Digital Swag in the Oscar Gift Bag


Sure they get to wear a gorgeous clothes and jewels, walk the red carpet and maybe walk away with a little gold man. But for the nominees -- and presenters -- another thrill of the Academy Awards is the Oscar gift bag.

In this year's treasure trove, a bunch of gadgets highlight a few trends that have taken hold for the stars and their fans alike.

This year's bag for nominees is valued in the neighborhood of $75,000. For presenters, the bag is a little swankier, topping out at $100,000 dollars worth of swag.

Technology items are not the most prevalent gifts in the bags -- spa gift certificates, five-star hotel stays, custom clothes, jewelry and perfume are traditional fare.

Still, the technology in the baskets tells an interesting marketing story. But maybe next year they should offer computer-geek-on-demand service. With all these gadgets, somebody's going to have to install them.


Of course, most celebrities already own one, but who can have too many iPods? This year, the Oscar iPod is being packaged with an armband holder from Digital Lifestyle Outfitters. It has a neoprene protective case and is made for running or lifting weights with your digital music player. The DLO armband retails for $29 and it may be a sign that the iPod/workout partnership works for all of us, even those that can't afford a personal pilates instructor.

Music Everywhere

Harman Kardon has two products in the swag bag -- the Drive + Play automobile iPod adapter and the JBL On Stage desktop speakers and docking station. The trend of "music everywhere" is a natural fit for movie stars: Who wouldn't want a personalized soundtrack to follow them from their workout, to the car to their home? One note about the Drive + Play system: It has been highly praised by industry analysts for its intuitive controls: They are more like the actual iPod controls than many of the car adapter systems. The $199 price tag on the system is reasonable, but even the stars will have to pay around $300 to get the Drive + Play system properly installed and integrated into their car stereos.

Blackberry 8700c Wireless Handheld Oprah has been seen scrolling through her e-mail via Blackberry, and in Hollywood, that's the biggest endorsement you can get. The good news for us mere mortals is that cellular phone manufacturers and networks have built many of the Blackberry's communication features into lower-priced phones. Especially robust are the new VCast phones from Verizon -- TV, e-mail, music, Internet access, and, oh yeah, phone calls all on one device.

Firefly Mobile: Cell Phone for Kids Even celebrity children with nannies and house servants need to stay connected. The Firefly Mobile is a good-looking cell phone that restricts access on both incoming and outgoing calls. There are no number keys: Buttons are preprogrammed by mom and dad with important numbers. Incoming calls can be similarly restricted. It's a great safety device, but the voice quality is a little lacking, which could make negotiations for the budding child star's next movie a little murky.

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