At CES this week in Las Vegas, there are gadgets everywhere. A few of them seem superfluous--does a dog really need a video camera collar, or will a belt that tightens automatically really help you lose weight? Maybe not. Yet, there are quite a few practical gadgets that could change how you work and help with your next business trip.
1. Vysk QS1 Privacy Case
This new iPhone or Android case provides protection in case you drop your phone on the pavement, but it also protects you from getting hacked. The case blocks the microphone and camera on your phone so hackers can't tap into them and listen to conversations at an investor meeting. The case also includes codes for apps that use encryption when you send text messages or exchange photos. Another app lets you make private phone calls that cannot be recorded. The case is currently on preorder for $230.
2. Logitech Bluetooth Multi-Device Keyboard K480
Finally, someone made a keyboard with keys labeled for both Mac and Windows. This model from Logitech connects over Bluetooth to a desktop computer. There's a tray you can use to set your phone or tablet on the keyboard for mobile typing sessions. If you connect to multiple devices, you can turn a dial to switch between them quickly. The K480 costs $50.
3. Phorce Freedom
This innovative laptop bag for business travel looks like something you'd bring to a serious business meeting. The main perk is that, inside, there's a backup battery charger and extra compartments for your phone and tablets. You can charge them as you walk through an airport or sip coffee at Starbucks, since the cables feed through the interior of the bag. It's $199.
4. Imation Link Power Drive Portable 64GB
For $180, this small adapter for the iPhone or iPad might seem overpriced. Yet, it could be a business saver. You can charge your smartphone twice or trickle charge a tablet, which helps you stay in contact on a business trip. Once connected by the attached lightning cable, you gain an extra 64GB of storage for backing up your files.
5. HP Sprout
It's not available yet, but the HP Sprout could change how you work sometime soon. The desktop computer has two displays, one running as a standard desktop touchscreen and one that's projected in front of you where you'd normally have a keyboard and mouse. You can scan objects like a business card or your notes and then interact with them--say, make a quick printout to give to meeting participants. To control the computer, you press icons that are displays in front of you and you can type on a virtual keyboard. No pricing info yet.