Once again it is that time of year when people looking for gadget gifts are pressed to find the right one at the neighbourhood electronics shop or the local computer centre. Buyers will be heartened to know that many of the hottest technology gifts for consumers this holiday season are, in fact, suitable for the whole family. Shopping will probably start and end with a look at the over-abundant supply of fixed-line and wireless communications products available in Hong Kong. That should come as no surprise because the territory has Asia's highest mobile phone penetration rate and the region's second-highest broadband internet penetration rate after South Korea. The city is also one of the least expensive markets for telecommunications services. A novel Christmas or New Year gift suggestion that requires no wrapping paper is the Vfone service package from CK Communications, a subsidiary of Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Global Communications (HGC). Launched last month, Vfone is a broadband internet-based, fixed-line telephone system that enables users to enjoy unlimited local and international voice, data and video communications for a fixed monthly fee. In future, the system will be interconnected with third-generation cellular communications services. The Vfone terminal, priced at $2,880, works like a regular fixed-line phone system but dispenses with the hassle of keying in a long and clumsy chain of internet protocol address numbers, which is the problem with traditional internet protocol-based video phones. The system operates on the HGC Broadband and HGC-PowerCom Broadband networks, and most broadband networks in the city. Users can make Vfone calls without compromising other broadband activities. Vfone is available at selected Orange shops in Central, Yau Ma Tei and Kwun Tong. The choices of monthly packages are $48 and $68, and allow for unlimited voice calls to any fixed-line or mobile user in Hong Kong. Gerald Ma Lai-che, director at CK Communications, said Vfone's appeal was that 'users can stay in contact with their overseas families or business partners efficiently at a fixed monthly tariff'. Meanwhile, wireless local area networks have caught on fast in Hong Kong and so the internet access devices that make this possible are must-have presents. The leading brand in the market is called Linksys, a unit belonging to networking equipment giant Cisco Systems. The Linksys 802.11b-standard access gateway sells for $712, while the 802.11g-standard router costs $1,114. There is news for computer game enthusiasts. The company has recently made available its Wireless-B and Wireless-G Game Adapters, which cost $679 and $1,115 respectively. The adapters allow gamers to wirelessly connect their PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube consoles together for head-to-head gaming, and to the internet for live online multi-player gaming. Those who want the latest in home entertainment may be interested in the new Linksys Wireless-B Media Adapter, selling for $1,700. The media adapter connects a television set and stereo into a wireless network, allowing users to enjoy the MP3 files and pictures stored on their through their TV and stereo system. The media adapter connects to the entertainment centre using standard A/V or S-Video cables. Users can play songs individually, by directory, or create so-called M3U or ASX playlist files. Users can also set up their own playlists by album, song title, genre and much more. Digital camera users will appreciate the fact that pictures can be displayed individually or in a slide show format. 'We are offering great deals on the latest products for everyone on your gift list,' said Mike Wagner, Linksys director of marketing. 'Last year, millions of wireless routers were opened during Christmas, and this year we recommend ideal solutions that work with those wireless networks to extend the uses into many areas of the home where it's most convenient and more fun.' Some of the hottest gifts this season can be delivered directly to a computer in a matter of seconds. Downloadable games make the perfect last-minute gift solution. Most online game retailers can ship you a game or let you download one to your own computer, but the www.trygames.com site offers almost 300 downloadable PC games that can be bought as gifts. It is as simple as any other online purchase - the only extra information you need is the gift recipient's e-mail address. Your friend gets an official e-mail to say a gift has been purchased in his or her name. The recipient simply downloads the game on to a computer and can start playing right away. The site offers classics such as Monopoly, Scrabble and Civilization III and the latest Dungeons & Dragons epic. Many titles are under US$20. Games downloaded from www.trygames.com come from the official developer or publisher, are completely legal to download, and can even be shared with friends (when shared, game files revert to a free trial mode). At Trygames, a gift certificate can be purchased to allow the recipients to try each game free before deciding on the ones they want to keep.