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Can Bluetooth Technology Improve Your Real Estate Business?

Bluetooth technology can drastically improve how we make cell phone calls. Are there other ways that the same technology can benefit real estate agents? YES.

Bluetooth is a wireless communication standard that can connect devices over a range of 30 feet. While we are all familiar with connecting our cell phones to a Bluetooth headset (like my new Jabra BT5020), there are numerous other peripherals that use Bluetooth to eliminate wires.

Add Bluetooth

To start, you need to have a Bluetooth transmitter on your computer. Embedded Bluetooth cards are becoming very popular in laptop computers. If you are purchasing a new laptop, make sure that it includes a Bluetooth card.

For those who need to add Bluetooth to an existing laptop or desktop, it is very simple. Several companies offer Bluetooth adapters ranging in price from $20 to $50. These adapters usually connect via USB and look much like a flash memory drive.

A unique Bluetooth adapter is the Kensington Micro Bluetooth Adapter. It is the size of a penny and when plugged into a USB port, sticks out less than a quarter of an inch. This allows you to connect the device and not have to remove it to put your laptop away.

Ways to Use Bluetooth

Wireless keyboards and mice that use RF wireless technology have limited range and can be fussy. Switching to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse will give you more stability and range. Many of these devices come with their own Bluetooth adapter, so you won’t need to purchase an additional device. The Logitech diNovo Edge is the most advanced Bluetooth keyboard to date.

Use your cell phone as a mobile broadband modem to take advantage of the benefits of becoming a truly mobile real estate agent without the additional expense of purchasing a dedicated mobile broadband card.

Take advantage of VOIP telephone services, such as Skype, to save money on your phone bill. VOIP services are gaining in popularity, but it is very inconvenient to be tethered to your computer. With a Bluetooth headset, you can venture up to 30 feet from your computer while on the phone. You can use the same Bluetooth headset that you use for your cell phone, or get a dedicated VOIP handset like the Kensington Internet Phone. This handset folds up to slide into your laptop’s PCMCIA slot for storage and battery charging.

Synchronize your cell phone data. Why plug in your smartphone when you could sync your contacts, calendar, tasks and notes with your computer using Bluetooth. With the appropriate software, many standard cell phones can be synced with a computer. That way, you don’t have to worry about losing your data. It also makes loading contacts into your phone a lot easier.

Transfer photos from your cell phone to your computer. Many cell phone providers charge you to email photos from your phone. Instead of emailing them to get them to your computer, transfer them via Bluetooth.

Print wirelessly to mobile printers equipped with Bluetooth. The HP Deskjet 460wbt Mobile Printer makes printing contracts, presentations, and tours from anywhere a breeze.

Listen to music and movies without wires. The Motorola MOTOROKR S9 Bluetooth Stereo Headphones provide quality sound and double as a cell phone headset.

How are you using Bluetooth Wireless Technology to improve your real estate business?

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Simplifying Real Estate Agent Laptop Purchases

In my real estate agent desktop buying guide article, I wrote that “purchasing a new desktop computer can be a confusing experience”. Unfortunately, purchasing a laptop computer is an even more confusing task for the average real estate agent.The added confusion is brought about by the numerous incarnations of laptops available. From tablet PC to ultra-portables to huge desktop replacements, each style of laptop fulfills a different need. This means that there is no perfect laptop for everyone. Look to the matrix below for things to consider when choosing which laptop form-factor to buy.

Component Selection
Buying a laptop computer requires you to pull out your crystal ball and look into the future. Upgrading a laptop is difficult, costly and sometimes impossible. Buy more computer than you need today to allow your laptop to meet your needs for 3 or more years in the future.

Processor
The Intel Core 2 Duo processor is the way to go. Intel’s mobile processors are faster and more energy efficient (think battery life) than the competing AMD chips.

If available, look for Core 2 Duo processors running on an 800Mhz front-side bus (FSB). These processors cost a bit more, but their inclusion of tomorrow’s technology will extend the usable lifespan of your laptop.

Operating System
For real estate agents, Windows Home Premium will most likely meet your needs. This Home Premium includes all of the multimedia functionality that you will need in your daily marketing efforts.

If features like integrated backup, remote access and data encryption interest you, look to Vista Ultimate.

For a comparison of the Windows Vista versions, see Microsoft’s website.

