My tween daughter has advanced far beyond an iPod Shuffle knock off brand MP3 player and has advanced to wanting, “something that has a screen and if it played movies that’d be cool!”  She is a great gadget girl and has shown that she can care for electronics.  The dilemma comes in when you have to balance being a principled geek and a good father.

Lately, with Apple and Steve Jobs looking more like the Borg than Microsoft ever did, I have been telling folks to steer clear of Apple products unless they want to forever suckle off the Apple teat. Nevertheless, Apple products are extremely easy to pick up and start using right out of the box. They are also glorified status symbols and I know how important that is to kids.  But, kids shouldn’t have to have devices that define them (I don’t and never really did as a kid and I thing I turned out pretty good).  Another downside to the iPod touch is iTunes (Windows), which is software I’ve had banned from my home network for over two years now.  But, if you mention iPod touch in the presence of my offspring, she goes bonkers.

Another option would be the Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP). It is the antithesis of Apple’s iPod touch; a great game system that also plays movies and music (where as the iPod touch is a music and movie player that can play crappy video games).  It’s not outside the realm of consideration especially when you consider the fact we already own a PS3.  It would provide hours of entertainment in all manner of scenarios.  But, the downside of the PSP is the need for Sony’s proprietary Memory Stick which drives the cost of the PSP over that of an iPod touch but it’s a far superior gaming platform and might be worth a few extra bucks.  Another negative point on the PSP is the lack of apps which could really propel the iPod touch into the winner’s column.

I’m certain there are a lot of other great options out there as well (other than Apple’s iPod touch or Sony’s PlayStation Portable).  I would love to hear your experiences and/or reasoning for owning either or gifting either to someone you know.  Also, if you are a geek with kids I’d really enjoy just hearing your opinion on all things tech.