Archive for the ‘tech.commentary.gadgets’ Category
Don’t buy a GoPro camera – instead, get more value out of your over priced iPhone by transforming it into a HD POV (point-of-view) action camera. Miveu-X is a chest mounted case for your iPhone 4 or 4s. The chest mount includes an adjustable mounting plate that supports iPhone rotation and angle adjustment. The case is also equipped with an optical (and replaceable) wide-angle lens. An integrated shutter button allows you to start and stop recording without removing the iPhone from the clip. At $99 it’s about 1/3 the price of a GoPro camera, and you’re likely carrying the iPhone with you anyway, so why not make use of that HD video camera.
London Cyclist reviewed the Tough Waterproof Case and Bicycle Handlebar Mount for Apple iPhone 4. The review doesn’t compare the mount against others London Cyclist has reviewed, but based on the review, I’d say the Tiagra mount (also reviewed on London Cyclist) is the better choice. Oops, just realized this is a review from last year. Oh… well, this is a good read if you’re interested in mounting your iPhone to your bike’s handlebar. London Cyclist on other iPhone bike mounts.
The iFixit team gave the Googles Nexus 7 a 7 out of 10 repairability score. The iPad scored a 2 and the Fire scored an 8. The only real problem they have with the Nexus 7 is that the LCD doesn’t separate from the display glass – making repair more expensive. Another step in the right direction for the Nexus 7.
The Polaroid Z2300 would be way more interesting if Polaroid had partnered with Instagram. Imagine the Z2300 with Instragram’s filters and easy wi-fi sharing. That would have been an amazing product, something to get excited about. On the other hand, the Indiegogo funding campaign for the Socialmatic Camera fizzled out, so maybe I’m wrong about the interest in an Instagram camera that can instantly print your photos.
Pelicans are going to be dropping Samsung Galaxy S III phones on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon Wireless stores near you this month. $200, and a 2-year contract, will put this 4.8-inch screen (720p resolution) and an 8-megapixel camera in your pocket.
The Galaxy S III is obviously the next evolutionary step in the popular Galaxy S line. More than 50 million Galaxy S phones have been sold, and there isn’t any reason to think the the Galaxy S III won’t continue the trend.
The Galaxy S III includes a great hardware package, and a few new innovative features. Smart Stay uses the front facing camera to monitor your eyes and reduce the chances of the phone going to sleep when you need it to be awake. S Voice, a Siri like feature that doesn’t promise to be your new best friend. And an impressive camera that includes image stabilization and a shutter speed that apparently does’ t have any lag. There’s more, but the phone has been well covered, so you can read about it elsewhere if you’re interested.
You can pre-order the Galaxy S III from Verizon Wireless and AT&T starting today. T-mobile and Sprint will launch the phone on June 21st. Available in multiple colors, but only from AT&T to start.
Control your DSLR from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch using the ioShutter Camera Remote and ioShutter App. The ioShutter App (free and paid) supports six different modes: standard trigger, motion trigger, sound trigger, time-lapse, timer, bulb, and modes can be combined. Most of Canon’s cameras are supported, and it sounds like a version for Nikon cameras is in the works.
The ioShutter Camera Remote competes with the successful Kickstarter project - Trigger Happy camera remote. Remotes like these are going to replaces the standard remote switches most manufacturers offer – the added functionality you get in the supporting Apps makes it an easy choice, and you don’t have to pay a whole lot more for the added functionality.
Update 05.08.12: Camera’s from the following manufacturers are supported by ioShutter Camera Remote: Canon, Hasselblad, Pentax, and Samsung. Nikon coming this summer. Compatibility details available on the ioShutter website.
The Smart Dot from Tangram Design Lab (@tangram_design) is a laser pointer you can control with your iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, iPod Touch or iPad - and a bit more. The laser connects to the 3.5mm jack on your iOS device, and it’s powered by the same. The free Smart Dot App activates and deactivates the laser, but it can also connect with the machine hosting your presentation via wi-fi and act as a controller for your presentation as well. The App also includes a trackpad feature you can use to control the mouse pointer on the machine hosting your presentation. Smart Dot will do all of this for a mere $79.90. A pretty cool little gadget for the road warriors out there.
