The Mossberg Solution
By WALTER S. MOSSBERG and KATHERINE BOEHRET
Cellphones keep getting sleeker and smaller, which means they are also
getting easier to lose or misplace. For instance, Motorola's latest
model, the SLVR, is so thin and light, you'd hardly notice if it
slipped out of your pocket or purse.
And, of course, losing your cellphone can be a disaster, because it
contains your address book. In fact, it often contains the only copy
of your address book. Except for a few smart phones, like the Palm
Treo, most cellphone models -- especially the small ones that are
easiest to lose -- don't synchronize with your computer to back up
So, how can you back up your data to protect against losing your phone?
Most of the big-name phone carriers offer services that will store
your cellphone contacts for a relatively small monthly fee. But these
services, which are designed in part to keep you tied to a carrier,
aren't widely used, or even well known to most users.
There are also various carrier-independent backup software products
out there, but they involve the use of a computer and can be clumsy
and complicated. Some use cumbersome cables to attach your phone to a
PC, others use your phone's messaging capabilities or Bluetooth
functionality to send data onto a nearby hard drive.
But this week, we took a look at a new product from Spark Technology
Corp. in San Jose, Calif., that eliminates the need for a computer
altogether: CellStik. This $40 product is a pocket-size USB thumb
drive with a cellphone adapter on one end and a USB adapter on the
other. By plugging the phone adapter into your cellphone and pressing
a button on the CellStik, you can have your contacts backed up on the
device in just seconds -- problem solved.
In our tests, we found CellStik to be a smart solution that really
works, and it's about as easy to use as possible. We did have one
problem with it, but that was relatively minor compared with the
potential loss of all your contact data when a phone goes missing.