From the January 2012 Issue.
In our annual December Gift Guide, I wrote about a couple of dozen cool-to-quirky gadgets for business and personal use. There are always many more that I don’t get the chance to cover, whether because of space or time or other factors, so I’ve decided to share a few more of them here in the January issue.
Since this issue actually comes out in mid-December, about a week before the holidays, these tech toys could make a great last-minute addition to somebody’s stocking, maybe even your own. Or they just might be good any time of the year. You don’t need an excuse to buy a new gadget.
Enjoy the holidays with family and friends, and toast to a prosperous New Year!
One for the Road
I know a lot of professionals who are frequently mobile, whether it’s accountants who prefer to sit in a coffee shop all day, those who are audit experts and are more likely to be at a client’s office than their own, or those who work from everywhere with a laptop. Every one of them keeps wishing for a better mobile monitor, and this might be the answer. The Toshiba USB Mobile LCD Monitor looks similar to an iPad or other tablet device, and is about the same size. However, it’s designed to be used as an additional monitor, with a simple USB connection that supplies the power and the data connection. It sports a 14-inch screen with 1366x768 HD resolution, and comes with the case that’s shown in the picture, which can double as a stand. ($199; http://us.toshiba.com/computers/accessories/mobile-monitor)
Get Chatty on a Global Scale
For those who have clients, friends and loved ones in faraway places, there’s no need to worry about high calling rates or other charges. With the free ChatTime app, iPhone users can call anywhere on earth, including land and any mobile phone, at rates way less than regular phone charges, and even a lot less than Skype. Unlike web-based apps, ChatTime doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection, because calls aren’t sent over the internet. Whether calling China, India or from New York to California, pay-as-you-go rates are a fraction of other options, and unlimited plans are available for calls to the United States and Canada ($4.99/mo.), to anywhere in Asia/Pacific ($9.99), to Europe ($9.99/mo.), or the Unlimited World package ($14.99/mo.). (Free app, no subscription required; www.ChatTimeApp.com)
For those who like multi-purpose tools, this new gadget might just be the modern office’s version of the Swiss Army Knife. The Stylus+Pen+Laser Pointer from Griffin Technology packs in all of the things its name implies. A soft rubber-tipped stylus is perfect for use with touch screens. Then, unscrew the cap and you’ve got a laser pointer for your white screen presentation. Even in the amazing event that you need to actually write something on paper, the gadget has you covered with a ballpoint pen. Act now and get a free pocket clip! Just kidding, the built-in clip is always free. ($49; www.griffintechnology.com)
More Mobile Mojo
Whether or not you’ve started claiming “senior moments,” everybody can use a little more memory, or at least more mobile data storage. The new Mobile Ultra MicroSDHC Card and Ultra USB Flash Drive from SanDisk have you covered. The 8GB Micro is designed for your smartphone or tablet to give more storage for apps, photos, videos and music. The 8GB Ultra is designed for use with computers, providing built-in password protection and encryption of files, plus automated online backup and superfast transfer speeds. (Mobile Ultra MicroSDHC Card $45; Ultra USB Flash Drive $48; www.SanDisk.com)
Cold Outside? No Problem
The winter months can get in the way of using your smartphone and tablets, since gloves and touch screens don’t get along. One alternative is taking off your gloves, but there’s no need to with Thumb Dogs. Not just a fashion accessory, the Dogs slip over the fingers on any glove and have a surface made for optimal contact with device screens. Perfect for cold-weather professionals, winter sports enthusiasts or other outdoorsy types who want to keep their fingers and thumbs flying for texts and apps. ($12.99; www.ThumbDogs.com)