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Students Equipped With Latest Gadgets

According to the National Retail Federation, college students spend $8.2 billion on electronics to get them through the semester. Now these products have grown in sophistication, just like the students toting them. With increasing class workloads and demanding social schedules, it makes sense that students have turned to mobile computing to help keep track of their hectic lives. Replacing piles of paper, reference books and Post-it notes with handhelds-such as the Palm TX with built-in Wi-Fi-keeps students organized and in sync when they are away from their dorm room. Handhelds make things such as taking notes, e-mailing the professor questions and carrying around electronic research-rather than heavy reference books-a breeze.

Combine the TX handheld with a wireless keyboard and students have a cheaper and more portable alternative to a laptop. In-box software also makes it easy to write essays using Microsoft Word, finish homework with Excel spreadsheets or even practice a presentation using PowerPoint. In addition to handhelds, the National Retail Federation found that 85 percent of college students own a cell phone and 60 percent of them access the Internet through it. Students are demanding smarter phones with more features-they want it all (e-mail, instant messaging, Web access, Microsoft Office applications, streaming video and audio and more). These cell phones on steroids, called "smartphones," are the newest trend.

According to In-Stat, the smartphone market grew over 70 percent last year and will continue to grow significantly during the next five years. Palm, Inc. alone, makers of the very popular Treo line of smartphones, has sold millions. Thanks to high-speed networks, data speeds (used for getting e-mail, surfing the Net or for streaming video) on these smartphones are now as fast as the traditional DSL connections commonly used in homes and businesses. Today, using the newest smartphones, students can perform a Google search while soaking up sun in the quad, listen to live radio broadcasts in the library or watch their favorite television programs from video streaming off the Internet. Thanks to these latest gadgets, tech-savvy students will be able to keep track of everything from sports practice to dates on Friday night, all in something that will easily fit in their pocket. Today's savvy students appreciate high-tech handhelds.


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