by Tom Kaneshige

10 Coolest Tech Devices to Bring to Work

Apr 17, 20124 mins
Consumer ElectronicsMobileSmall and Medium Business

While smartphones and tablets have stirred the bring-your-own-device crowd to action lately, employees have been bringing their own tech gadgets to work for years. Here's a look at some of the coolest BYOD tech, past and present.

Echo Smartpen: A Hot Mic

It happens all the time: You’re taking notes with a pen and notepad, scribbling furiously, when you begin missing important details. If the pen you’re using is an Echo Smartpen, just push a button and the pen records sound digitally. Inconspicuous recording devices, however, may land you in hot water — nobody likes being recorded unknowingly.

Trickle Down iPad

A recent Gartner report found 41 percent of 229 CEOs surveyed use iPads at work. So why can’t you? The iPad has become the BYOD’s piece de resistance, and people are finding all sorts of ways to use the iPad at work. Just don’t play Angry Birds all day or else you’ll soon be using the iPad to look for a new job.

Got Hot Coffee?

Here’s an oldie but goodie: an electric coffee cup warmer. You’ll probably end up using this BYOD gadget at work most of all. Unfortunately, you’ll have to bring one from home. There are plenty of electric coffee cup warmers on the market, but you should get one that automatically shuts off. You don’t want to come to work the next day with burnt coffee in your favorite mug.

Dancing with Co-Workers: Jambox

Not all BYOD gives CIOs fits. Some even sound nice. Silicon Valley workers find room in their cubicles for Jambox, a portable wireless speaker that packs up to 85 decibels of hi-fi punch. It also works well in conference rooms. The incredible sound isn’t an IT problem, although HR might have something to say about it.

Monster Beats by Dr. Dre

If stodgy co-workers complain about Jambox, music-loving employees will have to pick up Monster Beats by Dr. Dre. Anyone who has tried these awesome headphones really can’t live without them. Are they good for work? Absolutely. Try coding while listening to classical music, and watch your performance improve while job stress simply melts away.

The Stealthy Mac Mini

A few years ago, a CIO told me he found a rogue server underneath an employee’s desk. The employee and his research team were conducting development projects that they didn’t want IT to know about. Today, a Mac Mini can do the trick. For cloud development, the OpenStack Group suggests three or four $500 laptops to use as a test server cluster. That’s some serious BYOD!

Nike+ Sportband

Skip that Godzilla burrito for lunch and go for a walk. Make sure to bring your Nike+ Sportband to measure your progress. When you get back to your desk, you’ll feel so much better. Or you can inhale the burrito and feel full and sleepy and blah. In fact, companies should give free Nike+ Sportbands to employees.

Secret Agent Thumb Drive

Feeling a bit like James Bond? Stealthy workers can slip a tiny thumb drive into the USB port and download data to take with them. Of course, IT wasn’t fooled. Software can track such downloads. Or IT can simply disable the USB ports. (Contrary to popular belief, IT isn’t out to destroy the world — so relax all you secret agent wannabees.)

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Smartphones: iPhone, Android, Windows

It seems nearly everyone has a smartphone these days. Most of these consumer phones receive corporate email and run a multitude of work-related apps. Smartphones are the epitome of BYOD. We’re talking, of course, about the popular iPhone, Android phones and the new Microsoft-Nokia Lumia 900 phones. The often corporate-issued BlackBerry just doesn’t look right on a BYOD list.

Nokia Lumia 900: Why It’s the Best Windows Phone

Red Swingline Stapler, Milton Style

In honor of the great tech geek Milton of “Office Space,” make sure to bring your own red Swingline Stapler to work. So when the corporate hounds try to take it away, you can tell them, “Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler.” That’s what BYOD is all about!