Sure, summer’s here and fun in the sun has surged ahead of zombies and vampires as the nation’s number-one obsession. But Labor Day will be here before you know it, so, it’s time to get a jump on back-to-school shopping. And we’re not talking clothes. Here are four can’t-miss tech essentials to get your school year started off right.
Hook Up Your PC with Droid Apps
Your Droid is much more than a smartphone. How else can you juggle your social schedule, text and tweet updates on your amazing life, and still nail all your school assignments? Well, here’s a way to take your Droid dexterity to the next level: Use your favorite Droid apps on your PC or notebook computer. It’s finally possible with the Bluestacks App Player. This software (which is free when you sign up to be a beta tester) lets you run your favorite Android apps fast and full screen on Windows PCs and tablets. Alchemy, Angry Birds Space, Air Attack HD. If the application is free for Android, now it’s free on your PC too. How smart is that? Bluestacks blew away the judges at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. In fact, they named it the best new software of 2012.
Free download: Bluestacks
Channel Your Inner Skrillex with Virtual DJ Audio Mixing Software
After a grueling day at school, it’s time to mix it up a bit—literally, with your own mind-blowing remix. David Guetta. Dead Mous5. Swedish House Mafia. They’ve all got it going. And now it’s your turn to polish your DJ skills and start producing professional-quality mixes with the home edition of Virtual DJ. The best thing is, this audio mixing software is FREE. It includes beat-aware effects, a remix sampler, timeline editing, netsearch libraries, and other hot features to take you and your mix to the next level. If you really get into it, you can upgrade to more advanced versions.
Free download: Virtual DJ
Get a Charge Out of Going Green
School can be draining—especially on your digital devices. But here’s some good news: There’s something that can reduce your dependence on the grid while keeping your digital devices topped off. The OffGrid Solar Backpack has a removable solar pocket (with two waterproof, 2- Watt solar panels) that can be attached to virtually any device for charging. It’s got all the pockets you need for school life, including 1,500 cubic inches of storage space, a padded laptop sleeve, and a phone pouch. This rugged 4.5-pound bag is made from recycled PET (soda bottles). It comes with 5 standard adapters and supports both 6- and 12-volt devices. One hour in the sun will provide about three hours of mobile phone talk time. Best parental pitch? “You know how frustrating it is when you can’t reach me because my phone battery dies!”
Voltaic OffGrid Solar Backpack $229
Thin is in With Ultra Hip Ultrabooks™ and Laptops
When it comes to notebooks, there really are only two categories: Hip and lame. Here’s how to make sure your next computer doesn’t fall in the latter category. Ultra light Ultrabooks™ do so much more than tablets—with only a little more weight. And the new Vizio Thin + Lights are real Ultrabook head-turners. These stylin’ systems are available with 14″ or 15.6″ high-resolution displays—clearly built for entertainment. What’s more, they offer up to 7 hours of battery life, performance-tuned SRS Premium Sound HD™, and serious performance for gaming, video editing, sound mixing or, um, school assignments.
There are also plenty of awesome laptops powered by visibly smart Intel® Core™ processors. While they weigh a bit more, they still deliver amazing performance and stunning visuals for a better experience that you can both see and feel. Just think about the awesome, attention-getting, drool-inducing multimedia presentations you can create for class. There’s one for every budget, too. So while you’re selling your parents on the idea, you might want to mention that Ultrabooks and Intel-powered laptops are available at Walmart and Amazon.com at very competitive prices.
$329 — $1,248 MSRP
What’s on your wish list this back to school season?
Alejandra Carvallo is currently Manager of shopping marketing with responsibility for demand generation in the US. Alex joined Intel Americas in 2005, as Manager of the Consumer Marketing Campaign for Hispanics in the USA. She has over 15 years of hi-tech marketing experience creating successful campaigns for a electronic products. She has worked in both South America and the US for Alcatel, Stanford Telecom and Bell Canada. A native Venezuelan, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering from the Simon Bolivar University, Caracas, and obtained her MBA from Regis University, Denver. Alex spends her days being a marketing expert for intel and being a wife and mom of two for her family, always striking the work/life balance – trying to, at least. You can follow her at @AlexAtIntel.