Hot gift tips for tech enthusiasts.

The clock is ticking on holiday shopping, but it’s not too late to buy this year’s top gadget. Host michel Martin got the dish from AOL’s LaToya Drake. Some of the items on her list include an interactive dance toy robot for children and a device for adults to measure the amount of deep sleep people get each night.

MICHEL MARTIN, host:

Now, we want to move from choosing a mentor to choosing the best technology gift of the holiday. Now, you may want to play games, but the holidays are almost in the corner. Christmas is less than two weeks away and hanukkah is within six days.

That could be one reason, according to research firm comScore, which is expected to be the busiest online shopping week of the year. So what is it that sails from the shelves and might fly under radar? And here we have some Suggestions for LaToya Drake. She is a digital reporter for aol. She is also a part-time teacher at New York university.

Welcome back. Thank you for joining us again.

LATOYA DRAKE: hi. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Martin: well, let’s start with the children’s gifts. The first thing you want to tell us is a toy robot called Fijit Friends. I’ll just play one of those commercials. This is.

(SOUNDBITE)

(MUSIC, ROBOTIC VOICE).

Unknown identity announcement: introduce Fijit Friends, a girl’s interactive best friend. Fijit Friends says more than 150 different phrases.

Unidentified child actor: hey, vera.

FIJIT FRIEND: you look great.

Unidentified child actor: unidentified child actor: thank you, vera.

Unidentified spokesman: and responded to more than 30 keywords.

Unidentified child actor: what’s wrong?

FIJIT FRIEND: what are you doing?

Unknown child actor: unknown child actor: hang up.

Martin: let me just say that if I had to listen to that sound one day, I’d hate it. But that could be me. Tell us it’s cool.

DRAKE: now Fijit is made by Mattel. It’s around $50, and for a long time, we’ve been trying to find that season’s toys. Think back to elmo. But Fijit is running for the champion. Basically, this is because many parents are saying that toys now make children too passive.

This is an interactive toy. It says about 120 conversational phrases. So it’s about getting kids off the couch, not playing with anything — nintendo DS, for example, just playing with toys.

This is an interactive toy, and in the store, parents are curious about it and want to know more about it and give it to their children.

Martin: maybe now I’m too quick. Oh, liar, but I’m close.

DRAKE: but, you know…

Martin: I’m sorry. What happened to a real friend? I’m terribly sorry. Sorry, LaToya. I’m sorry. I just said that. Good.

But I know you said your parents thought it might be a education, but some people really think that a toy should really have a education meaning. So for those of you who have this feeling, what do you have for us?

DRAKE: Leapfrog in reading system does walk in the forefront, the reading system bring toys reading experience, so there’s something called a Leapfrog tag, which can help the children learn how to read and write. It works as a pen. If a child is reading a frog jump book, they will click a word with a pen. They will learn more about the word. It also allows children to track a word and track letters so that they are learning how to write.

You have to know about the transgression – just having a pen is not enough. You also have to go out and buy books with the Vietnam war.

Martin: and the cost is…

DRAKE: it’s $24 to $40 depending on where you buy it.

Martin: what about every book?

DRAKE: every book has a different price. It depends, of course, on the book. You can get them down to $10, $15. Some of them are exclusive to Disney. So these are the books your children are familiar with. They have something to do with toy story, so there are a lot of familiar things, not because they don’t understand the material and make your kids less excited.

Martin: ok. Now let’s look at young people and college students. When I see adults, it is always surprising to me how much money young adults and students have for smartphones.

DRAKE: that’s right.

Martin:…… Walk around with their old flip phones. But it is true, so young people are the first to be able to take advantage of the new technology when they can afford it. So, if a young person already has a smartphone, can you buy something else to enhance it?

DRAKE: that’s right. This has nothing to do with smartphones. Again, this is about what you can do with it. This is about apps on your phone. If you go back to games like Simon, where you have memory recognition, these games are now on your smart device. There is an application called memory block. It’s free on your iPhone. I think the iPad app costs about $1.99, and it’s just memory recognition. If you want to reduce your memory a bit, you want to get rid of the text of these devices or make a phone call.

