Back-to-school tech guide 2011

On campus or off, enhance college life with these 12 tech gadgets and accessories.

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It's a battery and a flash drive

Cell Drive
The Cell Drive emergency device charger and flash drive

Backup batteries for phones and MP3 players are handy; so are flash drives. The Cell Drive from SLD Marketing Group packs both into one small package, along with a connector for charging and (depending on the device) syncing a mobile device.

The Cell Drive starts with a rechargeable 430 mAh battery. It won't fully charge your device, but it provides enough juice for an extra hour of talk time or several days of standby, according to the company.

The same 1.1-x-3.2-x-0.6-in. container houses a flash drive that stores 4GB or 8GB of data. On one end is a standard USB 2.0 plug, at the other is a mini-USB plug, which lets you charge and sync files with devices that have that port. Rounding out the connection options is a 3.5mm jack that works with the included micro-USB and iPhone/iPod adapters for charging those devices.

At $49.95 or $59.95 (depending on whether it's a 4GB or 8GB flash drive), the pocket-size Cell Drive replaces four or five other accessories all by itself.

It's a watch and an iPod

Apple's latest iPod Nano can fill its touchscreen face with an analog clock display. If only there were a way to affix the Nano to your wrist so you could see the clock.

Quad Mountain Ultimate One wrist strap
The Quad Mountain Ultimate One wrist strap for the Nano

Enter the Quad Mountain Ultimate One wrist strap. Developed with crowdfunding support through Kickstarter, the Ultimate One silicone strap has an extra smooth, soft feel and holes for ventilation to keep your wrist from getting too sweaty. The design also keeps the Nano away from your skin.

The clasp that holds the Nano doesn't block its connectors and controls (even the dock port), so you can listen to your music or podcasts of your classes without taking off your watch. It even works with adapters for the Nike+ training system and Bluetooth wireless headsets. It comes in five sporty colors as well as white and black ($29.95 each or two for $49.95 for black plus another color).

The silver LunaTik Nano band

Want a more upscale look? Try the LunaTik, another Kickstarter-funded Nano watchband. Featuring an aluminum housing with black silicone rubber straps, the LunaTik comes in elegant silver ($79.95), bold red ($79.95), stealthy black ($89.95) or a TakTik version ($99.95) that features an individually molded (no two alike) camouflage-pattern band.

That's it for this year's guide. Looking for more back-to-school help? Don't miss these handy Web apps for your laptop and smartphone apps for iOS and Android devices.

Jake Widman is a freelance technology writer in San Francisco.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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