4 Devices for Your Mobile Workforce
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If you want your staff to work as a team, give 'em a real-time company scoreboard. Track wins and losses and everything in between with Geckoboard, a cloud-based digital dashboard that serves as a companywide bulletin board, displaying everything from business analytics to Twitter feeds to project reports. Subscription pricing is based on the number of portals (HDTVs, mobile devices or desktop PCs) using the service at the same time.
Now that all the major wireless carriers offer 4G cellular data connections, the mobile work force finally has the consistent broadband it has always wanted. The new standard has led to reliable e-mailing, routine fast downloads of HD streaming media and real-time, cloud-based collaboration. The hardware showcased here comes pre-installed with 4G connections--no dongles or mobile hot spots required--that take advantage of that speed to make you forget you're running business through a cell network.
LG Optimus G ($100 from AT&T)
Mobile data on the slick, polished Optimus G pops to life thanks to a crisp, high-def 4.7-inch display and 1.5 GHz quad-core processor. A discrete microSD slot expands memory to 64 GB, enough to hold more music, video and Android apps than you'll know what to do with.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 ($600 for the LTE version from Verizon)
Most tablets are hampered by their inability to run more than one app at a time, but the 10-inch Galaxy Note gets around this problem with a split-screen feature that runs two Android programs simultaneously--including its stylus-based note-taking app.
Rugged Good Looks
Panasonic Toughbook 53 (starting at $1,399)
With military-grade certification against shocks, humidity, spills, dust and extreme temperatures, the Toughbook's 14-inch LED display with an optional touchscreen and up to 500 GB hard drive is built to withstand the nastiest working environments. Along with the 4G data feed, this makes "no internet" an invalid excuse for those working in adverse conditions.
Dell Latitude 10 Security ($779)
This 10-inch handheld device works as a tablet with nearly all-day battery life (when using a four-cell battery). When connected to an optional dock station, it turns into a competent Windows 8 Pro PC, with a keyboard, mouse and HDMI and USB slots. Bonus: An optional fingerprint reader ensures only you can access the device.