And then there’s another thing I like. It’s called peppermint. If you are teaching young adults about money management, if they have a bank account, the application will help them become the most important person. This is a web site, but if you have a smart phone, and you want to download the application, then you will know exactly what your money in what respect, ‘take on the game, what do you spend on entertainment.

So, when we enter the New Year, many people will manage their own money better, which of course can be passed on to the younger generation. You can teach them early.

Martin: ok. So I have to ask you, how do you give people free applications? How do you give an application a period of time? What did you end up with?

Shoppers DRAKE: this is for the last minute, you don’t have enough time to enter the shop and get the actual gift, but you can go to the app store, and then you can quickly send the application email or print them in a card.

(laughter.)

Martin: ok. We’re talking about hot gadgets for your gift needs, or if you have a difficult year, it might be a treat. Our guest is LaToya Drake. She is a digital reporter for aol.

All right. Now let’s focus on adults. You’re really excited about the apps you use while you sleep. I’m a little afraid to ask this question, but what is the Zeo sleep device?

DRAKE: when you want to track your sleep, the Zeo sleep manager is something you use. There are many insomniacs in the world. People don’t get enough sleep. If you want, this will give you a report in the morning, a diagnosis, how much sleep you get, how much sleep you get, how much REM sleep you get.

Now, there are some apps that can do this, but we’re talking about a retail price of about $99, which actually has a headband. Some people may sleep for use with the skeptical, but it’s just to make it more accurate, then with the iPhone or smartphone, Android mobile phone synchronization, and it will track all night sleep, so that when you in the morning you know exactly what happened, you can see how much time you spent in deep sleep, and indeed towards…

Martin: well, I can ask you – why do I need this?

DRAKE: why are you doing this? Because of you…

Martin: yes. I know if you’re tired.

DRAKE: I have firsthand experience with this. My sister actually used this and e-mailed me in the morning to diagnose her sleep. When you say, I don’t get enough sleep, it gets exciting. I don’t have a good rest. If you’re concerned about sleep, it might be something you want to give you as a gift, or something you own, because it’s not enough to wake up and groan. It does bring technology that makes your sleep more exciting and fun.

Martin: so your sister will E-mail you about her diagnosis, so do you know why she called to curse you? Isn’t it? I’m tired, LaToya. It’s not me. It’s because I’m tired. Look at my diagnosis.

DRAKE: when I called her in the middle of the night to ask any random questions about me, she emailed me and said, you’re the reason I didn’t get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t call me at 12:15, I can have a rest.

Martin: oh, ok. Good. One more question. Some of us are still technophobes, they just say, I don’t need all of this.

DRAKE: you know…

Martin: what advice do you have for people who don’t feel it at all?

DRAKE: everyone says I don’t want it until they get the gadget and they start using it to see how exciting it is. Roku is one of them and one of my fans. Many people have heard that they can watch TV programs on their laptops. Most people don’t want to do this because you love the experience of the living room. You go out to play, you buy TV on holiday, big TV, so you can watch TV on TV.

This is a device that allows you to do this. This is a over-the-top TV device. Its retail price is about $49, and of course, the price goes up. But you can watch all the stuff you watch on your laptop, whether it’s Hulu or Netflix. You can plug this device into TV and watch it on TV. Very simple, plug and play. If you can insert a cable box, you can insert a Roku.

Martin: Roku?

DRAKE: Roku, Roku.

Martin: ok. There’s no nanny app, is there? it doesn’t matter Just…

DRAKE: no, no, no. Technology can’t be your nanny.

(laughter.)

Martin: that’s ok. Look, I knew you’d say that. LaToya Drake is a digital reporter for aol. She is also a part-time teacher in marketing, advertising and public relations at New York university. She is very friendly and can join us from our NPR.

LaToya, thank you very much for talking with us.

DRAKE: of course. Thank you, michelle.

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