For both pilots and their passengers, time spent at airports is characterised by hurrying up and waiting, and you can get a fair amount of work done during those waiting hours. Smartoo provides a perch for travellers’ laptops that clips onto a bag’s extendable handle.
Sure, airports are full of business lounges and coffee shops with Wi-Fi where busy travellers can work, but not everyone has access to those lounges, and the coffee shop might not be anywhere near your boarding gate, or a plug point – and you might not feel like coffee.
Laptops were designed for practicality, not ergonomics, and working with the computer on you lap instead of a desk can be awkward and uncomfortable. Smartoo seems like a practical solution. It attaches to your suitcase’s telescoping handle, turning it into a computer stand. The stability of the stand is of course directly proportional to the weight of your bag, and the regulatory seven kilograms for hand-luggage is unlikely to provide an entirely solid anchor.
Nevertheless, the device folds up to slip easily into your carry-on bag and has an adjustable-width dual clamping mechanism that claims to fit most popular suitcases. It can accommodate laptops up to a maximum size of 15 inches, plus it has a slot that allows tablets or smartphones to be propped up.
Usefully, it also comes with a built-in lithium-ion battery that serves as a power bank for charging smartphones or tablets – but won’t be able to charge your laptop.
The Smartoo laptop stand is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, where a pledge of US$65 will get you one if it reaches production. The planned retail price is US$99. It looks like a good idea, but convert that price to Rand, and I think I’ll pay for a cup of coffee and walk a little further to my boarding gate.