The key part of a mobile handset is that it can go anywhere, making you always connected and reachable. The problem is that while phones are made to be “mobile,” for a number of reasons going anywhere is actually a problem. If you’re going to be away from home base all day, whether for work or play – or more likely a bit of both in today’s crazy world where the line between the two has drastically blurred – you need to think about battery life.
Obviously, there are a number of portable options available, but if your day involves a lot of meetings and on-the-go time, don’t count on being able to have access to a power outlet. Asking to “plug in” your handset while you’re in a meeting isn’t likely going to impress anyone. But fortunately there are plenty of options for portable charging for your devices, such as a USB-enabled portable power station.
Likewise, in a pinch you can likely charge your phone up from the USB connection in your laptop as well, but this will in turn drain your laptop battery. So that comes down to whether working on a document or checking e-mail is more important than making that next call. But it is an option if your phone is about to die.
BlackBerry Bold and iPhone 3G users also have portable power via FUEL, a new all-in-one phone case and charger. Available now from Case-Mate ($79.99), this soft-grip holster includes a rechargeable lithium polymer batter, which can extend the talk time, standby time and Internet usage time for your handsets. The company claims that this charger can extend the usage for the BlackBerry Bold by about 1.5 times, and up to 2.5 times for the iPhone. There is even an on/off feature so you can only draw power when you absolutely, positively need it!
Summer Travel With Your Phone
The economic slowdown could have you questioning your summer travel plans, but given the slowdown this could be a great time to head abroad where plenty of deals can be found. And if you can mix a little work with your pleasure, all-the-better for the bottom line.
The only issue is that most handsets designed for the American market don’t work (or play) so well overseas. And whether you’re heading to distant shores for work, or play, I’ve compiled some helpful Web sites to aid you in your travels:
- Rick Steves: Mobile Phones in Europe – the host of the PBS travel show knows a thing or two about a thing or two. And while he probably has a producer and at least a cameraman to hand him a phone if he absolutely needs to make a call, he did do his research (or someone did it for him). Either way, his Web site provides some useful information on what can do to stay connected in Europe.
- Mobal World Phone – if you’re an occasional international traveler, than a true “world phone” might not be for your everyday needs. Instead, consider the Mobal World Phone, which ranges in price from $49 to $99. It works in 150 to 170 countries (based on model), and you are only billed for the calls you make – with billing taking place for every $100 you spend, or every 15 days. And the rates are comparable with most pay-as-you go disposable phones, which can be a tad expensive at $1.25 to $1.50 a minute to the United States. And the phones won’t work on a cruise ship, except when it is in port.
- International Sim Cards – the alternative to buying a whole handset is to get a phone that works on multiple networks and then getting a sim card that will work in your various destinations. The key is that you’ll need a phone that can be unlocked, but this is another affordable way to stay connected while traveling abroad.
- Plan Ahead – Are you packing a travel alarm clock? You are if you’re bringing a mobile phone, and you’re likely bringing a camera and flashlight too. These are some of the tips offered by Magellan’s mobile phone tip Web site.