The Lenovo X301 might be the perfect travel computer: Barely an inch thick, it houses a DVD-burning drive, a built-in GPS system and a cellular data connection so you can be online anywhere you get a cell signal. Its security software allows you to remotely retrieve data and disable the laptop if it's stolen. It can even locate the machine (using a Wi-Fi hotspot) and snap a Webcam photo of the thief. Since Lenovo has proven that this much can fit into a tiny package, others will surely follow suit (lenovo.com; $2,980).
Only slightly bigger than a cell phone, the 3M Mpro 110 portable projector can transform any surface, from a seatback tray table to a boardroom wall, into a movie screen. In full daylight, it projects a sharp picture up to 10 inches away; in the dark, up to 50 inches. Other models with the same technology should appear over the next few months (3m.com; $360).
Google to go
If 2008 was all about the iPhone, '09 will be about Android, Google's competing mobile operating system. It debuted in October on HTC's G1 smartphone but should show up on devices from LG, Sony-Ericsson and Motorola next year. Among Android's slew of clever applications is Enkin, which annotates the view through your phone's camera in real time, so you can see that it's Lambeth Palace in the distance and it's 800 yards away (t-mobile.com; $180).
In the bag
This might be the most unbelievable trend of all: The TSA is trying to get you through security faster. The agency announced this year that it would allow travelers to leave their laptops in their bags if X-ray detectors could easily scan the computer inside. The Checkthrough, one of the first bags designed to sail through security, opens in the middle to reveal a clear sleeve for the laptop (skoobadesign.com; $140).
The first SLR camera to also capture full-resolution HD video, Canon's Mark II can store clips up to 12 minutes long in H.264 format, which is easy to edit and plays on iPods. The 21-megapixel shooter is also a pro-level still camera, with live preview on the three-inch LCD and ISO speeds up to 25,600 for amazing low-light shots (canonusa.com; body only, $2,700).
Four online services for every stage of the trip:
The Web takes flight
Onboard Internet finally goes mainstream, with several airlines offering more reliable and affordable connections. Delta plans to roll out service from Aircell, which uses ground-based stations. American is testing the same system. Row44, which relies on satellites for better over-water coverage, has trials with Southwest and Alaska. Meanwhile, Virgin America says it will offer in-flight Internet in the coming months.
Delta, Continental and Northwest recently tested cell phone check-in at some airports, and Qantas will introduce the service early next year. Enter your phone number at check-in and a bar code arrives on your phone by e-mail or text message. At the security checkpoint and the gate, agents scan your phone's screen just like they would a paper boarding pass.
Get with the program
Forward your confirmation e-mails — from airlines, hotels and even Priceline — to firstname.lastname@example.org, then TripIt.com extracts the relevant information and creates an online itinerary. If your phone has a browser, you can point it to m.tripit.com for a simplified version of the site. If not, just e-mail email@example.com and you'll receive your travel plans right away.
GoPlanIt.com also builds itineraries, but this site organizes trips based on your preferences (romance, nature) and suggests activities, hotels and restaurants according to how highly they're rated by travelers on other sites, including Yelp and TripAdvisor. So far the site customizes itineraries for ten U.S. cities, but users post their own personal itineraries for dozens of others.