Go-go gadgets: Making technology fashionable
Stylish accessories for everyday tech devices
(CNN) -- Style may not be commonly associated with electronic devices, such as personal digital assitants (PDAs), laptops and cell phones, but several companies are creating fashionable and functional accessories to help change this view.
Observers have a variety of recommendations on choosing the proper addition.
Fit is the first thing people should consider when looking for a stylish case for their gadget, said Sher Meagher, senior merchandiser for Ebags.com. Knowing the measurements or size of the device is critical, she said. Most cases are designed for specific devices.
Functionality is key, added Michael Lasky, senior editor of features at PC World magazine. While style is important, he said consumers should check out how well the case will protect their device if it's dropped or jostled.
Gadget gurus Julie Strietelmeier and Judie Clark of The-Gadgeteer.com say that researching different brands will always yield the best results when searching for that perfect accessory. Determining your needs, preferences and what you're willing to spend also helps to simplify the buying process.
One of the easiest ways to make your PDA more stylish is to add an intriguing case.
"Why buy an expensive device and then stick it in a vinyl pouch, when you can show it off in a chic case?" Laskey asked. PDA cases are available in a number of different materials, including metals, synthetics and leather.
RhinoSkin is best known for its line of aluminum and titanium hard cases. These sleek cases are ideal for those who are looking for a stylish product with maximum protection for their PDA.
Willing to spend a bit more? A number of luxury and designer PDA cases are available for you. Companies such as Coach and Dooney & Bourke, which are traditionally known for their signature bags, have added tech accessories such as PDA cases to their lines.
The Coach signature cases are equipped with features such as a velcro attachment for the PDA, a multipurpose pocket and stylus loop. These cases are available in a number of classic colors and prints that would coordinate well with a matching Coach purse or briefcase.
Dooney & Bourke's line of cases are equally exquisite and have a variety of stylish device specific cases. These leather goods are a great accessory for those that like to exude an aura of classic style.
Starting in the fall, Ebags.com will launch a feature on their site that will allow consumers to "build their own" PDA case. This is perfect for the consumer who can't seem to find a case that fits all of their needs. The technology will allow the customer to go step by step through the process of selecting shape, style, features and the exterior material.
Customized stylus pens are another accessory that can help individualize the look of your tech device. World-renowned pen manufacturer Cross has entered the technology arena with their collection of sleek styli compatible with a number of different PDAs.
A few bags that stand out include Crumpler's "Very Busy Man" large laptop bag. The innovative shape and style of this carrier is a far cry from the first laptop bags on the scene years ago. The highly durable and functional bags are perfect for college students and others who are looking for a funky-looking bag.
Trager's Hipster mid-sized laptop case mixes style with a classic look that can be taken from the office to an after-work event. Some key features of this bag include the exterior cell phone pocket, which allows for "quick-draw" access.
According to PC World's Lasky, convertible backpacks that have both a shoulder strap and back straps are some of the most requested types of computer bags on the market today.
Shaun Jackson offers the innovative "Backoffice" case, which converts from a comfortable, padded backpack to a single shoulder vertical briefcase -- perfect for travel. Once you're settled, this classically stylish bag opens to create a well-organized portable office.
Cell phone accessories
Cell phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Nokia offer consumers the ability to stylize certain phones by using interchangeable bezels and face plates. The look of Motorola's V70 phone can easily be enhanced by adding a honey glow or sable colored bezel. Nokia also offers a number of funky face plates in different colors and patterns.
Carriers are another option for dressing up cell phones. Vaja is an Argentine company that manufactures innovative leather cases for tech devices, including very stylish horizontal cell phone pouches. Vaja also offers customers more than 100,000 options for customizing their own case according to their personal taste and needs.
Other stylish phone cases on the market come from J.P. Ourse & Cie's "Yellowstone Collection." These fully lined carriers come in a variety of brightly colored leather cases and have a pocket to stash business cards.
Incase's "UNI-Cell" is a compact cushioned case, which can add a new look to your phone at a very reasonable price.
As with PDA cases, a number of designer carriers are available. Louis Vuitton's cases come with the designer's signature logo, a removable clasp and optional shoulder strap.
Precious jewels and detailed finishes can add a luxurious sense of style to any object. Designer John Hardy and the Daughter Judie Fine Company both use diamonds, rhinestones and other gems to create truly dazzling and unique accessories for tech devices.
John Hardy's handcrafted jeweled earpieces are perfect for consumers who want to add a little "sparkle" to their cell phone earpieces. "I get such a fantastic buzz converting something ordinary and utilitarian, into beautiful personal jewelry," Hardy said. "Ear Candy" is the designer's term for these sterling silver earbuds, which have been seen on stars such as Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna and Beyonce Knowles of Destiny's Child.
These pieces are available in a number of different designs and are produced using a variety of precious and semi-precious stones such as diamond pave and black and white sapphires. Compatible with both Nokia and Motorola brands, these lavish accessories range in price from approximately $195 to $1,900 and are available at the luxury e-tailer Vivre.com.
The Daughter Judie Fine PDA Styli Company has been making customized styli since October 2000.
These customizable styli can be ordered in sterling silver, 14- and 18-karat white and yellow gold and platinum. Gemstones and initials also can be added for an even more personalized product.
Prices range from $80 for the plain silver stylus pen to approximately $1000 for the sterling silver version with an 18-karat yellow gold bezel. Mounted in the bezel are 11 diamonds that surround a cabochon emerald. These distinctive styli can be ordered at styluscentral.com.
If you're tired of looking at the same boring mouse pad everyday, MouseRugs are an economical way to add a mini piece of art to your work area.
Created by scanning real hand-woven rugs, these pieces come in a number of different pattern styles.
Included with each MouseRug is a description of the design, origin and history of the "smart" print.
Bright colors and exotic materials can add some much needed flare to a PDA or cell phone case.
"Everyone is tired of plain old black cases," Sher Meagher said. "Putting a colored case in a basic bag updates the look of the piece."
Color is definitely Avoglio's distinctive edge in the world of PDA accessories. Made out of exotic ostrich and alligator leather, these luxury cases can be purchased in a variety of colors including chimney red, violet and yellow.
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