A new crop of travel-savvy tech toys is coming your way. They manage workloads, order groceries, and even - hubba, hubba - keep the love fires burnin'.
If you're always on the lookout for gadgets to make your travel-heavy life easier, you're in luck. We've done the looking for you, just in time to spotlight all the nifty stuff that's set for unveiling at this month's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This armful of great finds won't just keep your appointments straight and your schedule organized, they can enhance your personal life, too, even when you're far away. Whether you need to get the weather in Bangkok or order groceries from the neighborhood store when you're in Buenos Aires, you'll find help here. And though we can't promise any of these devices will make your significant other love you more - they are only machines, after all - a few could help you keep in touch with that special someone while you're away. The rest is up to you.
NEXT BEST THING TO YOU
For baby boomers and Nick at Nite fans, 3Com's new Internet appliance may come across as a cyber version of Hazel, the lovable old television housekeeper. We think of this hard-working gadget, called AUDREY, as an electronic clone of your errand-running mode. Audrey will take messages, order groceries, and track your activities, all without your presence. Your milk goes bad on the 15th when you're overseas? No sweat. Audrey will have more delivered to your door, just in time for your teenage son to guzzle it out of the carton. Unfortunately, Audrey may be a better conversationalist than you; she'll keep everyone entertained and informed with the latest news, weather, sports, stock updates, and showbiz gossip. Best of all, Audrey can talk (via modem) to your PC, laptop, or handheld. If she's not needed back home, Audrey can pick up and plug into a phone line anywhere you go - hotels, convention halls, summer homes, and business retreats. Program her to order flowers along with the milk and you're on the right track. $499 (includes a three-ounce wireless keyboard and AC adapter); available now at 3Com.com.
WE CAN ALL JUST GET ALONG
Call Motorola's new wireless wiz Mister Congeniality. The TIMEPORT 270 adapts to both cellular and Bluetooth (radiowave) formats. Its tri-mode telephone is compatible with all types of wireless phone signals, so you can call home from anywhere in the United States. Its Bluetooth side lets it talk with laptops, handheld computers, and other portable products - without cables or wires (you will need an optional Smart Module and PC card, however). A big, bright display holds six rows of text to make reading and sending e-mail easier, and a 1,000-number phonebook keeps you in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. A "joystick" comes in handy when navigating the Net. Need we direct you to Tiffany.com? Around $350; available in March at motorola.com. Bluetooth-enabling Smart Module and PC card run about $150 each.
NOW SHOWING: YOUR WEDDING VIDEO
Want to win big points with the bride? Load your wedding video onto this notebook (repeat after us: "So I can watch it when I'm lonely for you, darling.") You'll have room for your best man's toast and much more on the DELL INSPIRON 8000, a chic, sleek, durable package that seems to float like a butterfly in your hand, but packs the power of a hive-full of stinging bees. Processors from 600 MHz to 850 MHz and 64 MB to 512 MB of RAM, 15-inchactive-matrix display, Dolby headphone surround sound, CD- and DVD-ROM drives, a graphics accelerator, and video-editing software - need we say more? You, your powder-blue wedding tuxedo, and your bad sideburns will be displayed in all their gory, er, glory. From $1,999; available now at (800) 388-8542.