Display
The size of the display is directly connected to the size of the machine, but there are several choices that you need to consider outside of size when choosing a laptop display.

Glossy or Matte Finish?
The glossy finishes look impressive. Colors tend to be very rich and vibrant. There is a huge drawback to these displays, the glossy finish is very reflective making them difficult to use in well lit environments. Unless you tend to work in the dark, go for a matte finish.

LED lit displays are starting to hit the market. These displays are brighter, thinner, last longer and use less power. The only downside of this technology is the current premium price.

Video Card
Windows Vista needs video power to run smoothly. When purchasing a laptop, buy the most powerful video card option offered, whether from nVidia or ATI. Integrated video cards just don’t cut it.

Memory
Nothing will make you dislike the Vista operating system more than not having enough RAM to run it properly. 2GB of RAM seems to be the sweet spot for best performance.

Hard Drive
Buy the most capacity that you can afford. The extra space is cheap and you will invariably need it at some point.

If speed is more important than storage capacity, consider a 7200 RPM hard drive.

Optical Drive
Blu-Ray and HD-DVD drives are still too expensive to recommend. Go for a DVD-RW drive and consider a Lightscribe model to add a bit of flare to your discs.

Wireless Card
All laptops should have a wireless card to allow you to connect to the internet at home, the office and other hotspots wirelessly. While the new 802.11N standard has yet to be ratified, the latest draft is showing a lot of promise and they are backward compatible with the “B” and “G” standards. Buy a laptop with an 802.11N wireless card to enjoy faster, stronger wireless connections in the future.

Mobile Broadband
While a wireless card will give you limited mobile connectivity, a cell phone based broadband connection will truly make you a mobile real estate agent. Many laptops offer multiple provider options for mobile broadband integration. This integration is very convenient, but it does tie you to a cell phone provider. Add-on cards, like the one recommended in our real estate technology holiday gift buying guide, will offer more flexibility to change providers at a later date.

Bluetooth
Uses for a Bluetooth connection are increasing as more Bluetooth-enabled products hit the market. With an integrated Bluetooth card, you can use:

  • your smartphone as a modem
  • wireless headphones to listen to music or movies
  • VOIP services (Skype) with a wireless headset
  • a wireless Bluetooth keyboard and mouse

Battery
This is a no-brainer. Buy the high capacity battery. It may add weight to your laptop, but the added time away from a power outlet is worth it.

Sound
I have never been concerned with sound card options in a laptop. For what a real estate agent uses a laptop computer for, the integrated option will meet your needs.

Webcam
I have seen real estate agents send video emails originated from their webcams. Webcams are also handy for keeping in touch with distant friends and family.

Docking Station
I love my docking station. When I get to the office, I simply connect my laptop and I instantly have a full keyboard and mouse, a huge LCD monitor, Internet connection, printer connection and the battery charges. It makes my portable laptop into a desktop computer. This is perfect for real estate agents who use a laptop as a primary computer.

If you want a docking station, you need to make sure that the laptop you choose has a dedicated docking station connection. Otherwise, you are forced to use a USB-connecting model and those products are junk. Look at HP Pavilion or Dell Latitude laptops for quality docking station options.

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16 Holiday Gifts for Real Estate Techies

NikNik, Chad and I put together a list of some useful pieces of technology for real estate agents everywhere. Thanks to NikNik, we even have a few accessories this year. Have fun shopping!

Reggie’s Picks


Lenovo Think Pad Tablet PC
In my opinion, convertible tablet PC’s are built for real estate agents. The tablet technology allows for real estate agents to sign contracts on screen and start the paperless revolution. This year I’m recommending the Lenovo Thinkpad X61. The Lenovo Thinkpad X61 offers Intel’s Core Duo processor, embedded EV-DO or HSDPA modem for integrated wireless broadband, long battery life and strong benchmark scores for performance. Just keep in mind to get the small 12.1 footprint, the Lenovo Thinkpad X61 does not include an integrated optical drive. [see specs]

Garmin Nuvi 660
The Garmin Nuvi 660 is the perfect portable GPS Technology with a sleek 4.3 inch display. This state-of-the-art navigation system provides 2D or 3D maps and turn-by-turn voice directions. It also offers a complete “points of interest” database for local restaurants, gas, ATM’s and more. Also stop getting surprised by accidents and road conditions with an optional traffic package from XM NavTraffic® or MSN® Direct. Even use the Nuvi 600 to play MP3’s or display JPG’s of that next listing you’re visiting on buyers tour. (also checkout the Nuvi 770) [see specs]

