Over the next month or so, high school and college students across the world will return to the classroom or begin higher education courses for the first time.
In the past they would have taken pens, paper and textbooks but today’s backpacks are laden with laptops, smartphones and other electronic devices.
The choice facing students and their parents is often bewildering so I set out to sift through the options and identify some of my favourite devices for the next generation of scholars.
When my eldest children went to university a decade ago they took with them a desktop PC, printer and a cheap mobile phone. But today most students prefer a laptop for everyday use, and perhaps an all-in-one machine for the dorm along with a multi-function printer, copier and scanner. For communications they want Skype or another low-cost messaging service such as SightSpeed or ooVoo .
In terms of handsets, bragging rights go to those packing a latest-generation smartphone such as Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerry’s Curve, or HTC’s Google Android-powered Magic. Alternatively, students want a text-centric handset with a full qwerty-keyboard such as Nokia’s N97 or the Windows Mobile-powered Danger Sidekick .