Tools for Mobile Professionals
When you’re on the road, you need all the advantage you can get. You know what it is like. The smaller, lighter and more powerful the device you have, the more you are able to get done what needs to be done.
This week we’ll look at that tools that can be helpful for you as you bounce around getting business and getting business done.
PocketSurfer From Datawind
Checking e-mail has become a necessity for today’s mobile professional. You want to know what is going on and you want to get it now. Datawind has a device called the PocketSurfer that allows you to use your regular cell phone for making connections to the Net and to check email.
The beauty of the PocketSurfer is that it uses your regular cell phone. You will use minutes from that but if you have no other connection option it can be quite helpful. The unit is about ½” thick and displays full VGA (640 pixels) across. The keyboard is small, as it has to be so it fits into a coat pocket or purse. Not quite as functional as a full-size computer keyboard, it is bigger than the Treo 650 or 700 or the Blackberry units.
The unit claims to draw web pages at 5-7 seconds and my experience was that this was usually true but some more complex sites required 10 seconds --- still not bad. The challenge was getting used to the interface for me. I was finally able to get connection to my web host for website review. However, it seemed cumbersome and took some skill initially.
The price on the unit will start around $199 plus you’ll pay $9.99 each month for service. You also have the option of $299 for unlimited lifetime Datawind service which is obviously the better choice. You’ll still incur charges on your cell phone at normal cell phone usage rates.
This is a good solution if you are wedded to your cell phone and need to keep it. However, for many business travelers today the Blackberry units and the Palm Treo units can offer similar, if not better functionality.
http://www.datawind.com/, Prices start at US$199 plus $9.99/month for serviceiGo everywhere130 Power Adapter
Devices have plugs and need electrical adapters. That can be a problem for someone carrying a lot of electronic devices like computers, phone chargers, MP3 players and more. The theory behind the iGo everywhere130 is that you can carry one adapter with multiple tips that work with all your devices.
That is the theory but in practice it seems a bit cumbersome. I tried powering my laptop and for whatever reason it only worked for about 30 seconds and then stopped. Another disadvantage is that you can only power one laptop and another smaller device. If you have more than a few devices like MP3 player, camcorder, cell phone and others with your laptop, you will have to charge them separately. It might be more practical to carry a lightweight multiple outlet power strip with your regular adapters.
This can be helpful if you need to charge only two devices and might save some weight if you have very heavy adapters. For future releases, I’d like to see more than one other option in addition to the laptop for power. It’s a good theory and just needs to be tweaked and taken to the next level for practical use while on the road.
www.igo.com, $149.99 for unit evaluated, additional cost may apply for additional tips
Du@lphone For Skype And Regular Calls
Skype is a service provided free for Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP). It allows you to make free calls to other Skype users world-wide and call regular phone lines for reduced cost worldwide. In the past if you wanted to use Skype and then switch over to regular calls you had to change phones. With the Du@lphone that has changed.
The Du@lphone is a portable handset that connects to a USB port on your computer. When I tried it in my office, I was amazed at the quality of the call and the simplicity of hooking it up. We were able to switch from regular phone calls (usuing a connection to our landline phone) and with the push of one button we switched over to Skype.
This provided much-needed mobility (up to 1,000 feet is claimed and I had success in the few hundred feet I tried). A headset was not provided in my unit but the unit worked fine when I plugged in a regular telephone headset.
The price is $139.99, which seems a bit high for a cordless phone. However, for the convenience of using both Skype and regular landline calls, it can be a boost to productivity. .
I was not able to get it to work with the Skype add-on called Pamela. I do a lot of recording over Skype and the Du@lphone wouldn’t let me record. Also, if you’re using the video capability of Skype 2.0, you’ll have to, obviously, be near the camera in order to fully utilize video.
In sum, this is a very nice addition for the office that is using Skype. Get a headset and prepare to save a lot of money as you use Skype.
Du@lphone, http://www.dualphone-us.com/, $139.99
Terry Brock is a marketing coach who helps business owners market more effectively leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their busy days using the right rules and tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.terrybrock.com.
Copyright © 2006, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission. Permission granted to Business Journals to use in regular publications.