Guest contributor Jennifer Cepero highlights 10 essential smartphone business accessories. What accessories would you add to her list?
A smartphone can make business easier. Not only can you stay connected with clients, co-workers, and even vendors wherever the job takes you, but the variety of accessories designed for cell phones can make you more mobile while using them, ensuring that you're always focused on business and not keeping that phone held up to your ear. Here are just 10 of the many business accessories available that can help.
1: Charging docks/pods
Meetings across town, conferences, work luncheons, and business trips can all put a strain on your cell phone's battery life. The BlackBerry is one popular phone choice among business-minded individuals, and they use them to schedule meetings, travel via GPS, text, email, and make important business calls. A charging dock or pod can be kept at the office or wherever you'll finally settle down for a break or after your busy day around town. Charging stations are small and can be set on your desk without taking up any of the space you may have for your papers and business necessities.
Charging stations usually are economical, so if you find yourself with a low battery problem most of the time, you can set up multiple charging stations at different locations, at the office and at home. Most importantly, you won't have to worry about always having a charger with you.
2: Travel charger
Another important travel accessory to assist in keeping your battery active is a travel charger. Compact and easy to use, a travel charger allows you to use the phone even while it's charging, so this is a great accessory to have in any briefcase or travel bag.
Some people prefer to use their car charger in place of a travel charger, which is perfectly fine if you mostly use the car to conduct business. However, a better alternative for frequent fliers is a hand-crank charger. This doubles as an emergency charger, since you don't need an outlet and can charge the phone even during a power outage or with no access to an outlet or car.
3: Vibrating belt clip
A universal vibrating belt clip is a neat accessory that comes in handy during business meetings or when working in a shared space. These accessories work with any cell phone and easily attach to a belt or purse. It works similarly to the phone's own vibrate mode in that the vibration alerts you to an incoming call.
Unlike the phone's own vibrating mode, however, which quickly runs down the phone's battery charge, a vibrating clip doesn't put any extra strain on the batteries. This allows you to prolong the phone's battery life while still being alerted to those incoming calls.
4. Bluetooth headset
Many customers using smartphones have been taking advantage of Bluetooth headset for years, and this hands-free accessory has quickly become a must-have for any cell phone user, whether you use a smartphone or the most basic talk and text device.
The Bluetooth has become so popular, in fact, that even new car models are coming equipped with Bluetooth compatibility already integrated in the car's system. In some states, using a hands-free device is required by law when talking on the cell phone in your car, so having one will not only make you more mobile, but it will cut down on costly tickets, ensure you are abiding the law, and make it safer to drive.
5: Antenna booster
Business can take you to the most unexpected places, even areas that aren't covered with adequate cell phone service. An antenna booster is one accessory that can enhance the signal of your cell phone by as much as five times its original power. There's simply no better accessory to have when working in low-signal areas.
There's also nothing worse than breaking up during a business call, and this frequently happens when work takes you on the road. This accessory cuts down on the number of times you have to ask the person on the other end to speak up or repeat themselves, which makes you look more professional.
6: Cobra Tag
It's no surprise that we live in a very technological world. Smartphones have now become one of our most coveted possessions. While smartphones make our lives easier, and it's not uncommon to see people walking around with their phones always in their hands, there are times when they are placed somewhere and forgotten about, causing semi-chaos in the wake of finding them again. With Cobra Tag, you can find your phone easily, and rest assured that you can pick up your business where you left off. Cobra Tag is both a device and smartphone app that work in tandem to assist you in locating your device by communicating and setting alarms when you've traveled too far away from your smartphone.
In addition to the built-in alarm, you can make your cell phone ring from the tag and vice-versa, and you can opt to get a map link to the location of your lost phone for easy tracking.
7: MicroSD memory card
Many smartphones today have memory card slots. With an increase in productivity when it comes to our phones, having additional memory available is never a bad thing. Expand your phone storage by 2GB, 4GB, or more. You can find some of these memory cards for under $10.00 (USD), making this item a must-have because, well, why not?
8: Car mount for GPS navigation
Many people use their smartphones as a GPS system, because there numerous free apps available. We should be safe about it, though. To keep from constantly looking down at your smartphone to navigate (even those voice navigators can be confusing), a car mount is perfect. Station your smartphone on your windshield or dashboard for easy reference and use. This also allows you to keep two hands on the steering wheel and your eyes on the road.
9: Battery extender pack
As previously mentioned, batteries die fairly fast when you're out on business. While an additional battery may very well be a great item to have for those days when you just can't keep a charge due to overuse, a battery extender pack gets the job done as well. Extender packs are great when you're on the go, have lost your charger, have another device hooked up to the only available charger, and a number of other scenarios. An extended battery pack may make your phone more bulky and heavier, but it can more than double your battery life.
10: Bluetooth speakerphones
If you spend a lot of time in your car, consider investing in a Bluetooth speaker set with in-car media streaming. Some speakerphones allow you to make phone hands-free calls while driving by simply connecting via Bluetooth to your car's stereo. There are even in-car speakerphones that include voice-activated call commands, including the ability to have conference calls. Another option on some speakerphones is to enable your GPS with the device. Take advantage of a higher-level functionality and receive GPS instructions while listening to music and planning your next business call.
Weeding through the countless smartphone accessories on the market can be time-consuming, but these essential accessories are critical for business professionals who spend their time conducting business over the phone or away from a central office. What other phone accessories do you think are must-haves for mobile workers? Share your opinion in the discussion thread below.
This guest post was written by Jennifer Cepero, a techie and freelance writer who enjoys sharing her love of everything tech with the world.