September 12, 2011 | last updated June 1, 2012 10:43 am

Technology products get the most out of smart phones, tablets

Spiderpodium tablet grip and travel dock from Breffo (above). Post-it PopNotes app from 3M (below).
Phone Geadset Buddy.

When it comes to mobile phone service, the United States is stuck in the 1990s compared to Europe and Asia. That point was driven home for me when my brother-in-law showed me his iPhone in the summer of 2010 that had a business and personal line on it.

That made me sputter somewhat with indignation. Ever try and sputter in Spanish? Not as easy as it sounds.

Well, Line2, the first and only tri-mode VoIP/Cell calling app in the world, has solved that problem for me and others who want to keep their personal and work phones separate. It allows iPhone and Android operating system users to have two lines on their smart phones.

One of the great advantages of the Line2 system is it works wherever you have a WiFi signal. In spite of Verizon and AT&T claims to the contrary, there are still areas with dead spots in the Northeast. Plus, the WiFi capability helps you inside buildings that like to squash mobile phone reception.

Peter Sisson, CEO of Line2, says that is a primary reason some people will add the $10 a month phone number to their smart phones for basic service. (A full-service PBX style line is available for $15.)

"People use it because they don't have good cell reception," he said, during a phone interview conducted over his iPad. Yep, Line 2 can also make your iPad a phone with unlimited calling and texting available. "With the built-in speaker and microphone, it's a great phone," Sisson added with amazing clarity.

Probably the most intriguing feature for business users is the capability to add an 800 number that allows employees and customers to keep in touch for free (for those who are still paying long distance charges). "We're the only way to get an 800 number on your cell phone," Sisson said. "We create a true telephone line experience."

There's another feature that makes Line2 appealing: free portability. Users can move an existing phone number to Line2 for no cost. Sisson also points out that Google Voice offers no portability and retains the right to the phone number it provides you.

Speaking of Spain, the app's Wi-Fi capabilities allow international travelers to place and receive calls while overseas without incurring voice or data roaming charges. When using Line2 over Wi-Fi, calls to any number back home will be free as will calls to other Line2 users, wherever they are worldwide.

More information is available at either the Apple App store or the Android App store online.

Spiderpodium tablet

Once in a while a product comes along that can be admired for its simplicity. Such is the case with the Spiderpodium Tablet from Breffo.

It's a universal gadget grip and travel dock product that folds up flat in your laptop bag for traveling. The Spiderpodium Tablet stand is compatible with all tablet type products, including the Apple iPad.

Basically, it's an eight-leg device (hence the Spider name) with notches that securely grab your tablet. You can then adjust the legs for various needs. It's easy to set up with my clumsy fingers accomplishing the task in less than five minutes.

In my testing, the Spiderpodium Tablet was used to type some emails on an iPad and provided a firm writing surface with the keyboard angled correctly. With the Spiderpodium, users can grip, stand, hang, or attach a tablet device virtually anywhere with a single accessory. It's going to especially come in handy for keeping the kiddies entertained on long car rides.

There is one potential downside to the Spiderpodium Tablet stand (and its sibling, the Spiderpodium that works on smart phones) is can be mounted to your front dash — ostensibly as a navigation device. That means, though, it can also be used to view movies, check email, and text easily while driving.

The tablet version costs $34.95 while the smart phone version is going to set you back $19.99.

More information is available at

Post-its for Your iPhone

The absent-minded among us are fond of using Post-its along the borders of our desktops, which reminds me there is an American Express bill coming due. Anyway, the great fallibility of smart phones is no place to place Post-its.

That is until now.

The folks at 3M have launched the Post-it PopNotes App. Available within the U.S. for free at the iTunes App Store, the Post-it PopNotes App features geo-triggered technology that allows people to create and place digital Post-it Notes virtually anywhere.

They look just like Post-it notes on your screen with various colors for the organized among us. As for the rest of us, the set up is easy and you might even find yourself becoming more organized.

More information is available at the iTunes App Store.

Phone Headset Buddy

The Phone Headset Buddy is a device that allows a phone headset (single 2.5mm plug) to be used on a laptop (dual 3.5mm plug) or smartphone/blackberry/iPhone (single 3.5mm plug). Admit it, we've seen those folks struggling with headphones next to us on the plane or train.

Now you can look as smooth as an iPhone/iPad owner.

You no longer need to buy a separate headset to take on the go or travel with a laptop or trying to use ineffective smartphone headsets. Simply plug your headset into the Headset Buddy and then the Headset Buddy into the laptop or smartphone. It retails for $12.95.

For more information, go to

Low priced mega storage

Other World Computing recently announced the addition of a $129.99 60GB capacity model.

The new SandForce Driven model uses Tier 1/Grade A NAND, to deliver 556MB/s read and 523MB/s write sustained data rates for over seven times faster performance than a standard factory hard drive found in Mac and PC computers.

For more information, go to

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