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Hot tech gadgets for on-the-go operators

You can’t escape. Technology reaches into every corner of your life. Play your cards right and the latest tech can help take your business to the next level. Check out these three hot technology trends: multifunction devices, portability and wireless. We rounded up the latest and greatest hardware to show that gadgets aren’t just for geeks anymore.

You can’t escape. Technology reaches into every corner of your life. Play your cards right and the latest tech can help take your business to the next level. Check out these three hot technology trends: multifunction devices, portability and wireless. We rounded up the latest and greatest hardware to show that gadgets aren’t just for geeks anymore.

LG VX9800
When a full-blown smartphone is more than you need or want, a souped-up cell phone may be right up your alley. The LG VX9800 (www.lgusa.com) is a multimedia phone that will keep you plenty busy with a variety of features. For about $300 you get Bluetooth wireless capability, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for composing emails, an MP3 player, stereo speakers and a 1.3 megapixel camera. Even cooler, it works with Verizon’s high-speed EV-DO V CAST service to hook you up with streaming videos, news, weather and entertainment. Check to see if your city is included in the EV-DO coverage area.

Advanced Wireless Solutions Backup-Pal
Your cell phone is one of your most vital pieces of portable technology. You keep all of your important contacts in it. Now you can easily protect that valuable information with the Advanced Wireless Solutions Backup-Pal (www.backup-pal.com). No PC, software or monthly subscription is required. This tiny gadget is easy-to-use. Just connect it to your phone and push one button. Even if your phone gets lost, damaged or stolen, your phonebook will be safe. Those contacts can also be easily transferred to a new phone. Backup-Pal runs about $40 for phones with serial ports and $50 for phones with USB ports.

HP iPAQ hw6940 Mobile Messenger
Welcome to the wide world of smartphones. This clever contraption from Hewlett-Packard (www.hp.com) manages to fit the Windows Mobile PDA operating system, a cell phone, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth wireless capabilities and a GPS receiver all in a sub-7 ounce device with an integrated keyboard. View your calendar, browse through your contacts, make a call, check email, open an Office document, surf the Web and get directions on the go. It’s like having an entire desk full of technology all shrunk down to fit into your hand. Fans of high-powered tech gadgets will be in heaven. Pricing varies with cellular service plan.

Epson Stylus CX5800F
The $179 Epson CX5800F (www.epson.com) color inkjet multifunction printer can do it all: print documents, fax, copy, scan and print photos. The DURABrite Ultra pigment inks make your photos fade-resistant, smudge-resistant and water-resistant when you print on photo paper. The PC-free copying capability is a great business plus. Many multifunction printers use a roll-through scanner, but this Epson has a built-in flatbed scanner. That’s very convenient for scanning odd-sized or odd-shaped documents. The CX5800F is both Macintosh and Windows compatible, so you don’t have to worry about whether it will work with your computer.

Toshiba PortegeM405-S8003 Tablet PC
For those who still like to take pen to paper, a Tablet PC is a slick alternative to a regular laptop. Under $2,000, the Toshiba Portege M405-S8003 convertible-style Tablet PC (www.toshiba.com) comes loaded with a speedy Intel Dual-Core processor, Wi-Fi, a copious 100 GB hard drive and 12.1-inch display in a very portable 4.5-pound package. Best of all, the Windows Tablet PC Edition operating system lets you write directly on the display with a digital pen. Take notes, compose emails, edit documents or make drawings to your heart’s content. It’s a smart way to handle your computing needs when you can’t be tied down to a desk.

Linksys Boingo Hotspot in a Box
Wireless Internet access is a great service to offer your customers. It can attract extra business from the crowd that likes to pack their laptops or host business lunches. The $140 Linksys WRV54G Wireless-G VPN Broadband Router (www.linksys.com) is a wireless device that will let you turn your Cable, DSL or T1 broadband Internet connection into a booming hotspot in no time. You can install the router and then register with major hotspot company Boingo (www.boingo.com) for marketing assistance, support, customer authentication and billing. Plus, you’ll get the exposure of being part of Boingo’s extensive hotspot network.

