IN THE BAG
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.
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.
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.
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.