Current Cover (3068 bytes)
Current Cover

Recent issues

HOME | Windows Mobile | Palm OS | Rugged PDAs | Rugged PCs | Pen Computers | Tablet PCs | Case Studies | Industry leaders

« RoKy2 Fabric Keyboard: a plus for portable productivity | Main | New 5-Row BT Keyboard is a Marvel »

December 14, 2006

Stocking Stuffers 2006

Here are a couple dozen ideas for stocking stuffers just in time for Christmas:

It will barely fit, and you will have to take it out of the box, but at the top of my list is a Slingbox that costs about $169 and will allow you to watch your home TV output over the Internet on your desktop/laptop/Tablet PC/Pocket PC/Smartphone. You can even watch programs recorded on your DVR and control it from afar. (

If you are looking for a versatile MP3 player, I recommend the sleek Sansa e200 series with 2-8 MB of onboard memory and a micro SD slot for infinite expansion ranging from $100-$250. ( This little device will play recorded music and audiobooks, show feature films and video, record your voice, and listen to FM radio. It will also play slide shows of your favorite photos in full color. Go here for some fun information:

Cases to protect your mobile toys are a welcome present. The best case place I know of is For instance, Proporta has a great leather case for the Sansa MP3 players.

There are many solutions for enhancing the sound of your mobile device, whether PDA, phone, or MP3 player. If you want to project the sound, I highly recommend the new NXT flat panel technology speaker system from Logitech for about $69 available at most big-box stores.

You will be a safer driver with a wireless Bluetooth headset. Consider the tiny Motorola H500 Bluetooth headset that fits snugly over your ear and allows hands free cell phone conversations for about $39.

The only problem with a headset is that you cannot use it to listen to recorded sounds. How about a nice set of wireless Bluetooth headphones that give you great stereo sound and let you talk on the phone too? There are many brands available. Just make sure they will work with your particular device. My favorite comes from Jabra for about $100 ( Unlike Jabra, the Plantronics head phones come with an adapter that will allow you to connect to any Bluetooth enabled device for about $129 ( When the phone rings, the music stops automatically and continues when you have finished your phone conversation. Just imagine eliminating those pesky, tangling, dangling earplug wires.

A good car kit will make you a safer driver too. A car kit is an external speaker that connects wirelessly via Bluetooth to your cell phone and turns on and off automatically when you send or receive a call. Motorola makes a good one. and take a look at VR3’s new unit that clips on the visor for about $50 available at most superstores and car dealers.

Another way to project your recorded tunes is with an FM MP3 modulator ranging in price from $25-$69 available in big box stores. You plug it into your cigarette lighter and tune it to an unused FM station on our car radio. Plug your MP3 player into it or an expansion card or a USB flash drive, and the sound will play over your car speaker system.

If you are a tune freak, here’s another suggestion: the Pioneer Inno XM portable radio. At 2.25 x 3.6 inches is the smallest on the market. It’s built-in antenna allows you to listen while walking outside. You can use it in your car, home, or office. It comes with external antennas for car and home and a cradle. It will hook up to your car or phone stereo system by hardwire or wirelessly with its onboard FM modulator. In addition, it will record XM music and you can download your own tunes into it. That makes it an XM satellite radio, recorder, and MP3 player. It’s available at electronics outlets and online for around $300. It’s available in gray and pink.

Exterminate your disease-ridden mouse and replace it with the super-ergonomic, healthful, new Wow-mousepen with embedded nano-silver that destroys germs on contact for only $39 (

What about a new digital camera? They fit nicely in a stocking and have come down in price dramatically while going up in megapixel power. You can get an 8-10 megapixel camera now for less than $300. I recommend the Pentax a20 (, but there are a host of others available. Look for one that connects to your computer or printer wirelessly.

If you are serious about increasing your mobility, dumping your laptop, and losing 25 pounds or so, you will want a portable Bluetooth keyboard. The best one in my opinion is from iGo and costs $129. Consider an iGo Bluetooth mouse as well for $70 ( Another possibility is the amazing, new rollup fabric Bluetooth keyboard from JustMobile for $149 available from Expansys and MobilePlanet online.

We can all use more memory, particularly on mobile devices, and for that, there is no better place to get it than from Check out the array of memory devices from USB flash drives to compact flash cards and the smaller cousins from SD to mini and micro SD cards ranging from below 1 GB to as high as 16 MB for $25 to over $1000. Take a look at the convertible USB/SD card while you’re there (

If your computer or laptop does not have a built-in card reader, you will welcome a USB external card reader that will accommodate multiple expansion card types readily available for around $25.

Maybe it’s time for a new cell phone or PDA. There’s no room here for discussing all the possibilities. Why not consider a convergent device that performs the functions of a Pocket PC computer and a cell phone. For this, you will not want to settle for anything less than a Windows Mobile Smartphone. Don’t be fooled by “smartphone” wannabees that cannot even run your Windows programs and have little computing power. A good convergent Pocket PC phone edition is the Treo 700xm. Check any devices made by HTC. For instance, the best Smartphone in my opinion is the sleek i-mate SP5. Larger Smartphones to look at are the Motorola Q and the new Samsung Blackjack, but don’t get a Blackberry whatever you do.

Accessories for mobile devices such as extra styli, screen protectors, screen cleaners, and cases make good stuffers. My favorite place for these peripherals is

I can’t imagine life without GPS and would certainly welcome a GPS setup in my stocking. The one I recommend is Co-Pilot Live that comes with an SD/mini-SD adapter card pre-loaded with maps of U.S. and Canada that will fit into Pocket PCs and Smartphones for $199 including the GPS satellite receiver. Maybe you’d prefer a dedicated portable GPS setup such as the new Teletype WorldNav 3100 that also functions as an MP3 player with built-in speaker, GPS antenna, and a movie player for $459.

If you haven’t starting using VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) for saving money on your phone bill, it’s time to start considering this alternative. Download free software from to get started. While you can use speakers and a microphone, why not get a Skype handset that you can take with you and plug it into any computer anywhere in the world? Check out some of the possibilities at

As long as we’ve broached the subject of car safety, what about a rearview backup camera? I just installed a VR3 unit with a swivel mount on my dashboard with the camera mounted to my rear license plate. The camera and monitor communicate wirelessly. These are available for about $100 from places such as WalMart. I think that this should be mandatory equipment for every vehicle on the road, especially large trucks, SUVs, and trailers; it could save lives.

Virtually all mobile device software is downloaded these days, so it would be difficult to give as a stocking stuffer. However, you can purchase gift certificates from online software stores such as,, and

Happy Holidays and keep connected.

Posted by tim at December 14, 2006 11:16 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?