Yeah, it’s that time again. The gift buying season is upon us and if you’re a parent like I am, trying to keep track of all the “right” gifts is getting harder and harder. Rogers and Today’s Parent Magazine are trying to make the whole gift buying process a little easier with an iOS gift finder mobile app.
The app is free, with a catch… if you don’t use Rogers or Fido as your cell provider, you can’t use the app unless you’re on WiFi. Rogers and Fido folks get the benefit of 3G access as well. If you can’t get to WiFi, you can also get to the same info by hitting TodaysParent.com on your mobile browser. Beyond the not over 3G (for non Rogers/Fido customers) annoyance (maybe more toy stores will get WiFi), the app is pretty neat. From the Rogers press release, most of the gifts that are recommended come for the Today’s Parent Top Toys list (a staple here in Canada for finding out what the “must have” and good toys are every year), so the selection isn’t huge, but it’s pretty complete.
Here’s how it works:
You tap search, slide for the price range of the gift you want to buy, tap the age range, then tap the genres. As you specify criteria you can see how many recommended toys have been found. One thing that is a plus and a minus, is that it’s easy to select several criteria by accident and wind up with no recommendations.
I played around with the app for a bit and found some good recommendations, though I wish they had gender selectors as well as age, price, and genre. If you want to browse more freely you can always tap “All gifts” and get a list of everything. The wish lists feature is pretty neat as well. You put in the child’s name, age, and toy categories and the app will put together a few recommendations for you. Nope, not perfect, but if you’re stuck for a gift for a child you don’t know well, it could be just the thing to get you out of the store quickly.
As a special bonus, Toys R Us is giving app users $5 off an order of $25 or more either in store or online.
Bottom line: it’s a free app that does something very simple, very nicely. No, the selection of toys isn’t never ending, but I also didn’t get pages and pages of Barbies and other standards. I got some good suggestions that I think either of my kids would like. And since I’m also an Uncle now, I have a baby to buy gifts for … I know this app is going to get some serious use from me this season.
You can download the app from the Apple App store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad (it runs in “small” mode, not full screen). I don’t know if you can get the app outside of Canada, but I hope you can because it is a pretty nifty app.