The way we do business is evolving, letting you work effectively from your bedroom or home office. As a result, notions of business casual have changed, morphing from polos and khakis to tighty whiteys and slippers. The iRobot Ava 500 ($2,500 a month) is part of that change, making it possible to work from anywhere and still be seen in the office — just make sure you're decent from the waist up. A collaboration between iRobot and Cisco, it features a rolling base with a 21-inch HD screen, video camera, and WiFi connectivity (so your colleagues can see you and you can see them). You control it from anywhere using an iPad, enabling you to catch up with coworkers at the water cooler or attend a board meeting, all without leaving your apartment, or putting on pants.
If you're looking for buttons on the side of this phone, think again — the LG G2 Smartphone ($TBA) changes things up a bit by moving them to the back of the device, making the phone more ergonomic so you're less likely to drop it. They've also upped the ante with a 5.2-inch full-HD display (the largest of any smartphone in its class), a 13 megapixel rear-facing camera, and a 2.26GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. It sports some exciting user experience features like a pared-down guest mode, a programmable remote that can operate devices in your home, and a phone that answers automatically when you raise it to your ear.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 ($300) changes everything we know about photography on a mobile device — and will likely become the new benchmark for smartphone cameras. It boasts a 41 megapixel camera (no that wasn't a typo), with optical image stabilization, a xenon flash, and Nokia Pro Camera software for expert image editing. That huge sensor captures images at 7712 x 5360 resolution, so no matter how far you are from your subject, you'll be able to crop and zoom to create an image like you were right there. And, because it's powered by Windows Phone 8, you'll be able to share those gorgeous shots with all your friends.
If you're the kind of guy who doesn't want his stuff to look quite like everyone else's, then the Jolla Smartphone ($520) might be the one for you. Interchangeable backs — referred to as "the other half" — come in a range of colors, and automatically force the phone's UI to adopt a complementary color scheme. Ships with their Android-app compatible, yet proprietary Sailfish OS, a dual core processor, 4G connectivity, and 16GB of storage. The battery is user-replaceable, and the phone features a 4.5-inch screen and 8MP camera.
If there's one thing Sony is known best for, it's making gorgeous displays, and at 6.4-inches the Sony Xperia Z Ultra ($TBA) has the largest and slimmest full HD display of any smartphone. In case your phones always seem to find their way into a body of water (or a beverage), it's also waterproof — so there's no need to junk it up with a bulky case. This Android smartphone comes with a 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, and 4GLTE, so it's ready to handle just about any gaming, professional, or video application.
And you thought your phone had a kick-ass camera. Packing a revolutionary 41 megapixel sensor, the Nokia 808 PureView ($TBA) redefines what's possible with a camera phone. In standard resolutions — 2, 3, 5, or 8 megapixels — advanced algorithms are used to combine multiple pixels into one, while allowing for crystal clear zooming. At high resolutions — up to a 38 megapixel maximum — you can crop, reframe, and resize to your heart's content. Yeah, it's a little chunky, and yes, it's disappointingly powered by Symbian, but for imaging technology this crazy, it might be worth the tradeoff.
Forget its lame 4510L name — there's really only one name for the MiFi 4510L 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot ($100), and that's speed. Offering downloads of up to 12 Mbps and uploads of up to 5 Mbps on Verizon's LTE network, this portable hotspot is ready to supply up to five Wi-Fi devices with broadband-like data goodness, and sports other goodies like 802.11n, an eInk display with status indicators, backwards compatibility with 3G, and up to five hours of battery life — or more time than you need to be spending on your iPad in a single sitting anyway.
While we're not ready to tell you to ditch your existing home broadband connection — something that Sprint humorously suggests — we're pretty sure the Sprint Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot ($100) will replace nearly any Internet connection you've got. Serving as a 4G modem, switching back to 3G when the faster network isn't available, the Overdrive shares its connection with up to five devices via Wi-Fi, and also sports a built-in battery that lets you use it on the road to keep your laptop, handheld, and other devices online.
With support for two phone lines, a high-end full-duplex speakerphone, and more, the Bang & Olufsen BeoCom 5 ($TBA) might just be the world's best cordless telephone. It supports IP telephony alongside a regular landline, and features full customization — including color scheme and ringtone — on the cordless handset, as well as a gorgeous aluminum speaker phone meant to make conversations sound as real as possible, even when multiple people are talking. Just don't expect it to come cheap.
If that virtual keyboard is giving you thumb-splints, it's time to check out the Peek Pronto Mobile Messaging Device ($80). Small and stylish, the Peek weighs in at just under 4oz., and sports a full QWERTY keyboard for fast, responsive input without the pain. The updated Peek adds a ton of features, like push email, Microsoft Exchange support, unlimited texting, and access for up to five email accounts. Best of all, the new Peek can view documents, pictures, and PDF files. It's the perfect, pint-sized, portable office.
Isn't it time desktop phones start catching up to the utility offered by today's powerful smartphones? The touchscreen-based Verizon Hub ($200; Release date TBA) takes a huge step in this direction, with widget-style traffic, weather, directions, pizza ordering and movie trailer functionality, the ability to add contacts and calendar events remotely, and visual voicemail. [via]
If you're still holding on to your landline, consider upgrading your home handset with the VTech LS5145 Bluetooth Phone System ($150). This sleek system uses 5.8GHz technology for clear calls, supports both photo caller ID and Bluetooth to connect with your cell phone, and features a built-in answering system, a color LCD display, and the ability to work with up to 12 handsets.