Gadget Guy: Poken

Poken Spark Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Price: $19.95

Business cards have been around for ages and are a quick and easy way to share our contact information with others. The downside, they often end up in our briefcases, pockets or purses and have a tendency not to always end up in our address books. And worse, they?re never organized in alphabetical order so it?s hard to find the person you?re looking for.

So how do you fix this? Make it electronic, right? That?s the idea behind the Poken.

The ones with cartoon characters are called the Poken Spark and there?s also an executive collection called the Poken Pulse that is a 2gb USB flash drive and Poken all in one.

So how?s it work? You buy a Poken for $20 and register it at Then carry it around with you and use it as your business card.

Meet someone out at an event and want to keep in touch afterwards? If they have a Poken, just touch your Poken to the person?s Poken and the two devices will share contact information instantly. Once you see the green light on the device you know your contact information was shared successfully.

With the Poken Spark you can collect as many as 64 friends and the Poken Pulse is virtually unlimited. Just bring it back after, plug into your computer and you?ll notice now that you have pending friends on your account page.

Once you accept them you?ll not only have their contact information but also their Linked In, Facebook, and other social network names.

And building your own contact card is easy. Simply add in whatever fields you want. And because it?s digital as you become part of other social networks or change jobs, as soon as you update your Poken business card, all of your friends and colleagues will have the contact information changed on their devices.

And all of these friends can instantly be exported from the website to Outlook and other email programs via downloadable vcards.

So how did it rate?

The Upsides: What I liked about these is how easy it is to trade your contact information. Just touch Pokens, look for the green light and you know the next time you plug your Poken into your computer you?ll have that person?s contact information as well as links to their social media profiles. They?re not that pricey either - just $20 for the Spark and $35 for the USB flash drive version with no monthly fee.

The Downsides: Until they catch on, it may be a while before you start running into people with them. Also, like traditional business cards, you do have to remember to physically carry this little device around. They do have a lanyard so you can clip them onto a keychain or purse if you?d like.

The Bottom Line: It?s definitely a unique idea and would work particularly well for the business person that?s always running out of physical cards. Although for the time being you?d still have to carry around the paper version as not many people have them?yet!

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