Part of the wonder and fun of todays technology is the never-ending assortment of “gee-whiz” gadgets and gizmos that offer greater convenience and increased productivity to busy insurance professionals.
We had many choices in assembling a brief list of such devices for use by agents and insurance companies, but weve tried to keep the games and entertainment gadgets to a minimum and focus instead on some potentially useful products. Thats not to say there isnt some fun in store for users, but practical value is the key.
That said, here are some devices that have caught our attention.
One Device Does It All. Have you ever considered all the electronic devices you carry and wished that someone would just combine them into one super product? Wouldnt it be great if your cellphone, personal computer and digital camera were contained in one device you could carry anywhere?
Well, the product designers at Tokyo-based Hitachi have given it a shot in the G1000, a single device that does many things. Packed into this PDA (personal digital assistant) are a Microsoft Pocket PC computer, a Sprint PCS phone, and a rotating cameraand the whole thing weighs a mere 8.4 ounces.
According to Hitachi, the built-in phone acts as a modem for using Pocket Internet Explorer to gain Internet access. The computer includes a 400MHz processor with 32MB of RAM (random-access memory). Theres also a full-color display and a built-in QWERTY keyboard that the company recommends you use with your thumbs.
The G1000s camera can take pictures (at a resolution of 640×480 pixels) then share the images instantly with other connected parties on the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network, says Hitachi. The camera rotates 180 degrees for easier picture taking.
Hitachi adds that the G1000 supports use of external memory cards, and that information on the PDA can be synchronized with a users PC. The device uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that offers up to 2.5 hours of continuous talk, or 168 hours (seven days) continuous standby time. The battery takes about three hours to charge and is replaceable.
The unit also features a speakerphone that allows hands-free operation of the PCS phone, says Hitachi. There is an embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) chip needed to utilize the E911 emergency location services.
The G1000 sells for about $649. More information is available at www.hitachi.us.com.
Memory on the Road. It seems that more and more, were working with forms and other documents on our portable devices, which is very convenient. But where to store those documents until we return to our offices can be a vexing question.
The answer, of course, is portable data storage, and it comes in many forms, including the Pocket Sync Memory Drive 64MB from Targus Inc., based in Anaheim, Calif. This is a lightweight and compact storage device that includes a self-contained USB (universal serial busa standard hardware interface) and is designed for mobile computing users.
According to Targus, once the device plugs into the USB port of a PC, “it will act like any other mass storage device.” It is also able to withstand vibration and movement associated with use in a mobile environment, the company says.
“It can operate under extremes of humidity, magnetic fields and temperatures,” claims Targus. “It conveniently hangs from your neck or key chain, storing everything from business documents and presentations to personal files, music and e-mail.”
Other features include:
Instant plug and play operation;
Software that provides 300% compression of most common data files, with 128-bit encryption;