The 10 Best Linux-Based Gifts Under $500 (Slideshow)


Although projects like Tizen, Sailfish, and Firefox OS have big plans for 2013, this holiday season you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Linux smartphone or tablet aside from those running the Linux-based Android. In the meantime, however, there are plenty of other Linux-based products fit to be gift-wrapped.

Sensia-Linux-radioThis slideshow of Linux-based gift ideas beyond Android reveals that Linux can be found in a wide variety of consumer electronics devices, for under $500. Embedded Linux dominates the still thriving grayscale e-reader and network-attached storage (NAS) markets, and it’s a major player in streaming media players and other segments. Linux can be found in devices ranging from smart energy monitors to Internet radios to mini PCs, as well as other categories not listed here, including surveillance cameras, WiFi routers and hotspots, laptops and even robots.

Despite the recent focus on Android tablets from Amazon and Barnes & Noble, their Linux-based, grayscale e-readers remain hot sellers, offering advantages like greater readability, longer battery life, lower prices, and for many, fewer distractions. With price cuts by the two retail kings, there are fewer vendor choices than in years past, with most of the competitors having gone out of business or switched to Android tablets. The major vendors offer more model and pricing choices, however, as well as new features like touchscreens and backlighting.

If you’re in the market for a NAS device, you’ll likely end up with a Linux box. On the low end, NAS merges with a newer category of diskless, file-sharing media servers, most of which, like the TonidoPlug listed here, run on Marvell’s Linux-based SheevaPlug design. These in turn are cousins to streaming media player set-tops. Here, tuxified devices from Roku, D-Link, Netgear, and others are holding their own against a new wave of Android-based streamers.

Most consumers won’t know or care if these devices run Linux. Yet, Linux often quietly makes itself known in lower prices, smarter features, quicker updates and greater customization.

Click on the link below to find some great Linux deals for the holiday. Listed prices were the lowest found at presstime.



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