Wireless Broadband: USB727 or U727 Modem
Two pieces of technology every mobile real estate agent should have is wireless broadband internet and a sleek flash drive. So why not combine them. The Verizon Wireless USB727 and Sprint U727 both do exactly that. Now get a 4BG of microSD™ memory, combined with a next generation mobile broadband on the EV-DO Rev. A network. Also note, this little device comes with out-of-box support for Windows XP, Vista, Mac, and Linux.

MII Flashcam
Open houses and other real estate activities often mean you may be alone for periods of time. Your safety is of top importance! Carry the MII Flashlight, and video/audio recorder. The MII Flashcam comes with one gigabyte of RAM capable of storing 1 hour of quality audio and video. The MII also supports night vision technology, allowing you to convert evening into daytime on the 1.5” TFT-LCD color Display. The MII is water resistant and provides 3 ½ hours of continuous operation. [Sold Here].

Photoshop Elements 6.0
Do you have the right software for organizing and editing your real estate photos? Photoshop Elements provides many powerful tools in an easy to use software package. Tag your photos with keywords, use touch-up tools to enhance your photos color and contrast. Easily resize, crop and more. Even find the best photos for the MLS and print marketing by using the side-by-side viewing feature. [see features]

NikNik’s Picks


Acme Made Laptop Cases
Acme’s laptop cases make real estate on the go—sleek, sassy, and practical! Acme Made laptop bags combine style, functionality, and affordability. Dimensions and suggestions are provided to ensure your laptop acquires the right fit. Check out “The Clyde City” for him and “The Trixy” or “Slim Cargo” for her.

Blue Tooth Headset
I can’t leave home and be expected to multi-task to my greatest potential without my Bluetooth headset. Driving and other real estate tasks become “hands-free” via wireless connection to your headset. I’m a fan of the Jabra Bluetooth Headsets, the BT2020 in particular. The BT2020 has the latest Bluetooth 2.0 technology. [see specs]

Microsoft Streets & Trips 2008
Load it onto your laptop, attach the small GPS locator and you’re good to go. Get to know a new market area, create informative brochures based on your neighborhood analysis, or create mashups of your sold properties—perfect for prelisting presentations. [take a tour]

Mobile Office
This item is so popular that it’s often sold out. Keeping your car clean when it’s used as your daily office is easier said than done. But with the Lewis N. Clark Travel Business Center, you can keep your notepads, pens, files, digital camera, flyers, snacks, etc. secure and organized. And when showing property, just fold, zip and place in your trunk.

iHome Portable Speaker for Nano
The Bose Sounddock provides great sound with minimal setup. My good friend (Sarah) even brings it on our business trips. But at $300, it’s an item you won’t want to lose or leave at an open house. Another great option for real estate agents is the iHome Portable Speaker for your Nano. At only $30, you can set the mood with quiet background tunes at your next broker’s tour/open house for a bargain!

Chad’s Picks


Dell XPS M1330
The technology driven real estate agent needs a laptop that includes the latest multimedia functionality while remaining portable. The Dell XPS M1330 is just that. Only 0.87” thick, the XPS M1330 is a 13.3” widescreen laptop that can be configured with a hi-def LED screen, a 320 GB hard drive for ample storage space or a 64GB solid state drive for performance and reliability, up to 4GB of RAM and a slot-load DVD burner. There is also a choice between AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon for mobile broadband. [see specs]

Dell XPS 420
Thought about incorporating video and audio files into your real estate marketing plan? You’ll need a computer with tons and storage and serious power to handle file editing and conversion. The Dell XPS 420 is ready to incorporate the 45nm next generation processors. A fully configured XPS 420 includes an integrated LCD to access songs, pictures, video and system settings without using the keyboard, Adobe Elements Studio, video and audio inputs on the front panel, a remarkable 2TB of storage, a Blu-Ray drive, an eSATA connector, 10 USB ports, and a deck-top device storage area with cable routing. [see specs]

