Whether your significant other is an intern at a magazine or your sibling is a CEO at an International corporation, the gadgets presented here will make your loved ones more productive at performing their jobs. Some of these items can used in unexpected ways –such as an e-book reader with access to thousands of electronic books or a customizable keyboard that offers truly ergonomic hours of data entry. And while that special someone in your life is enjoying their gift, make sure they don’t work over the holiday break and interrupt your rest and relaxation.
The reader, which uses very little power, features e Ink that produces paper-like images that are easy on the eyes. This e-book reader also displays PDFs, Word docs, image files, and even plays MP3s. There’s enough memory to store hundreds of books and a slot to use removable memory cards, so that you can store more. The readers also searches and browses thousands of titles that can be downloaded to your PC and stored on your reader. You’ll have access to an encyclopedia of knowledge to help you do your job. You never know when those software manuals or quarterly reports from three years ago may come in handy. ($350).
This portable unit scans receipts and automatically creates expense reports through its custom software by filling in items, costs, and store information. This process makes filing monthly expenses a lot easier, and faster. The Scanalizer also scans business cards, automatically updating contact info. Now collecting hundreds of cards at conferences will be a lot more bearable. ($230).
PremiereAnywhere helps you send email attachments from your BlackBerry or smartphone to a fax machine for printing. This software is perfect for road warriors who need hardcopies of reports for meetings at satellite offices. ($4.95 per month).
Revolution MX mouse
From Logitech, this optical mouse features arrow buttons near your thumb to move backward or forward in your browser, a thumb wheel to toggle between programs, and a search button that puts any highlighted text into a search engine. Also features a precise scroll wheel with tilt functionality. The mouse’s default functions are all customizable to your needs at the office. ($99).
Auto Tray Table
This product from Kurgo, though simple, can do a lot for the road warrior. It’s a small table that straps on to a car steering wheel or the back of a car seat. It’s wide enough for writing pads, organizers or laptops. Drivers can work while parked or stuck in traffic. Backseat passengers, along for the ride, can use their laptop more easily and get work done while driving to the next meeting. ($22).
From T-Mobile, this smartphone uses the Windows mobile operating system. It features a large color screen, a QWERTY keyboard, web browsing, IM, Outlook, 1.3 megapixel camera, and Windows media for music and video. It connects to the Internet via GPRS/EDGE and Wi-Fi, and is quad-band for global phone usage. You can get work done from anywhere — and in style. ($349–or less with a plan).
Franklin Collegiate Dictionary
This electronic dictionary features a voice that speaks any of the 200,000 words it contains, as well as a thesaurus, word games, a contact rolodex, and grammar lessons. All text is hyperlinked, making it easy to jump from one word to the next. With expandable cards included, it has an encyclopedia, historical documents like the U.S. Constitution, and a blank card for downloads or e-books. You’ll never be at a loss for words. ($149).
Voyager II Talking Translator
This translator features 240,000 words and 27,000 phrases in 12 languages, with conversions between any of them: English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Russian, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Greek. And an electronic voice pronounces them for you. Its tiny keyboard’s overlay can be switched out to other languages for non-English-speaking users. Metric conversion, time-zone listings, and other tools will make this gadget perfect for international travelers away on business. ($200).
From Key Ovation, this USB keyboard has adjustable halves that can be manipulated into the perfect angle for ergonomic typing–both vertical and horizontal angles. There is a rugged, retro design to the unit that makes it feel like it would survive falling off a desk. It also features an optional number pad that can be used in conjunction with the base keyboard. Available in a white version for Mac or black version for PC, this keyboard enables you to enter data in real comfort. ($140).
From Adesso, this electronic tablet records what you write on paper as you lean on it. Later, transfer the hundreds of notes saved in the unit’s memory to your computer. The software included with the unit allows you to use these notes as email or in a roll of memos that can include clips from documents or websites. It can also be used as a tablet to replace your computer mouse. Organizing your notes from meetings are a snap. ($199).
This computer program converts any Word document or Outlook email into MP3 files that are read back to you by an electronic voice. The files are then sent to your iPod, smartphone, or MP3 player. You can listen to memos and other messages during your commute and turn wasteful downtime into a productive part of your day. ($39).
This laptop is from the Panasonic line of rugged machines that are resistant to shock and other kinds of damage. With a metal case and anti-shock hard drive it features a variety of wireless capabilities for mobile computing. It’s sleek design and powerful system will help you remain useful when you are away, but still at work. ($2399).