3 noteworthy items

Tablet PC for outdoors, WordPerfect’s new office suite, funky stereo speaker for IPod

The Gadget Zone

By James Careless –

Do you like the idea of using a tablet PC for outdoor work, but fear that it won’t be tough enough for the job? If so, consider buying the DRS Technologies ARMOR X7 rugged compact tablet. This is a truly tough computer designed for all-weather outdoor use. In fact, the ARMO X7 meets the Pentagon’s MIL-STD-810G standard for surviving extremes in temperature, vibration, shock and drops. It can cope with moisture, as long as you don’t take it swimming!
The ARMOR X7 has a 7” sunlight readable touchscreen display; uses a single-core Intel Atom processor N450, and runs on Windows Microsoft Windows 7 Professional. For ease of connectivity, the X7 works with Gobi 2000 WWAN, Bluetooth wireless, integrated GPS and 802.11 a/g/n WiFi. See how tough it is at www.drsARMOR.com/X7.

I have been a big fan of Corel’s WordPerfect since Verison 5.1, way back in the Stone Age. I find WordPerfect to be an extremely user-friendly, reliable, and resource-thrifty word processing/accounting/presentations package that plays nice with Windows. I just received the latest version, WordPerfect Office X5: It contains all the regular features plus a PDF creation, archiving and ‘opening PDFs directly in word processing’ feature; an email client and calendar that works with Mozilla Thunderbird (my freebie email program of choice); expanded support for Microsoft Office’s latest XML formats – because we all know that Microsoft is the Big Kid on the block – and compatibility with more than 60 file types, including Microsoft Office. I write this column in WordPerfect and then save it to Microsoft Word. This gives me an easy program to write in, and a file format that is easy for my editors to open. Find out more about WordPerfect Office X5 at www.corel.com.

If you want a ‘60s retro-styled, funky digital stereo speaker system for your iPod, then consider the new Speakal iCrystal. This is a flat base with a central iPod dock, with a sphere on each side. The lower half of each sphere is a 3 watt speaker. The upper half is a downward-pointing reflector (with blue accent lights) that helps disperse the audio evenly. The iCrystal comes with a remote control and onboard touchpad buttons for operating a connected iPod. The included patch cord can be used to connect this system to a non-iPod MP3 player, computer audio output jack, or even a TV. The iCrystal is available in cherry red, silver, or black. Speakal also makes similar units styled as panda bears, ghosts (the iBoo), pigs and soccer balls. Details at www.speakal.com.