Top 3 Tools For the Mobile Office

As computers get smaller and more portable, and wireless internet becomes more and more ubiquitous, it's getting easier and easier to do you job from almost anywhere. A lot of people are working from home - or anyplace else they want - but to make the most of this setup, there are a few tools you should have. Let's take a look at my top 3.

To do this, you're obviously going to need a portable computer of some type. It's kind of a given, but this is going to be my number one item. And to make the most of your portable computer, whatever form it might take - laptop, netbook, iPad, etc. - you'll want to be sure that it has enough power to meet your needs.

If your job is primarily handled through email and the web, almost any portable machine will work. The iPad is the latest and greatest, but a netbook or practically any notebook computer will work equally well. The key is to get something small enough that it's easy to carry around, without being so small that you can't use it effectively.

The second most important tool in my arsenal is my smartphone. I prefer the iPhone, but there are several very good platforms to choose from. Blackberry makes a number of excellent smartphones, as does HTC and other manufacturers who are using Google's Android operating system.

Windows Mobile - soon to be Windows Phone Edition - is another choice in the market, but the platform has become extremely fragmented and has not really kept up with the rest of the market. When Windows Phone 7 is released, this may change but at this point I would stick with one of the other three.

When choosing your smartphone plan, make sure you get enough data included to fully support your use. And if you can get tethering, you'll be able to use your phone as a wireless data connection for your mobile computer anywhere you can get coverage. This is the one thing I don't like about the iPhone - AT&T currently doesn't support tethering.

The third tool I couldn't work without is some kind of cloud-based storage system. My service of choice is Dropbox, but there are a number of others that work very well also. A cloud storage service lets you store your files on the web and access them from various devices.

You can access your files from any computer with an internet connection - Mac, Windows or even Linux - as well as your smartphone, iPad or almost any web-connected device.

With these three tools, you can be 100% mobile while still fully operational. So when you get the itch to take a spur-of-the-moment trip, you'll be able to be up and running no matter where you happen to be.