HP Officejet Pro L7680 Color All-in-One
Upgrade the printing, copying and faxing capabilities of the real estate agent in your life this holiday with HP Officejet Pro L7680 Color All-in-One. This device is fast, touting laser printer speeds from an inkjet printer. The built-in Ethernet connection allows for easy sharing of this all-in-one with multiple computers. The unusual feature of standard duplex printing makes double sided printing a breeze. [see specs]

Lexar ExpressCardTM SSD
The more multimedia based real estate technology becomes, the more storage space we need. To increase the storage capacity of your laptop computer without messing with a hard drive upgrade, look to a solid state express card drive. The Lexar Expresscard SSD can quickly add up to 16GB of extra storage to your laptop. Just slide the card into the express card slot on your machine and it is ready to use. [see specs]

Seagate FreeAgent Pro
Need to back up your real estate business? The Seagate FreeAgent Pro 750GB drive is a cutting-edge backup and storage device. The forward thinking design of the FreeAgent includes the latest and fastest external connection, eSATA, for blazing transfer speeds. For those without eSATA, a USB 2.0 and 2 Firewire ports are also available. The included software makes for simple system backups, “goof-up” safe version storage and automatic data duplication and transfers to email, an iPod or Shutterfly. [see specs]

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
A good wide-angle lens will improve real estate listing photos by including more of a room in a single shot. Without investing in a digital SLR, choices for cameras with strong wide-angle functionality are limited. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 includes a 28mm equivalent wide-angle lens that extends to a 10X optical zoom. Optical image stabilizer aids a shaky hand, a high sensitivity mode makes shooting fast moving objects easier and the new SDHC memory cards are compatible, providing 8GB of storage on a single card. [see specs]

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Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Your Real Estate Technology

I’m often asked about new real estate technology, but I’m rarely (if ever) asked what to do with the old technology left behind. And if you are technological enthusiast as I am, then you may be upgrading your computer and other electronic devices as often as the seasons change. So, what do you do with your old technology? My kids love adopting my old Blackberries, MP3 players and computers. But eventually even they outgrow these devices…and I’m left with quite a pile of “e-waste”.

What is e-waste?
E-waste is electronic waste that includes computers, mobile phones, entertainment electronics like TVs and VCRs, fax machines, copiers, and any other tech items that have been discarded by their original users.

How does e-waste affect our environment?
The United States generates more e-waste than any other nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Electronic waste represents 2 percent of America’s trash in landfills, but it equals 70 percent of overall toxic waste. E-waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity and carcinogenicity of some of the substances if processed improperly. Toxic substances in electronic waste may include lead, mercury, and cadmium. Carcinogenic substances in electronic waste may include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). These toxic chemicals can leach into the land over time impacting nearby communities and the environment. Incineration of e-waste releases heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the air and ashes. Mercury released into the atmosphere can bioaccumulate in the food chain, particularly in fish – the major route of exposure for the general public. And sadly, the exportation of e-waste to poor countries is devastating to say the least. To learn more about e-waste exportation visit Greenpeace and watch this video.

So how can real estate professionals help?

  1. Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
    Many of these electronic products can be reused, refurbished, or recycled. You can reduce your generation of e-waste through smart procurement and good maintenance. Reuse still functioning electronics by donating or selling them to others that can use them. And recycle electronic items that cannot be repaired. You would be surprised how many local organizations will actually take your electronics for FREE if you just open your phonebook or do a little digging! In California, you can find a local organization that reuses or recycles electronics by searching the Electronic Product Management Directory (EPMD).
  2. Support Green Technology
    Some large companies like Fujitsu have developed technologies to eliminate toxic chemicals by developing lead-free products. Additionally, Sony and Waste Management have partnered recently to launch the “Sony Take Back Recycling Program” to help customers safely recycle all Sony electronics, and even non-Sony products for a market-rate fee. Visit the Sony Electronics Blog to learn more.
  3. Support E-Waste Legislation
    The United States Congress is considering a number of electronic waste bills including the National Computer Recycling Act introduced by Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). However, this bill has continually stalled. In the meantime, several states have passed their own laws regarding electronic waste management. California was the first state to enact such legislation, followed by Maryland, Maine, Washington and Minnesota. More recently, legislatures in Oregon and Texas passed their own laws.
  4. Blog About It
    If you have a blog you have a great opportunity to inform others. This post was inspired by Blog Action Day! But you don’t have to wait until Earth Day to write about environmental issues facing your community and real ways you can help and improve your local sustainability.

