(Business 2.0) – BRITAIN Mobile Office
Even when surrounded by the crush of a trade show, civilized British businesspeople can provide a retreat for their clients with the Office in a Bucket, an inflatable meeting space that stores in a 2-foot-tall pail. Just plug the pump (housed in the bucket) into a wall socket and eight minutes later you have your very own 9- by 12-foot conference room--plenty big enough for a table, chairs, and an exclusive party of four. Office in a Bucket: £2,465 ($4,500); www.inflate.co.uk/oiab.
JAPAN Mighty Bytes
When folks in Tokyo say pocket PC, they mean pocket PC. About the size of a 4-by 6-inch postcard, the Sony Vaio VGN-U70 is a Windows XP machine with a 1-GHz Pentium processor, a 20GB hard drive, built-in 802.11g Wi-Fi, and an optional battery promising 5.5 hours of run time. Navigate the bright touchscreen with a stylus or connect the computer to an optional full-size keyboard. Sony Vaio VGN-U70: ¥210,000 ($1,871); www.sonystyle.com.
GERMANY Ironed Clad
Dry cleaners on the Continent are facing some stiff competition. With the Siemens Dressman, you save those morning minutes needed to press a dress shirt, as well as the endless euros usually spent at the corner laundry. Pull a shirt over the squared-off fabric dummy, select any of 12 program modes, and watch as the device smooths out the garment by briefly filling it with steaming-hot air. A final arctic blast prevents you from being burned when you button up. Siemens Dressman: €1,029 ($1,235); www.siemens.com.
JAPAN Big Shot
Finally there's a camera phone that's worth a thousand words. Casio's A5406CA, available only in Japan, is a clamshell that houses a 3.2-megapixel camera and delivers the same sharp-edged shots as the company's stateside Exilim line. And since it has 12 megabytes of memory, you can snap often: It stores hundreds of photos or an hour of video. Casio A5406CA: ¥20,123 ($186); www.casio.com.
FRANCE Screen Savior
The streets of Paris are a little safer, thanks to Parrot's touchless mobile-phone kit. An unobtrusive display mounted to a car's dashboard acts as an extension of your Bluetooth cell phone, displaying the same call-critical data as the mobile's screen. The brain behind the LCD face is a small control unit that understands voice commands and pipes a caller's end of the conversation through the stereo speakers. Parrot CK3100 Advanced Car Kit: €229 ($276); www.parrot.fr.
JAPAN Dream Weaver
Japanese salarymen can ward off stress nightmares with the Takara Dream Workshop. Perch it on a nightstand, attach a photo that conjures up a desirable dream--say, enough yen to start you on the path to early retirement--and record a message about your snooze-worthy subject using the built-in mike. Once you're put to sleep by mood lights and wafts of fragrance, the machine periodically plays soft music and your phrase, transporting your subconscious straight into the boss's office, resignation in hand. Takara Dream Workshop: ¥14,800 ($136); www.takara-usa.com.