Too Cool For School

Hardware devices get smarter

By now, we’ve grown accustomed to high-tech devices that deliver on the wow factor. Good-looking gadgets are now de rigueur for both the tech savvy and the fashion conscious. So what’s left to impress us? Well, technology is getting smaller, smarter, and more functional not just for business, but for play. And integration is no longer a catchphrase, but a standard for those in the know. Here are a few devices that point the way to a smarter, better-looking future.

Hall Monitor
For some people, position-location technology (PLT) is just another fancy term for Big Brother. But if you manage a mobile workforce (or need to keep track of your teens and tweens) Qualcomm’s A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System) gpsOne chipset is a must-have in mobile devices. Available on Sprint and Verizon handsets, the technology also allows everything from tracking employees to recording and tracking fitness activities. (www.qualcomm.com)

Having it All
It’s the age-old question: good looks or good health? For mobile professionals who don’t want to sacrifice performance for style, the Fujitsu LifeBook P1610 lets you keep both. The 2.2-pound. convertible notebook features an 8.9-inch WXGA indoor/outdoor touch screen, up to eight hours of battery life, and a bi-directional display hinge that turns the screen in both directions for added convenience. (www.fujitsu.com; starting at $1,599)

Global Nomad
Seagate’s FreeAgent Go lets you act like a team player without losing your individual style. Working from a cybercafe in Istanbul? No problem. The 160GB external hard drive lets you take your entire office with you. Before you go, simply plug in the USB 2.0 data mover to your PC (sorry, Mac lovers) and upload your desktop environment: files, browsers, IM clients, and settings. Strong encryption protects your data from snoops.
(www.seagate.com/freeagent; $149.99)

Roam, If You Want To
If business takes you on the road or beyond the borders, the HP iPAQ hw6925 series makes a great travel companion. The Windows Mobile device is a quad-band world phone with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities and a 1.3-megapixel camera. A built-in GPS receiver and maps means you can say bye-bye to multiple (and expensive) mapping devices. (www.hp.com; $579.99)

Heart of Glass
Nokia’s latest entry in the high-end phone space is the 8600 Luna, a sleek, sophisticated, yet delicate-looking glass-and-steel phone that features a “heartbeat” pulse that indicates calls. Oh, and lest we forget function, it’s also a quad-band world phone with a 2-megapixel camera and a single micro-USB port that lets users streamline charging, audio, and data connectivity into a single connection. It also gives three hours and 40 minutes talk time, 10 days standby. (www.nokia8600luna.com)

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