Online Resources:

Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
eWaste.com: Regional Computer Recycling & Recovery
Greener Computing
Make Me Sustainable

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Blackberry Adds Wi-Fi; Saving Real Estate Agents Money

At first glance, the addition of Wi-Fi technology on a mobile phone doesn’t seem like that big a deal. Wi-Fi has been in laptops for years and Blackberries already use cell phone signals to provide Internet access.

Why would a real estate agent care about Wi-Fi on a Blackberry? Does free, unlimited Wi-Fi calling interest you?

When connected to a Wi-Fi signal, both the Blackberry Curve 8320 and Blackberry 8820 can use Internet based calling systems that allow you to talk without using voice or data minutes. This can mean a real savings to real estate agents.

Think of all of the times that you use your cell phone at home, the office or at a local coffee shop. Most likely, all of these places have a Wi-Fi signal that you can access. In fact, many cities are adding Wi-Fi signals that would allow for free calling throughout the city.

With Wi-Fi capable phones, real estate agents will be able to purchase less expensive cell phone plans. There is the potential to save hundreds of dollars each year.

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New compact technology for your mobile real estate business

Are you a mobile real estate agent? If so, you know that mobile broadband technology has seen some major improvements over the last few years. Well, tomorrow (October 5th) you will see another step forward in mobile computing technology as Verizon introduces their new compact external broadband modem. The USB727 is claimed to be the world’s smallest EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) modem. That’s right, no more huge hardware attachments awkwardly hanging from your laptop. This new modem boasts download speeds from 600kbps to 1.4Mbps and upload speeds around 350 to 500kbps. As if the small size was not alluring enough, the USB727 has integrated microSD, meaning that you can store up to 4 GB of files for your mobile business.

Also note that Sprint will be launching the device next month under the name U727.

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What Should A Real Estate Agent Look For In A Desktop Computer?

Purchasing a new desktop computer can be a confusing experience for a real estate agent with technology changing so often. You may be wondering what technologies are best. Or will the computer meet your current and future real estate needs?

So instead of recommending an actual desktop computer, I have outlined some minimum requirements and recommendations for a solid, sensible real estate agent desktop computer. This way, no matter which brand you prefer, you will be able to shop with confidence.

While I do not recommend any specific computer brands, I do recommend purchasing from a company that allows you to fully configure your system. Dell and HP are 2 prime examples. This will give you the most flexibility. When you walk into a store and buy a pre-configured system, you may be paying for more than you need or be forced to upgrade components at a later date.

Operating System
Microsoft Windows Vista has been out for over 7 months now. At this point, it is ill-advised to recommend purchasing a new computer with the aging Windows XP operating system installed. You may need to download updates for your current programs or purchase the latest version, but that may be a blessing in disguise.

There are 4 editions of Vista that you will likely come across (Basic, Home Premium, Business and Ultimate), but real estate agents should only consider Home Premium or Ultimate. Both of these editions include the multimedia functionality that has become essential real estate technology.

The Ultimate edition includes all Windows Vista functionality, including full system backup and remote access capability. The additional functionality can be well worth the extra $80-120.

Processor
When it comes to the latest processor technology, Intel Core 2 Duo is the only way to go. These processors are far superior to anything that competitor AMD has to offer. Any Core 2 Duo chip will be more than adequate for the average real estate agent’s needs.

RAM
Windows Vista is a memory hog! Because of this, don’t skimp on RAM or you will regret it very quickly. Spring for 2GB of RAM to give Vista the elbow room it needs.

Hard Drive
Storage space is inexpensive, so go big. As multimedia technology (i.e. Videos, Photos and Podcasts) become more abundant in real estate, you will need this extra space.

Video Card
Just as Windows Vista eats up memory, it also uses a tremendous amount of video processing power. This means you should pay attention to the video card in a new computer more than ever before. Cheap, integrated graphics cards are not going to satisfy. For a computer to handle any real estate technology tasks that you can throw at it, make sure you purchase a discrete (dedicated) video card with 256MB of memory or more. Video cards from either NVIDIA or ATI are the best bet.

