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Gadgets

Crave's guide to World Cup gadgets: Part Two

Commuting isn't much fun at the best of times, but it's even harder when you're missing vital World Cup action. But there's no need to suffer -- here's Crave's guide to watching football on the go...

It's been a hard week. Trying to keep in touch with World Cup action at work without neglecting our gadgets has been a multi-tasking nightmare. It seems that every time we get dragged into a meeting someone scores an absolute stonker. Yes, Tim Cahill, we're looking at you. Why can't you save your net-busting equalisers for when we're sitting comfortably in front of our BBC feed?

But the biggest pain has been missing vital football action during our commute at the end of the day -- so much can happen in the hour it takes us to get home. This will clash horribly with England's must-win match against plucky minnows Trinidad & Tobago tomorrow. Luckily, there are ways to keep up with World Cup action on the go -- important for both hapless commuters and for those jammy muckers (like us!) that are heading off to Germany to watch it live.

Sling Media Slingbox
The Slingbox (pictured) is a streaming device that lets you watch your TV remotely from an Internet-connected PC, PDA or smartphone. If you want to enjoy the great outdoors at the same time as watching the World Cup, or if you spend a lot of time travelling, this could be the device for you. The £180 Slingbox plugs into your TV receiver and uses your broadband connection to pipe the signal over the Web, where it can be viewed with any portable device that has the Slingplayer software installed.

The PC software comes bundled with the device, but the software for Windows Mobile Pocket PCs and a beta version for Windows Mobile smartphones must be downloaded from the Slingbox Web site. Your main problem is likely to be getting affordable broadband access on the go -- the costs will quickly mount up if you use 3G or GPRS. Some trains, including Southern Trains operating between London and Brighton, and long-distance trains operating between London King's Cross and the north of England offer wireless access, as do many airports, train stations and cafes.

T-Mobile Nokia N70 World Cup edition
Several mobile providers are offering World Cup phones and match alerts, but we particularly like the T-Mobile offering, which includes free information for those who have travelled to Germany, and paid-for alerts for those who can't spend the next month glued to the television. The text alerts cost 20p per SMS and you can also pay £5 to get video highlights of all the goals and matches sent to your phone.

If you want to go one better and get a phone designed for the World Cup, T-Mobile has released a World Cup edition of the Nokia N70. The phone has been given a complete football makeover, with the menu icons such as the spanner replaced with footie graphics, such as boots and shinpads. There are also World Cup screensavers, wallpapers and ringtones so that you get the full sensual experience.

TomTom GO 910 World Cup edition
If you're driving to Germany to watch the World Cup live, we hope you've either got a partner with a good sense of direction, or a decent GPS system installed in your car. There's nothing more stressful than trying to find your way around a foreign city with less than an hour to spare until the match starts. The £500 TomTom GO 910 is the Ferrari of GPS systems, with a 102mm (4-inch) LCD touchscreen, a 20GB hard drive (of which 8GB is taken up by maps of Europe, America and Canada), built-in MP3 player and hands-free calling capability. If you have this (or another TomTom device) you can also download various World Cup extras, including navigation instructions spoken by Sven-Göran Eriksson (no, seriously) and information on football points of interest in Germany.

Part one of Crave's World Cup guide covered gadgets for work. Tomorrow we'll let you know what you need to make your home fully World Cup-ready. -IM