This year's Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas was better than ever. But putting all the flashy gadgets aside, what I really care about are gadgets that are going to help me be most productive in 2012. I found seven that are compact and portable, and might just help you to get your work done better and faster.
There are so many phones to choose from this year, but this is the one that's going to help you get things done. It has a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard that's far superior to its predecessors. The keys are truly easy to type on and well separated, so there’s less room for error when e-mailing and texting on the go. This phone sits on Verizon's high-speed LTE network, has a Dual-Core 1.2GHz CPU, and a gig of ram. Oh, and don't worry, all this power isn't a battery-drainer. The battery lasts for nearly a full day of talk time. On the software end, it has a cool work mode, and a MotoCast app that lets you sync files between your phone and computer. Coming soon to stores near you.
Ultrabooks were the big craze at CES this year, but don't call this laptop an Ultrabook. This new Samsung laptop is super light, weighing in at 3.5 pounds. It has a full 15-inch display, but fits into a 14-inch frame, making it super-portable, without giving up on screen size for productivity. Packed inside a .6-inch body is a speedy Intel i5 Processor, 128GB of solid-state storage, 8GB of Ram, and an HD webcam. But what makes this thing a winner is its battery. Leave the cord at home and work from anywhere, as this laptop can last more than 10 hours on a single charge, and it only takes 90 minutes to fully recharge. Bonus: This laptop boots up in just 9.8 seconds, and wakes up from sleep mode in less than two seconds.
Communication across devices has never been simpler with this multi-device speakerphone system from Plantronics. Perfect for an entrepreneur working from home or a small business that doesn't want to spend thousands on a phone system. Connect your mobile phone, land line, and computer, and enjoy premium full-duplex sound on the speakerphone. Tend to walk around while you talk? No problem. You have a great wireless microphone that is always integrated into the unit.
This is one of the brightest mobile projectors out there. With its 300-lumens bulb, you can do a presentation even in well-lit environments. It's also incredibly portable at 4x4 inches. Best of all, you don't need a video or VGA cable to connect it to your computer. Just plug it into the wall, and wirelessly transmit your content from your PC to the wall. Finally: A bright, mobile projector that doesn't require an IT department to use.
Bluetooth headsets run out of battery. The wired ones just get tangled in your pocket. Zipbuds came up with a great solution for both problems with its wired mobile headset. Zipbuds zipper-integrated cabling never tangles. The ear-piece is good for both music and voice, with loud, crystal-clear sound and noise-cancelling technology gets rid of a lot of background noise. It’s coming out soon, and will work with any phone, including Android and iPhone.
I got a peak at Windows 8 in action, and it's awesome. This is the operating system that is going to make Microsoft finally stand out again. It's built around the need to work in multiple applications without the hassle, so you get a seamless experience from mobile to tablet to desktop. The clean, "metro-style" interface features large thumbnail images that make navigation easy. From what I've seen, I'd say it's most productivity-focused operating system out there.
Phones are too small to handle a lot of your work, and tablets can be a hassle to carry because they don't fit in your pocket. Samsung solved this problem with the Note. The Samsung Note is a hybrid tablet/phone with a 5.3-inch screen. It comes with a stylus that lets you take notes fast and, best-of-all, annotate anything. Need to add comments to a presentation, PDF, or screenshot? No problem. The Samsung Note even lets you crop out a specific part of whatever is on your screen, jot down your notes, and quickly send it out to your team. It also comes with a very fast dual-core processor, letting you easily switch between multiple applications. — Ilya Pozin