What do geeks want for Christmas?

Summary:PCs, laptops and handhelds top Christmas lists for geeks this year, according to a survey. But your job might sway what you buy.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a PC in a pear tree.

Those may not be the original lyrics to "The Twelve Days of Christmas," but technology industry professionals plan to give and receive laptop, desktop and handheld computers as holiday gifts, according to new research.

In a weekly poll of tech industry professionals by the TechRepublic Community Research Group--a division of CNET Networks, publisher of News.com--researchers also determined that workers in specific job categories have certain preferences when it comes to buying and receiving presents.

If a network administrator is buying your gift, chances are you'll be receiving a new desktop computer: One out of five network administrators plans to give a PC to someone on their holiday gift list, the study found. Three out of 20 plan to give digital cameras. Others plan to give handheld computers or DVD players.

Tech industry consultants said their to-buy lists were similar to network administrators'. About 22 percent of consultants put laptop computers on their lists, and 24 percent list Palms or other handheld computers.

Senior technology executives were the only ones who said they planned to give MP3 players. About 15 percent said they would buy the digital music devices for colleagues, friends and family members.

Most tech workers said they planned to buy PCs or laptops, handheld computers, DVD players, and digital cameras. But by far the biggest response to the survey, which will be updated every week through Dec. 20, was a shrug: Nearly one in three respondents in every category said they were "unsure" about what to give for the holidays.

Utility and some toys
TechRepublic marketers asked 232 tech professionals for input about what they plan to give and receive for the holidays. The margin for error was plus or minus 8 percent.

Tech-support workers, developers and senior executives all said they plan to give rewritable CD drives, the next generation of universal removable storage.

Developers were the only group to put the newly released Windows XP on their to-buy lists. Although cynics might suspect that developers had selfish motives for giving out new computer operating systems, it is important to note that the bighearted programmers did not list XP when asked what gifts they would like to receive.

Not surprisingly, the holiday wish lists of tech professionals neatly mirror their to-buy lists, with a few exceptions.

According to the survey, tech-support specialists want digital cameras, laptops and handheld computers. Network administrators want the same things, as well as cutting-edge rewritable DVDs. A few days ago, Hewlett-Packard announced a home PC, the HP Pavilion 9995, which will come with HP's dvd100i drive for rewritable DVDs using the DVD+RW format--a $1,999 stocking stuffer that will go on sale Nov. 18.

Network administrators were not the only ones with upscale taste. Developers may not look gift horses in the mouth, but they specifically requested quality loot: Nearly one in three said they wanted "high end" PCs, while others asked for rewritable CD drives and digital cameras.

Executives also asked for rewritable DVDs. But they were equally interested in toys. One in three asked for digital cameras, while 15 percent said they wanted an Xbox.

Interestingly, executives were the only category of professionals who requested the much-hyped gaming console from software giant Microsoft. The Xbox is expected to debut Thursday.

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Hewlett-Packard, IT Employment, Networking, PCs

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