Brother HL-5280DW
Everything else you have is going wireless, so why not your printer, too? The Brother HL-5280DW (www.brother.com) is a full-fledged black and white laser printer with 802.11b/g Wi-Fi so you don’t have to hard wire it to every computer. At $350, it’s affordable and stocked with extra features like duplexing for two-sided printing. It comes standard with a 250-sheet paper tray. The HL-5280DW sports a compact footprint to fit in cramped spaces. Satisfy your need for speed with this printer’s 30-pages-per-minute print speed. Best of all, it’s a convenient step toward unwiring your business.

Sling Media Slingbox
You can probably think up some strong business reasons to invest in Sling Media’s $250 Slingbox (www.slingmedia.com). Or you can just revel in its ability to beam television shows from your living room to a PC, laptop or Windows Mobile device while you sit at a wireless hotspot or other Internet connection. No more boring hours at the airport. The Slingbox lets you control your television and sends the signals over the Web. It’s also compatible with TiVo’s DVR.

Apple Video iPod
It’s not just about the music anymore. Apple’s video iPod (www.apple.com) throws video into the mix. Available in a $299 30 GB or $399 60 GB model with a bright 2.5-inch display. The 60GB version can hold up to 15,000 songs, 25,000 photos or 150 hours of video. It doesn't have to be all fun and games. iPod comes ready with software to keep your calendar and contacts handy.

Jabra JX10
There’s no need to get tangled up in wires when you want to use a headset with your cell phone. The $179 Jabra JX10 (www.jabra.com) uses Bluetooth wireless technology to keep your hands free while you’re driving, walking or working. At less than a third of an ounce, it won’t weigh on you and the slim silver design is ultra-hip. The JX10 uses Digital Signal Processing technology to compensate for noisy environments by adjusting the volume. Noise cancellation technology means that your conversations will come through loud and clear. With up to six hours of talk time, you’ll be able to chat a lot between recharges.

Palm TX
The Palm TX (www.palm.com) packs a lot into a compact, affordable PDA. It comes with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to help keep you unwired. The big color screen is easy on the eyes and the whole device weighs just over five ounces. You really can slip the $299 TX into your pocket and go. It comes with all the user-friendly organizational and media software that you’ve come to expect from Palm. If you already have a cell phone and don’t need the full power and weight of a laptop, the Palm TX will tide you over in style.

Canon PowerShot SD430 Digital ELPH
The $450 Canon PowerShot SD430 Digital ELPH (www.canon.com) may look like a fairly typical digital camera. It offers 5 megapixels of image quality and comes with a 3x optical zoom. But what’s really cool about the SD430 is the built-in Wi-Fi wireless capability. You can beam photos to your computer or to a compatible printer equipped with the Wireless Print Adapter that’s included. All without ever having to plug in a cable. Set up the Auto Transfer function to automatically send your snapshots to a computer as you click. All of that capability comes in a sleek silver package with a 2-inch LCD display.

Kingston DataTraveler Elite – Privacy Edition
You can never have too much data storage space. The $300 4 GB Kingston DataTraveler Elite (www.kingston.com) gives you lots of room to squirrel away all sorts of documents and other files in a gadget the size of your thumb. Got multiple computers or multiple locations? No problem, just load up your files and carry them with you. The high-speed USB 2.0 connection means you won’t have to wait around for your information to transfer. This Privacy Edition flash drive encrypts your sensitive data with password protection so you don’t have to sweat it if it gets lost in your travels.

Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000
A mouse may seem like a small thing, but it can make a big difference in your comfort level at the computer. The compact Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000 (www.microsoft.com) lets you say goodbye to tangled mouse cords and hello to wireless freedom. Use it with your desktop computer or with your laptop. Either way, the High Definition technology means smoother mousing on even the most daunting surfaces. Airplane tray tables? No problem. Cluttered desks? Mouse around it. Cramped restaurant table? No worries. At just $25, pick some up for yourself and your employees.  

Samsung Q1
Calling all early adopters and gadget lovers. It’s not a laptop. It’s not a PDA. It’s something in its own category. The $1,099 Samsung Q1 (www.samsung.com) is the first of its kind to hit the market. This sub-2 pound device packs in PDA capabilities, Internet access, music, optional GPS, tablet functions, 40 GB of storage and digital television. Now that’s multifunctionality. The 7-inch screen is big enough to watch a DVD comfortably and the whole Q1 will sit right in your hands. There’s no keyboard, but it runs the Windows XP Tablet PC operating system for full Windows oomph.

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