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Toothy Grin

Toothy Grin
by Gary Woods

As you all know by now if you drive and talk on the phone you're supposed to use hands free technology. To allow us to keep driving and have both hands on the wheel Bluetooth technology seems to be the most popular protocol. Whether it's an earpiece that pairs with your phone or an in dash speaker that hooks you up Bluetooth seems to be the way to go. But the earpieces need to be re-charged on a regular basis and they're kind of a pain to have in your ear.

To get around this problem I found the LG Electronics ( Solar Car Kit HGB-500 which is a car speaker phone that charges via sunlight. The device rests on your dashboard and hooks up to your cell phone(s). The speaker is not the strongest but works fine while driving and is easily overpowered at high volume.

The HGB-500 gives the user easy and reliable synching with 2 cell phones which means you don't have to get a second unit for 2 people in the same car. Most functions are controlled by a single large press switch whose function depends on call and power status. But the best feature of all is the solar charging.

If you're still driving around with your cell phone cradled between your shoulder and ear you need to get into compliance with the law and this is a pretty cool solution that gets rid of the two big complaints of sticking something in your ear and running out of battery power. The HGB-500 has a street price of about $100.

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc