When you replace your Android phone, should you have to replace your phone music dock/recharger too?
Maybe not. The iLuv MobiAir iMM377 accommodates a variety of Android phones regardless of which side of the phone the mini USB plug is on or which way it is facing.
The mini USB plug in the dock rotates so it can accommodate a device, no matter which direction its plug faces. A sliding set of gripping arms can be adjusted to fit any number of different devices. It worked fine with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2, an oversize phone, and it can take a 7-inch tablet, but it won't fit a full size 10-inch one.
It's a compact unit, roughly 5 by 10 by 2 inches, and it sounds bigger than it is. Still, you won't fill your dorm room with pumping dance party sounds using the iMM377.
You can also connect to the dock using Bluetooth, which was easy to do. The iMM377 is $120 online from iLuv.
— ROY FURCHGOTT
Using a smaller screen with Magellan's GPS car kit
Magellan may be best known for its dashboard GPS navigation products, particularly dashboard hogs like the Magellan RoadMate 9250T-LMB with its 7-inch screen.
But now it is making a product that helps bring a small screen to your dashboard, a GPS car kit that adds a more powerful antenna, speaker and charging for an iPhone 3G S, 4 and 4S, as well as the third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch. (No, it doesn't work with the new iPhone 5.)
The $100 cradle has a 30-pin connector at the bottom and a secure ratcheting clamp at the top. There is even an adjustable bumper to push up against the back of the phone so it won't rattle around. The whole assembly attaches to a suction cup mount that sticks on your windshield.
In a test, the car kit produced directions a little bit faster than the unmounted iPhone.
Of course, Magellan would prefer that you use it with its $50 navigation app, which happens to be quite useful. But you are not limited to its app. The cradle will work with any navigation software.
— ROY FURCHGOTT
A PLUSH FINGER PUPPET TO WIPE YOUR SCREEN CLEAN
There are many products for cleaning electronic screens, like liquid sprays, microfiber cloths and such. But Unplugged Goods has a product to keep you from smudging your screens in the first place.
Its Screenster is every bit as ridiculous as it is cute.
It is a plush finger puppet. When you swipe your puppet-adorned finger across the screen of your phone or tablet, you won't leave body oils behind.
Screenster has a cartoonish plush animal head with emoticon symbols sewn on. There is a happy face, a sad face, a cat face, a look of shock and one of happy surprise.
You may be wondering if you will look silly having a plush character wrapped around your index finger. Yes, you will. Maybe only a little sillier than you will feel paying $8 for the Screenster.
If you would rather just wipe your screens down like a more garden-variety obsessive neatnik, Unplugged Goods makes microfiber screen wipes, also with appliquÃ5/8d emoticon faces. The pads are called Undusts, and a pair, microsuede on one side and "media fur" on the other, sell for $13.
— ROY FURCHGOTT
A STATUESQUE SPEAKER, NOT WITHOUT SHORTCOMINGS
The Zikmu Solo, a stereo speaker tower from Parrot, a mobile products maker based in Paris, has a sleek look that is sure to turn heads at parties.
Designed by Philippe Starck, the French product designer and architect, the Zikmu Solo produces balanced stereo sound through a speaker on each side, a third in the front and a woofer in the base. Atop the tower, which stands about 30 inches high, is a dock for an iPod or iPhone.
The tower also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capability for those who prefer to stream their music and maintain the aesthetic appeal of the tower, which comes in five colors and costs $1,000.
While it looks great as the centerpiece of a room and sounds amazing, connecting it wirelessly through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is daunting. It's easier to dock an iPod on top of the tower and hit play.
Parrot created an app for iOS devices that allows users to adjust the audio settings of the Zikmu Solo. Unfortunately, the app is not ready yet.
— GREGORY SCHMIDT