Slideshow

10 products changing the business world

You say you want a revolution? These products and services are changing the way we work at our desks and on the road.

  • Google (GOOG) Apps Watch out, Microsoft (MSFT) Office. Google Apps, the search giant's cloud-based productivity suite, is working its way into the business world. In addition, tools such as Google Voice enable small businesses to look bigger by giving them a single phone number that reaches multiple phones. New, affordable versions of the apps for government offices, as well as improved protection against phishing and malware threats, make Google Apps a worthy challenger to Microsoft's venerable suite.
  • Business tech is advancing rapidly, and a select group of products is leading the charge. So what's new? Cloud-based office suites and file sharing, touchscreen tablets, and videoconferencing are at the forefront of today's workplace transformation. If you're looking for a quick productivity boost, consider the offerings described in this slideshow.

  • Dropbox This popular share-and-sync online service is ridiculously easy to use. Simply place your files in a Dropbox folder on one computer, and they're uploaded to a secure server. You can access your files from other Dropbox-equipped computers and mobile devices, too. The first 2GB of storage is free, and you can buy more.
  • Apple (AAPL) iPad Apple's innovative tablet has turned out to be more than just a big iPod Touch. The iPad is entering the business world as more enterprises recognize its potential. Thousands of apps and an ergonomic touch interface make the iPad a winner. Even better, a smaller, camera-equipped model may arrive soon.
  • Drobo Data Robotics' series of easy-to-manage network storage devices are ideal for small and home offices, and they're a hit with Mac users. A Drobo box is brain-dead simple to set up, and sharing files across a network is just as straightforward. Drobo's SOHO sensibilities make it unique in offering storage for nontechies.
  • Windows 7 Windows Vista couldn't persuade businesses to upgrade from Windows XP, but Windows 7 is having far greater success. True, Microsoft is forcing the issue by winding down its XP support, but Windows 7 does offer security advantages for enterprises. The folks in Redmond got it right this time. Hurrah!
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab Samsung's sleek slate has blockbuster potential in the business world. The Galaxy Tab, with its 7-inch touchscreen, fills a void between smartphones and iPad-size tablets. Its starter OS, Android 2.2, really isn't tablet-friendly, though; to shine brightly, the Galaxy Tab will need the upcoming Android 3.0.
  • Apple iPhone 4 The latest iPhone may not be perfect, but its clever innovations earned it a spot on our list of the top 10 phones nonetheless. Its front-facing camera and FaceTime video-chat app, for instance, could revolutionize corporate meetings, particularly if FaceTime beats the odds and becomes an industry standard. Business travel, we will miss you.
  • HP Photosmart eStation The detachable 7-inch Android tablet that comes with HP's newest printer is grabbing headlines, but the real story is the printer itself: The Photosmart eStation has business-friendly benefits such as wireless connectivity and two-sided printing. The tablet lets you control the eStation remotely and print Web pages without a PC.
  • Microsoft Office 2010 Microsoft's desktop office suite keeps getting better, although its Web-based counterpart is junk. Office 2010 offers numerous productivity perks, including a customizable "Ribbon" interface, better built-in graphics tools, and improved malware protection. And PowerPoint's new Broadcast feature is great for displaying slideshows on remote clients' computers.
  • iGo Portable Projector iGo's pocket-size projector is designed for Cisco's Flip video cameras, but it will connect to laptops and smartphones, too. The $350 iGo projects videos at screen sizes up to 70 inches diagonally. It comes with an HDMI cable (mini-to-mini), and holds a MicroSD memory card (up to 32GB). The iGo ships in October.
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