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Tools of the Trade: October 2020

By Michael Castelluccio
October 1, 2020
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1. MICROSOFT SURFACE DUO

 

At its 2019 Surface event, Microsoft showed two unique dual-screen mobiles, one with a phone and the other composed of two joined tablets. The company is now taking orders on the smallerSurface Duo, a compact PC that doubles as a phone. Described as a mobile device, it features the best of Microsoft 365, all the Android apps in the Google Play store, and a phone—all running on Android 10. The sturdy hinge allows 360° rotation so the Duo can be opened in a book mode, a laptop mode with keyboard on the bottom half, a tent mode for video calls, and a peek mode that, when partially opened, offers a quick look at new emails and notifications on the right-hand screen. The AMOLED screens are touch screens that can display two different apps at once or a wide view of one app across both screens. The Duo comes loaded with Microsoft Office and a wide selection of Windows apps, including Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Edge, OneNote, and more. Also installed are more than 20 Google apps, including Search, Maps, Play, Chrome, Gmail, and more. The screens measure 8.1″ when opened together. Separately, each is 5.6″. www.microsoft.com

 

2. REMARKABLE 2

 

Three years ago, the Norwegian company reMarkable launched a digital notebook that was as close to writing on paper as it gets. Using eInk technology, no backlighting, and a stylus with nibs that feel and wear like a graphite pencil, the metal-backed slates took handwritten notes that could be saved in the cloud and were retrievable on any of your digital devices. The software can convert your handwritten notes, whether in cursive or block letters, to text, and you can edit and take notes on PDF and ePub documents. It’s readable in bright sunlight. The folder and file system is easy to use, and there’s a wide range of editing tools, including cut and paste, layers, and the ability to erase or move blocks of text. Most importantly, though, it feels like you’re writing on paper, not glass. Version 2 is now twice as responsive, has three times the battery life, adds USB connectivity, and is 30% thinner than the original. www.remarkable.com

 

3. YUBIKEY 5C NFC

 

The Yubico line of security keys protects your data by replacing text-based, two-factor authentication for passwords with a physical key. The keys eliminate the need to reach for your phone when signing in to computers, networks, and online services. Now there’s a new YubiKey 5C NFC, which is the company’s first security key that offers the option of USB-C or NFC (short-range wireless connectivity) for your mobiles and desktops. The NFC provides tap-and-go authentication for multiple devices and all major browsers and operating systems. The key supports iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, and Linux. www.yubico.com

 

4. SATECHI POWER BANK

 

The Satechi Quatro Wireless Power Bank has USB ports and Qi for connecting and charging a variety of your Apple devices. The Quatro has a dedicated Apple Watch charger, Qi wireless for your iPhone and compatible AirPods wireless charging case, and both USB-A and USB-C ports. With USB-PD, the new power delivery protocol for faster charging, it can also charge an iPad Pro or fast-charge an iPhone 11. The charger weighs 13 oz., and it measures 6.4″ × 2.9″ × 0.7″, small enough to take with you. An LED indicator lights when charging. You can check the specs on the website for a complete list of compatible devices (Apple and others). www.satechi.com

 

Michael Castelluccio has been the Technology Editor for Strategic Finance for 25 years. His SF Technotes blog is in its 22nd year. You can contact Mike at mcastelluccio@imanet.org.


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