Plug and Play

Tech gifts for people on the go

The words “step into my office” have taken on a whole new meaning. As responsibilities grow and accessibility becomes more necessary, mobile technology has gotten smaller and more dependable. Wireless technology has made such an impact on business that those involved in a deal or strategic meeting do not physically have to occupy the same room. Now, business can be conducted anywhere—on the road to a client’s warehouse, at an airport, or over dinner at a restaurant. So, this holiday season, when shopping for your partners and employees, give the gift of connectivity—a gift that keeps on giving no matter where you are on the planet.

Do you have an environmentalist on your gift list? Get them an ultra-light (less than 3 lbs), ultra-wide Sony VAIO W series notebook with an LED backlit display and seven hours of battery power. In addition to the 250 GB and the Serial ATA hard drive, the W series is Energy Star 5.0 certified and partially comprised of reprocessed plastic from DVD and CD waste. It comes with an online manual in place of the 76-page printed manual, and instead of a cardboard box it is packaged in a reusable carrying case with an exterior made from 100% recycled bottles. (www.sonystyle.com; $399.99)

The portable Cradlepoint PHS300 Personal Wi-Fi Hotspot is perfect for that special someone who already has an iPad, a smartphone, and more Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices than they can keep connected. With the help of a wireless, broadband data card the PHS300 will keep them and up to 16 of their gadgets or friends (located within 150 feet) wireless and online. Also, because it is battery operated they can use it while on the road, at the coffee shop, or even in the park.  (www.cradlepoint.com; $179.99)

Know someone who is losing their memory? Purchase them one of Iomega’s new Blackbelt eGo Portable hard drives with up to 1 terabyte of space and upgraded to USB 3.0 for super sonic transfer speeds. At 4.8 Gbps, it is 10 times faster than USB 2.0, yet priced the same as, and still compatible with USB 2.0. Available for Macs and PCs, they are not only fast, but also rugged and built for travel. The eGo’s Drop Guard Xtreme protects the drive when dropped from up to 7 feet. Available in white, black, blue, and red, eGo drives even come with 2 GB of free space on MozyHome.com to back up data from the drive to the Internet. (http://go.iomega.com/en-us/; $219 for Mac edition and $189 for PC edition)

Whether they want to admit it or not, iPhone users might need a little extra help with their connection. If your companion’s calls are constantly dropped, get them a subscription—monthly or annual—to Line2 by Toktumi, a mobile application that adds a second VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone line on their mobile phone. It even turns a Wi-Fi enabled iPod Touch or an iPad into a working cellular phone without the long-term provider contract through AT&T, and with true SMS texting. With the service you get professional grade calling features such as call waiting, auto attendant, voicemail by e-mail, and 20 person conferencing that’s not available on Skype; not to mention you can make free calls to the states when abroad and international calls starting at $0.02 per minute for calls to China, Italy, and the UK. (www.line2.com; $14.95/month)

Intrigued by tablet PCs but not a fan of the Apple machine or AT&T? The Samsung Galaxy Tablet with an Android Froyo operating system will be debuting before the end of the year as a part of the Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and T-Mobile line of products. The sleek, lightweight design features a rear-facing camera for HD video capture and playback and a front-facing camera for video chat. Underneath the 7-inch touch-screen display is a one-gigahertz Samsung Hummingbird Application Processor that supports Adobe flash and uses 16GB of onboard memory and 32GB of additional external memory on a MicroSD card. Samsung will be unveiling a media hub for the device where users can download films, music, and television shows for rent or purchase.(www.galaxytab.samsungmobile.com; Price TBA)

With the Optoma PK301 DLP Projector, anytime is the right time to show off your vacation pictures or give an impromptu business presentation to a small group of people. Ideal for the on-the-go business traveler, the palm-sized PK301 provides projection power anywhere. With a MicroSD card slot that expands memory up to 16GB, plus HDMI, and VGA connectivity, this rechargeable pocket projector allows for easy connection to most analog or digital devices and utilizes a LED light source to produce widescreen images of up to 120 feet diagonally. (www.dlp.com; $387 to $411)

For the employee or loved one to whom you want or need to have instant access, try the Motorola i1 available through Boost Mobile. The i1 is the first walkie-talkie enabled touch-screen phone in the country. You can also send instant messages, and its Android platform supports Google Talk for video chat. It offers a 5 megapixel camera, 3.1-inch display and the new Opera Mini 5 Web Browser. Since the phone is prepaid, neither you or your gift recipient are locked into a costly long-term contract. Plus the monthly unlimited plan includes voice, text, Web, e-mail, and IM for $50 per month, lower than most similar post paid plans.  (www.motorola.com; $399.99)

It doesn’t matter if she’s at a formal gala; deals still need to be negotiated. With Novero’s Victoria Collection, new Bluetooth earpieces that double as jewelry, the fashionista on a mission can still take that important call between the antipasto and the main course without wearing an earpiece that makes her look like a cyborg. Worn as a necklace that detaches to become an earpiece with a speaker disguised as the central set of gems, the collection includes four elegantly crafted designs, using rare jewels and precious metals. Novero also has a Victor collection for men. (www.novero.com; $379 to $120,000)

It’s unlikely that you’ll find an outlet to plug in your credit/debit card reader when hocking your wares at the local farmers market or outdoor concert. Now, with the Mophie Marketplace clip-on card reader, supported by Intuit, you can process credit card payments via the Apple iPhone. It’s fully equipped with a merchant account through the free Intuit app GoPayment, which can sync account information with QuickBooks. Also with an NSA-level DUKPT (derive unique key per transaction) encryption technology, credit card information is never stored on the phone and customers can provide their digital signatures on the iPhone touch screen and later receive receipts by e-mail or SMS. While the GoPayment service is $12.95 a month there is no activation fee and no contract, so you can turn it on one month and off the next. (www.mophie.intuit.com; $179.95)

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