplest portable music player in the business, it has minimal controls and is solid enough to survive more than a few falls. The sound is great, which is what really matters, and she can clip it on to her saree too.

Kodak Zi8:

Mum can use her camphone to knock off snaps, but they are notoriously deficient when it comes to video. So get her this nifty HD video recorder from Kodak. It is easy to use and delivers stunning results


Is your mum the type who is terrified of technology and yet wants to swap mails with her friends (and relatives)? Hand her this onetrick pony that looks like a small BlackBerry but actually only handles e-mail

Sony DVP-FX 870/B portable DVD player:

Stave off battles for who will watch which movie on the resident TV by giving her this terrific portable DVD player with an eight-inch, twistable screen.

Nintendo Wii:

If there is one gaming system you can give your mum, this is it. Minimum buttonage, lots of gesture controlled stuff. . . Get it?

Infibeam Pi:

This e-book reader might not be as versatile as Amazon's Kindle, but its superior support for Indian languages makes it our choice for book-loving mums

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