NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Off to grandmother's house we go ... to try yet again to run our businesses from heaven knows where.If your holidays are like mine, the end of the year is the annual balance of grabbing some quality family time while keeping the lights on at the virtual shop. And this year let's assume you probably already have a killer mobile computer, a great smartphone, good luggage and a solid headset. That is: the pack, knife and M-16 of the mobile business owner. So it's probably time to look into some higher-end gadgets that promise to bring some much needed luxury to your mobile work life. Here are my top five better business gadgets to have on hand this working holiday season:
Why not treat yourself to some style and functionality with an elegant digital stylus and pen from Kensington. Most will use these stylus pens as touch controllers for their iPads, PlayBooks or Galaxy Tabs. But the Stylus' sharp, small tips are perfect for getting work done with smartphones as well. (They're not bad as a real pen either.) I say, buy a bunch, stuff 'em in some stockings and you'll be the hit of the digital holiday season.
Here's a little trade secret: Nothing happens in electronics without electrons. So anything that keeps my electron horde maxed gets my attention. Specifically the Naztech Technologies Dual USB Charger. Basically, this device could not simpler: It's a USB charger that works in the wall and the charger in your car. Though priced a little rich, it's a fabulous idea.
Listen up, Apple ( AAPL) iPad 2 users: You might be able to leave your laptops entirely this year with a new cover and keyboard called the ZaggFolio ( ZAGG). Assuming you are doing just basic work email and documents -- advanced business software is beyond this set-up -- the ZaggFolio-enabled iPad can be awfully productive. You will face finessing the mobile printing piece of using your iPad as a laptop, which takes effort. And remember, this is a Wi-Fi-only device -- if gramps' house is wired-only or Web-free, it's off to Starbucks for you. But still, you will be surprised at how easy it is to get work done with this peripheral.
One thing I hate about traveling is that my hands ache from typing and mousing in cramped quarters. Hillcrest Labs' Scoop remote pointer offers some relief. It's a computer controller that can work without a desktop, which frees the hands and reduces strain. Though far from the smallest portable mouse on the market, the Scoop is svelte enough for travel and allows for basic mouse and remote point-and-click control of my laptop. Be warned, getting one will take effort. The company produces it as an OEM item for other businesses, so you will have deal with Hillcrest to place an order. But they are a good company.
Boy, do I love this idea: an add-on navigational module that interfaces with Google ( GOOG) Android devices to turbo-charge the positional accuracy of your smartphone. Essentially an extension of DeLorme's two-way satellite communication tools, the InReach pairs with a smartphone using a standard Bluetooth connection. Then it lends its powerful navigational smarts to that device. Once paired, your phone suddenly knows where it is even when out of reach of the cellphone network. And poof, that hilariously unreliable copy of Google Maps that gets you lost all the time might actually work for a change. Certainly thie InReach ain't cheap, but if you want your best shot at actually getting to and from grandma's house this year, this is the tool to have. >To submit a news tip, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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