E-readers: The Amazon Kindle Fire beat the Nook Color hands down for looks and flare. To her credit, my 16-year old daughter said she also found the Amazon e-readers more intuitive to navigate compared to the Nooks when I pressed for a better reason than looks. Amazon also seems to have the best selection of free classics - when she's in the mood, and so far barnes and nobles "free Fridays" selections haven't interested her. Maggie did point out that she doesn't have many friends with their own e-reader, but I suspect that in a couple of years that won't be the case. Once the ereaders have the teens, especially the girls, truly on board - watch out, because I believe they will drive the market for better or for worse.
Music players: This was my first surprise, an iPod wasn't at the top of the list - for at least one of our teens. We are an equal opportunity family, with equal amounts iDevices and other devices. While my 17-year old son's iPod Touch is never far from his fingers for its games and apps, Maggie's Zune is rarely not playing music into her ears. I always wondered if she secretly wished she had asked for an iPod like her brother Edward and all their friends seem to have, but she said she loved our monthly subscription to the Zune service. It means she's never waiting for iTunes cards - like her brother and friends seem to be doing pretty often. She's also convinced the Zune is a much cuter product than any iPod has ever been, and the display rocks.
Laptops: two qualities, and two only, are important here - looks and battery life. Don't groan, I think I can explain. While their father and I fully understand how important the actual components are, teens aren't quite there yet, at least mine aren't. And if I'm honest, I'm not even sure they know what a piece of junk is because their father simply wouldn't tolerate one in the house. They are both fond of the Dell Inspiron 14R (Second Generation) because the exterior can be customized, it's slim lines, and the impressive battery life at an estimated 5 hours with the 9 cell battery.
Tablets: another surprise along the lines of the mp3 players. Besides the fact that they are again divided between iPad and anything else, they both are suspicious that tablets are generally more valuable and useful to adults. What?! Wait, let's not stray from the topic. A little more conversation and it came out that while Edward loves the apps on the iPad and its instant coolness factor, Maggie appreciates that she can easily customize the Asus EeePad Transformer. And to her the widgets look cooler on their own than the whole iPad put together.
While I can't say I'm surprised that true functionality means so little to them (especially the spoiled girl ome), I did appreciate their honesty. They can't help being exposed to geek speak and taking the gadgets lying around the house for granted. Heck, I hope my next laptop is everything I want it to be - and cute.
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