Sept. 3, 2007 — -- With summer almost over, children across the nation prepare to head back to school this week.
In fact, back-to-school shoppers will spend more than $5.4 billion this year, according to the National Retail Federation. That figure is double what consumers shelled out in 2003.
Along with clothes, binders, protractors and notebooks, parents also can pick up some handy back-to-school gadgets. School supplies aren't what they used to be, and the latest in school gadget gear aims to make life easier.
Here are some of the latest gadgets.
Price: $295 with contract
This cell phone incorporates everything teens and 20-somethings want from a phone. It's built for texting and instant messaging, and has a full qwerty keyboard. It has a separate number pad for dialing phone numbers, and a built-in music player and camera.
The phone also is optimized for MySpace. Its Global Positioning System feature loads Google maps, and can broadcast your location to a select group of friends.
This is the top-of-the-line phone, and your kids don't need this much phone. But, it gives you an idea of what features to look for in a less expensive phone.
Keep in mind that, for younger kids, you want them to have a phone for safety, and the logistics of life, but many schools now have policies to confiscate phones if they are used during school hours. AT&T, Kajeet, and Disney Mobile all have services that allow parents to limit phone access during certain hours of the day.
Click here for more information about the Helio.
Built for media devices, with a padded laptop pocket, this backpack also has sound ports to thread your earphones through, a detachable cell phone pouch, light and breathable fabric.
Click here for more information on the MobileEdge.
If a Sonic Boom alarm clock can't wake you up, you're probably asleep for good. In addition to extra-loud beepers, its startling bed-quaking vibrators will rattle you out of any slumber.
The clock will get your attention every time if it's the Sonic Boom bedside clock with a detachable bed shaker. Variable tone and volume controls let you set the most effective alarm. Position the bed vibrator under the mattress or a pillow and it will pound the bed when it's time to wake up. It includes AC adapter.
Click here for more information about the Sonic Boom Alarm.
Price: Starts at $17.95
The Power Squid is a power strip that brilliantly manages those power adapters that are so huge, they take up two spaces on a regular strip.
Click here for more information on the Power Squid.
This is no Trapper Keeper loose-leaf binder. It's a padded notebook that not only protects and stores your MP3 player, but also has built-in speakers to broadcast the tunes. It's not going to blast sound, but with a few friends sitting around a table during a break, you could listen to music. Plus, it'll keep your class notes organized.
Disney is ABC's parent company.