Back to school gadgets

Hopefully, some new technology will help lighten kids' backpacks and make space in cramped dorm rooms.

Tablets are the big deal this year.

"The iPad really is still the leader, but this year we're going to buy something like 27 million touchscreen tablets in the U.S.," Consumer Electronics Association spokesperson Jim Barry said.

There are a lot of choices for students right now.

A popular choice is the Xoom from Motorola, which runs the newest Android system and costs about $500.

The new BlackBerry tablet synchs to your BlackBerry phone and has a screen that is just 7 inches wide and it also starts around $500.

Students in the market for a computer with more functionality than a tablet might choose the new notebook from Lenovo priced right around $750.

"A lot of folks like the netbooks because they have a lot of inputs, as compared to some of the tablets," Barry said.

But, all work and no play means not a lot fun. Students might want to try the latest game player.

"The new Nintendo 3DS, this is a portable video game player that uses 3D without glasses, so this is the first place we see this," Barry said.

There are some easy music solutions for the dorm.

"This is the Wow We, you can plug into any music play, or iPhone, or other music player and it's only about $60, very small and light gives you a great bass sound using something called gel audio," Barry said.

If you need directions to a new school a new $100 accessory from Dual can turn your smart phone into a GPS.

"This is the GPS and it uses Bluetooth to transfer those signals over to your smartphone or other device," Barry said.

Technology is changing rapidly so that by the time companies have released a new product they're planning for the release of the next generation. All this leads to a lot of price volatility, so compare prices and shop wisely.

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