Sound Card and Speakers
Sound cards and speakers are areas where you can skimp and save a few bucks. Unless you are really into music, go with a basic, integrated sound card and simple speakers.

Optical Drive
Every desktop computer should have a DVD-RW drive. These versatile drives play and record CD’s and DVD’s. While you might not think you will ever need to burn a DVD, think again. With over 4 GB of storage space per DVD, they are a wonderful media for file backups. Also, if you have yet to use video in a listing presentation or open house it is only a matter of time before you do. A DVD-RW drive will surely come in handy.

You may be tempted to upgrade to a Blu-Ray or HD DVD drive. I would advice against that as they are expensive and who knows which format will prevail (do you remember Beta?).

If you are looking for a bit of WOW factor, get a drive with LightScribe technology. Using special LightScribe discs, you can burn an image into the face of the disc. Although it is a monochrome image, they look better than many of the labels that I have seen.

Monitor
There are few things in your life that you will stare at as much as your computer monitor. Get as big and as high of quality as you can. Widescreens are the latest trend in monitors. Buy at least a 20” widescreen or spend a bit more for a 22”. Compare contrast ratios and response rates. The higher the contrast ratio and the lower the response rate, the easier it will be on your eyes.

Keyboard and Mouse
Would you benefit from a wireless keyboard and mouse set? Are you left or right handed (some mice are right hand specific)? Would additional function buttons make you more efficient (I need a back button on my mouse)?

No matter what you purchase, at least buy an optical or laser mouse (no more mice with the trackball inside).

Related Articles:
The Future of Mobile Real Estate Technology Is Upon Us
Real Estate Backup Technology

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The Future of Mobile Real Estate Technology Is Upon Us

While advances in computer hardware seem to appear everyday, it is infrequent that any such advancements truly mean anything to the mobile real estate agent. For the most part, real estate technology applications don’t require much processing power. This means that most real estate agents won’t see any noticeable difference in the use of a brand-new, cutting-edge laptop and one that is a year or 2 old.

Although I did say that it is infrequent that a significant technology advancement is introduced, we are on the verge of 2 such advancements. In fact, these 2 changes in laptop technology are so revolutionary that they are bound to influence the purchases of the mobile real estate agent for years to come.

Solid State Drives (SSD)
Any computer technician will tell you that laptop hard drives are prone to failure, much more so than desktop hard drives. This can be attributed to the bumps and bruises experienced from being a mobile device. No matter how careful you are with your laptop, your hard drive has most likely been knocked around a bit.

Hard drives are also one of the biggest drains on laptop batteries. The process of spinning the hard drive platters sucks a large amount of power.

Solid state drives solve both of these problems. By using flash memory (like thumbdrives, digitial cameras and small MP3 players), solid state drives are able to perform the same tasks as a traditional hard drive, but with no moving parts. No spinning platters means that energy consumption is reduced greatly and the durability of the drives is improved.

Toshiba is about to release the world’s very first laptop with a solid state drive. The Portege R500-S5003 will include a 64GB solid state drive. Upon its release, The Portege R500, with its solid state drive, 7mm thick DVD-RW drive and LED screen, will be the most advanced ultraportable to date.

LED Displays
A discussion on laptop battery life is not complete without talking about the power usage of the display. There is a reason that energy comsumption profiles on laptops dim the display when running off of battery. The display is one of the largest users of battery power of any laptop component.

The newly introduced use of LED lights in laptop displays instead of the traditional cold cathode fluorescent light is drastically changing the way we look at laptop screens. LED produces a brighter, whiter light than fluorescent while consuming far less power. LED lights are also smaller, making screens using them about half as thick as other screens.

LED screens are partly responsible for the recent promotion of ultra-thin laptops. My favorite of these new breed of computer is Dell’s XPS M1330. This 13.1”, media-intensive laptop could be the best blend of business mobility and personal life functionality all housed in a machine that stands barely over 1 inch tall.

Keep these 2 new technologies in mind when you purchase your next laptop computer. The LED screens are becoming quite prevalent, by the end of the year all laptop manufacturers should have an LED option or model.

The solid state drives may take a bit longer to become mainstream. You will start to see them in high-end, ultraportable machines. A hybrid drive (a traditional hard drive with flash memory onboard) may become more popular with manufacturers until the cost of solid state drives comes down and their capacity goes up.

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