Ruffian Skull Metal Earphones
White earbuds are for pansies. Put these bad boys in your ears, and no one will mess with you--even if you're listening to ABBA. Even better: Thanks to the sophisticated drivers and tough metal casing, the Ruffians' audio reproduction is comparable to that of pricey earbuds costing up to four times as much. Besides rocking to your favorite death-metal bands, these buds are appropriate for “Moonstomping, skanking ... and anything requiring a helmet,” as well as for listening to Stephen Hawking and “respecting the sweet serenity of those around you,” says Ben Sedaghat, Radius CEO. Available in copper, gold, antique chromium, or nickel black (shown).
Company: Radius Earphones
Availability: This month
(For more looks at unusual gizmos, see "12 Money-Saving, Power-Sipping Green Gadgets for Earth Day," "Flash Drives With Character and Taste," and "The 10 Wackiest Headphones.")
Contributing Editor Dan Tynan speaks on all things geek at his blog, Tynan on Tech.
It isn't a party if you're the only one who can hear the music. Plug your iPhone or iPod into the Digital Group Audio's Livespeakr dock, and you can rock the entire room. Set the 15-watt speakers on the side of your player Dumbo style (pictured top left), turn them 90 degrees for widescreen (bottom), or slide them partially behind the unit for easier portability (top right). DGA claims that the Livespeakr has a battery life of 14 to 16 hours and is shielded against radio frequency/GSM interference, so you can use it as a speakerphone. The 13-ounce dock works with the original iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPod Touch, iPod Touch 2G, and iPod Classic. Available in black or white.
Company: Digital Group Audio
Plantronics' Savi Go gives you one headset to rule them all. Plug the Savi's Bluetooth dongle into your USB port, and you can use it with virtually any PC-based softphone, including Skype, Google Talk, or Microsoft Office Communicator. Then pair it with your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone and switch between the two with a touch of a button--no more scrambling to swap headsets when the other one jingles. You can roam up to 200 feet from your desk without dropping a call, and you can enjoy stereo sound via the Savi's support for A2DP. That's what we call a true Lord of the Rings.
Availability: Summer 2009
The next time you buy something online with your credit card number, don't type it, swipe it. NetSecure's desktop device lets you shop online while bypassing keyloggers or other malware that could sneak onto your PC. Just download the the SmartSwipe software, plug the mouse-size card reader into a USB port, click the SmartSwipe button inside Internet Explorer when you're ready to make a purchase, and swipe your plastic. SmartSwipe uses Dynamic SSL to encrypt your card data before it reaches your PC, and then inserts the information into the proper fields in the site's shopping cart. SmartSwipe works with thousands of e-tailers from Amazon to Zappos, and functions in Internet Explorer 6 or 7; support for IE8 and Firefox is in the works.
Company: NetSecure Technologies
TomTom Go 740 Live
Why ditch your Internet connection when you slip behind the wheel? TomTom's first connected GPS device gives you a real-time, two-way data stream that allows you to reroute your way around traffic snarls and fender benders, avoid stormy weather, find the cheapest gas station, or locate cheap eats and other services on the fly via Google Local Search. It can even tell you the best lane to drive in when approaching a complicated cloverleaf. The purchase price includes three months' worth of Live service; it costs $10 a month thereafter.
Company: TomTom NV
Out having a good time with your BFFs? Before you put pedal to the metal, breathe into this. Alcosystems' thumb-drive-size breathalyzer measures your blood alcohol content and transmits the data to your cell phone via Bluetooth. Enter physical characteristics, such as your weight, into the phone application, and it tells you how long to wait before you're sober again. The iBAC software will work with smartphones running Symbian, iPhone OS, Windows Mobile, and Java ME (but not Android--yet). Don't drive home without it.
Availability: Q4 2009
iGo Green Laptop
Many gadgets, one charger, less power--it sounds like a dream come true. iGo plans to make that dream a reality later this year with its Green Laptop universal charger, which consumes 80 percent less power on standby than conventional AC bricks and automatically shuts down when the attached device is topped up. The iGo brick will work with most popular laptops, cell phones, media players, GPS devices, handheld gaming consoles, and so on (some 3000 devices in all), with the help of custom Power Tips available for around $10 apiece. The Green Laptop charger will be available in two versions: one that plugs into a standard wall outlet, and another that's designed for cars and planes. Your friends will be green with envy.
Price: $110 (home), $130 (travel)
Availability: September 2009
Luxus LX-ProScope HR
It may be the size and shape of a travel hair dryer, but the Luxus LX-ProScope HR is really a portable microscope that can magnify objects up to 400X. It even captures still images and QuickTime videos that you can watch on your PC. The Luxus LX-ProScope HR is good for medical professionals, hair care specialists, jewelers, students, stamp collectors, law enforcement agents--anyone who needs to get up close and personal with objects barely visible to the naked eye. Luxus even sells a full crime-scene investigation kit with multiple lenses and a carrying case for $950. Now you too can play CSI at home--but it's strictly BYOC (bring your own corpse).
Company: Luxus Software
You climb the highest mountains, you swim the deepest oceans--or maybe you just lie on the couch thinking about it. Wouldn't it be nice to capture those moments in high-def so you can show off to your friends? The all-terrain splash- and weather-resistant DXG-125V fits in the palm of your hand yet records 720p video at 30 frames per second. The internal 128MB RAM lets you record a shade over 2 minutes in HD, but you can add up to 8GB via an SD Card. If you get tired of watching your feats on the DXG's 2-inch LCD, an HDMI slot lets you display videos on a big-screen TV. Best of all, at $100 this device costs significantly less than a plane ticket to Nepal.
Company: DXG USA
Availability: June 2009
YUBZ Talk Mobile
Tired of yakking into a piece of electronics barely larger than a Zippo cigarette lighter? YUBZ ("Why You Busy?") lets you talk into a real, honest-to-goodness receiver, just like the kind you had when there was only one phone company (and no cell phones). Adapters let you connect the YUBZ Talk Mobile to most brands of cell phone, including the iPhone; buttons on the handset let you pick up calls and control volume. Add a $20 VoIP adapter, and you can use the YUBZ with your laptop and with softphones like Skype. But it's not all about retro hipness: The YUBZ also puts out 95 percent less radiation than many mobile phones do, allowing you to go without the glow. Available in five Starburst-like colors.