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Hot New Mobile Accessories for Your Summer Travels

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Mobile is one of the fastest growing technologies, but just because it’s made for a smartphone doesn’t mean it’s smart. We asked our gadget expert Phil Baker to look at some of the latest mobile accessories to see if they actually improve the user experience.

Mobile is hot as can be right now. Google acquired Motorola to build mobile devices and Facebook stock has suffered because it has no mobile strategy. Mobile products, of course, refer to the technology we carry with us, including smartphones, notebook computers, tablets, eReaders, music players and more.

Accessories for these mobile devices is a category that’s also growing. But with so many companies producing so much of the same thing, it’s difficult to choose. Here are some of the latest accessories that I’ve tried and found worthwhile.

For the Car: Hands-Free Mounts
Just Mobile’s Xtand Go is a compact, well-designed mount for securing your iPhone 4 on your windshield or dashboard while you drive. It has built-in adjustments for holding it at just the right angle in either portrait or landscape mode. It’s great for use in rental cars when you want to use your phone as a GPS. ($39.95).

Have a spare cup holder?  Bracketron’s Universal Tablet Cup Holder Mount is an industrial looking smartphone holder that sits at the end of an articulating arm that can be positioned at almost any height and angle. The holder is adjustable, allowing it to fit nearly all smartphones with or without a case. It has an adjustable base that cleverly fits into any cup holder. It’s much larger and less elegant than the Just Mobile product, but provides greater flexibility.  ($50,

On the Go: Cases & More

M-Edge’s Incline Jacket is a folding suede and leather case for the new iPad that protects both the front and the back. The iPad snaps into its mounting system, a clear plastic bracket attached to the inside of the back cover. The bracket can rotate and slide, allowing the iPad to stand in three different positions in landscape mode and two in portrait, and take pictures with it in the case. ($50,

Elago makes some of most attractive accessory products I’ve come across, and at very affordable prices. Its iPhone 4 cases, for example, are very minimalistic, with thin walls that add no bulk or weight to the phone. They’re beautifully molded and finished in a variety of colors and patterns, yet start at less than $10. I’m currently using its Breath case. Other products include a stylus for the iPad with a replaceable tip, tiny SD card readers, and bumper cases for the iPad. Products are designed both in their San Diego office and in South Korea where they are manufactured.