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Best destinations for gadget geeks
Chances are, the laptop you're reading this article on was not made here in the U.S. It's a well-known fact that most of the world's consumer gadgetry, from mobile phones to laptops to gaming consoles, is created abroad, in places ranging from Japan to Europe and beyond. A visit to one of these tech-centric destinations is a great chance to pick up a one-of-a-kind tech product or grab a great bargain. But gadget travel is also about more than just buying cool stuff - it's also chance to experience the future of technology. Wondering where you can get in touch with your inner geek on your next trip? Check out our ten picks below.
If you have the hankering for inexpensive Asian-made electronics, the island city of Batam in Indonesia is hard to beat. A twenty-minute ferry ride from Singapore, this city offers duty-free shopping for a variety of imported electronics. Be sure to check out Mega Mall Batam Centre located in the Batam Central Business District, as well as Nagoya Hill, the biggest shopping center in Batam. Beware of knock-offs and be willing to bargain to get the best prices here.
Early adopters will drool with envy over Stockholm's city-wide WiMax network. With WiMax's increased connection range and high-speed bandwidth, Stockholm is surely the world's most wired city.
Yongsan Electric Market - Seoul,
With over twenty buildings and a bustling outside flea market full of electronic bargains, Yongsan Electric Market located at Yongsan Station is a haggler's paradise. Shop the nearly 5,000 stores for steep discounts and a wide selection of Korean and imported gadgets.
For the young geek or the geek young at heart, the Science Museum in London offers a dizzying array of gadgets and gizmos, along with a good dose of science. Admission is free, which is good, because the fun gadgets in the gift shop are not.
Glodok - Jakarta, Indonesia
Offering a gigantic variety of electronics, Glodok's 500,000 square meters will require several days to shop. Well known to Indonesians, this area sells dirt-cheap Asian-made electronics and offers some of the cheapest, although not always legal, DVDs and video games. The best way to get to Glodok is by TransJakarta, a bus that stops in front of the district. Watch your bags if you go, as the area is known for pickpockets.
Tribeca Grand Hotel - New York City, USA
If you are a true Apple fanboy, the Tribeca Grand Hotel in NYC has you covered. Reserve an iStudio room and you can use your room's G5 Mac, fully loaded with film, music and photo editing software. Don't forget to bring your iPod for the in-room Sony Dream Machine Speaker Dock. Reserve your iStudio by calling 877 519 6600.
Consumer Electric Show - Las Vegas, USA
Gadgets so hot you can't even buy them yet! This annual Consumer Electronics Show showcases the up and coming gadgets from around the world. While you can't purchase these toys yet, you can certainly find one to start drooling over.
Inamo Restaurant - London, England
Even geeks have to eat, but that doesn't mean that they have to go cold turkey on technology. Inamo, an Oriental fusion restaurant in London's Soho district, offers a high-tech dining experience. Diners can order dinner, drinks and even set the evening's mood lighting by interacting with their dining table. Quite an innovative experience and the food is good too.
Cafe Grumpy - New York City, USA
With over 25 coffees on the menu, Cafe Grumpy will jump start anyone's day, but its not just the coffee that has gadget geeks drooling. Cafe Grumpy's unique $11,000 Clover coffee machines that the gadget aficionado will fall for.
Akihabara - Tokyo, Japan
Also known as Akihabara Electric Town, Akihabara is giant shopping area a few minutes from Tokyo Station. The newest international electronics are available next to discounted used gadgets. Visit Akky International Main Store at 1-12-1 Soto-Kanda for duty-free shopping. Don't forget to shop the smaller stores to find the best bargains.
-- Written by Jared S. Bernstein, Seed contributor.