Today is Cyber Monday--the online equivalent of the brick and mortar retail Black Friday holiday shopping launch. There are a lot of great deals out there for things like iPods, but there are also a number of deals out there .
Here are five of the hottest items for budget-savvy business professionals:
1. Notebook. Best Buy is offering this laptop, which includes an AMD Athlon X2 dual-core CPU and 4Gb of RAM, for only $399. Its not the fastest processor available, but the combination of a 320Gb hard drive, dual-layer DVD recording drive, and built-in wireless networking compatible with the latest 802.11N technology at a bargain price make this a solid deal
2. Netbook. If you are looking for something a little slimmer and lighter, and you are willing to forego the built-in DVD drive, Amazon has a deal on an Asus Eee 10.1" netbook. At under $340, the netbook still provides 802.11N wireless capabilities and it has a respectable 160Gb hard drive and 1Gb of RAM. The 10.5-hour battery life is appealing for users who need their mobile computer to work longer than an hour or so without having to carry the charger around.
3. 802.11N Wi-Fi. I pointed out that both the Acer notebook and the Asus netbook include 802.11N wireless networking. Wireless routers and adapters based on 802.11N technology have been around for quite awhile, but the protocol was only recently officially ratified so it is not as widely adopted as the previous standard, 802.11B.
Both are steeply discounted. The router is 70 percent off the regular price, and the wireless adapter is 60 percent off, but the deal expires today.
4. Color Laser Printer. Printing in color can add impact to reports and presentations. Amazon has the Brother HL-4040cdn Color Laser Printer for under $370, but around 6:15pm eastern time it will be offered as a Cyber Monday Lightning Deal with even greater, as-yet-undisclosed savings.
The device prints up to 2400 x 600 dpi resolution at 21 pages per minute. It can print directly from USB flash drives, but the more compelling feature for small and medium businesses is the fact that it has a built-in Ethernet network interface to connect the printer to the network for all to share.
5. Ebook Reader. Devices like the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook are primarily consumer gadgets, but as they become more mainstream they are also making the transition to business tools as well. An ebook reader can be used to read business documents and reports as well as the latest Dan Brown novel.
There aren't any great Cyber Monday deals on ebook readers that I have seen. Barnes and Noble and Sony were not prepared for the holiday demand and have already sold out. Their loss is Amazon's holiday gain since the Kindle has little competition at this point.
Make sure you watch out for scams while shopping for online bargains, but don't fret if you miss these deals, though. I am sure they won't be the last we'll see this holiday season. Black 'Friday' now starts sometime in mid-November, and Cyber 'Monday' began yesterday for many major retailers.
Holiday bargain shopping is always a little bit of a crap shoot anyway. As a word of advice, either wait to open your new gadgets, or make sure you save all of your packaging and your receipt so you can return them in the event that a better deal comes along between now and Christmas.