IN THE BAG
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It's an ongoing debate among trade show vets: wheeled case or sturdy backpack. Wheel lovers like knowing their shoulders are safe from heavy loads. Backpackers tote and fly through the crowds. Tumi's new Wheel-A-Way Boarding Tote is perfect for rolling around a busy trade show because it has plenty of storage space and measures only 14 inches wide, about three important, crowd-parting inches narrower than most roller bags.

For the person who insists on shouldering the load, Targus' Ultra-Lite Corporate Traveler, at just 2.5 pounds (before you fill it), eases the pain. Its three-section, expandable-file storage holds plenty, including a notebook computer and accessories in convenient pockets. Best of all, it's top loading, which is convenient when you're busy and on the run.

THINK MOBILE
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Fortunately, you no longer have to transport several devices (and all their various cords) to stay organized and connected; one or two pieces of electronic gear that combine functionality should do. In addition to standard PDA capabilities, the new BlackBerry 7230 offers wireless e-mail, a mini keyboard, color screen, and good cellphone functionality via a T-Mobile account.

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PDAs providing wireless access such as Wi-Fi (aka 802.11) or Bluetooth include Palm's Tungsten C and new T3 models. The T3 has a stretched screen you can use in horizontal or vertical mode, and comes with Bluetooth capability for downloading files wirelessly at short range. You can also retrieve e-mail by dialing in with a compatible Bluetooth-enabled phone. The Tungsten C is Wi-Fi-ready so you can retrieve e-mail at "hotspots" and respond via a little keyboard à la the BlackBerry. Both devices can be useful at a trade show such as CES, which offers Wi-Fi hotspots and Bluetooth stations where you can download floor maps and exhibitor information. Both Palm models also have built-in voice recorders for leaving important messages.

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Now, good cellphone reception within any concrete cavern of a convention center is a shaky proposition at best. But the new flip-top i730 phone from Nextel increases your odds. It has a color screen and comes enabled with GPS to provide location-specific services such as downloading maps, which can ease your navigation around any convention city. The phone also comes with Nextel's useful Direct Connect and Nationwide Direct Connect services for conversing walkie-talkie style with your Nextel-using associates, coast to coast.