My favorite category of electronic gadgets is multifunctional, and one of the coolest in that category got even cooler with the updated Kingston MobileLite Wireless G2.
The cargo pocket-sized device (5 x 3.1 x 0.8 -inches, 6 ounces) has a built-in USB port and an SD memory card slot that can be used to stream video, images and documents from your devices.
It can also act as a bridge to transfer any of the digital files from a smartphone or tablet onto SD/SDHC/SDXC, and microSD (with included adapter) memory cards or USB flash drives (all sold separately). The USB port also allows 3G dongle support for Wi-Fi bridging enabling direct uploads to social media without needing a computer.
A built-in Ethernet connection lets it work as a wireless Internet router or a shared network (NAS) drive. The built-in battery (4640 mAh) is good to give your portable device a few charges.
A feature that makes this even better gives tablet and smartphone users access to extend the onboard device storage and even stream and share content with other users. While this might seem like a complicated device, the setup is incredibly simple.
Download the free MobileLite app, make your wireless connection and you're ready to roll.
A great example of how
it can work; If you're on a summer vacation, take the memory card out of your camera and now you can browse your digital photos on your smartphone or tablet. If your iTunes library exceeds the storage on your device, no problem, just store it on a flashdrive, which has the necessary memory and then play your content using the MobileLite G2 as a bridge. Details: $54.13; Kingston.com
The Transporter Sync is another innovative portable device, great for undertaking multiple tasks. Along with an external hard drive (not included) you can turn the hard drive into a personal, cloud-base storage. This allows you to access any stored digital files on the cloud from a smartphone or tablet, including documents, music files and movies. Like many other clouds, this one is not used for storage; instead it's a network to connect a smartphone or tablet to your hard drive, since there is no hardware to directly connect the two. There's a little setup along with downloading a free app for iPhone or Android systems.
Details: $99; FileTransporter.com
Bem wireless Bluetooth
The Bem wireless Bluetooth speaker is built into a wristband that you wear like a watch with one feature: the speaker. There's not a lot more to it, just a simple innovative device that works well as a speaker and hands-free speakerphone. The Bluetooth functions for pairing are simple. The only other controls needed are from the multi-function button built into the side of the speaker. This can be used to choose your tunes, play, pause and answer calls. The band also has spoken caller ID and a blue LED light to confirm a Bluetooth connection. It's charged with a microUSB connection and you'll get about six hours of talk time. Details: $49.99 available in black, blue, gray, green, red or white; BemWireless.com
Whether you're forgetful with your keys or wallet or you just want to keep track of the whereabouts of an item while on vacation, the Nio Tag from Bluenio is the gadget you need. It measures just 1.77 x 0.87 x 0.39-inches and a charge lasts four months. Just pair it with your smartphone and download the free Nio app for iOS or Android devices. Attach the hardware to whatever you want to track and your phone will then alert you when it gets more then 165 feet away. A really neat hot/cold indicator tells if you are closer or further away from your lost item. In my case, attaching it to my keys will save me endless trips running back in to a restaurant to retrieve them. It can even be attached to a toddler when you're in a crowded environment or playground. There are different settings or alarms you can customize depending on how you use the Nio Tag.
Details: $49.95; bluenio.com
Gregg Ellman, gadget guru, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @greggellman.