A new ultrathin iPad keyboard cover from Logitech is about to drop. The aluminum encased cover sports an ultra-quite Bluetooth® wireless keyboard and enough battery to keep it all running for months of regular use. The cover integrates well with the magnets built into the frame of the iPad 2 and iPad (3rd generation) to secure the cover, and wake and sleep your iPad as it should. From the pictures, it looks sharp enough to hang with the iPad. Available later this month for about a Benjamin. If you spend a lot of time writing email on your iPad, you might just want to pre-order one of these.
I backed Allerta’s Pebble watch Kickstarter project yesterday; this is the second Kickstarter project I’ve backed. The Pebble e-paper watch extends your iOS or Android powered smartphone by connecting to it via Bluetooth; once connected (paired), Pebble can display notifications sent from your phone (calls, text messages (Android only), alerts, etc.), act as a music player remote control, and a whole lot more.
Pebble features an ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller, a 1.26-inch 144×168-pixel black and white e-paper display with backlight, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, four buttons, a vibrating motor, a three-axis accelerometer, and a scratch and shatter resistant lens. The battery is expected to last more than seven days on a charge, and it’s water resistant to boot.
Eric Migicovsky, Allerta’s founder, has been developing smartwatches for three years. inPulse, Pebble’s younger sibling, worked originally with Blackberry phones but was upgraded to work with some Android phones. inPulse has been popular despite some serious limitations, i.e. you could only install and use one App at a time. Pebble will have an App switcher built in so core functionality like notifications and the music player remote control can remain available even while an App is in use. To support this, Allerta added the ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller and 8 times more Flash memory and 12 times more RAM than inPulse.
I’m looking forward to getting my hands on my Pebble watch this Summer or Fall. I think wearable computing is going to be a big deal in the future, and I can see the use cases for Pebble in my life today. And a big congratulations to Eric and his team, they cleared $3M in backing today, on a goal of $100,000 – I’d say that’s a pretty good indicator that wearable computing has a future. @pebblewatch
Squeeze a little more value out of your iPhone by turning it into a featured packed bike computer! The Wahoo Bike Pack wirelessly connects your iPhone to any ANT+ bike sensor so you can get all of your favorite cycling data on your iPhone, including speed/cadence, power (wattage), and heart rate.
The Wahoo Bike Pack includes a bar-mounted, waterproof case for your iPhone. Linked up with the Wahoo Fitness App, it tracks all your fitness data: power, bike speed, heart rate, etc., plus it connects wirelessly to any other ANT+ devices you’re already using.
Kickstarter, the crowd-source funding platform for creative projects, is moving into the mainstream. Last week, two projects – Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Adventure, and Casey Hopkins’ Elevation Dock: The Best Dock for iPhone raised over a million dollars each in just one day.
Kickstarter is democratizing the product development process by putting the decision of whether or not a product should be funded in the hands of the consumer, and consumers are coming out to vote. A new generation of makers (prefer makers over inventors) is responding to the opportunity.
Jon Atherton (t: @tunes) is a maker that recognized the Kickstarter opportunity early. He successfully used Kickstarter to fund jaja, a pressure sensitive stylus for iPad, and he’s at it again with AppTag – Laser Blaster for iPhone.
AppTag brings first person shooter console gameplay to smartphones in the real world by combining the smartphone with a laser tag like system. You can use AppTag with the included pistol grip or attach it to any blaster (a Nerf gun for example) that has an accessory rail. You can read all about AppTag on Kickstarter; Jon does a better job of describing his product than I can – and because it’s a great product, I’m sure the project will be funded. In a post on his blog, Jon talks about how Kickstarter is changing the way he does business.
Kickstarter is going to disrupt a lot of businesses! Previously an inventor like me would pitch inventions, then the toy company has a bunch of committee meetings, they then decide to evaluate it with an option, if they then proceed they offer a small prepayment and an eventual 5% royalty on wholesale. They cover all marketing and manufacture. Inventors can do really well with the right toy!
So for example with the jaja pressure sensitive stylus (which we pitched as a kids coloring in toy) we have now had over 1000 backers, and raised enough to do the tooling and final development work ourselves – we own the IP, and we can sell direct online for a cheaper price with a greater margin.
Now with Kickstarter, I can develop an idea and do the same work as I pitch to the toy companies (create a movie and do a presentation). I then upload it to Kickstarter – where thousands of people evaluate the product! Real customers put there money down if it is good! – Jon Atherton / AppTag 38% Funded – LOVE @Kickstarter
AppTag is the first Kickstarter project I’ve backed – probably because it caught my ten year old son’s attention and he can be pretty convincing. I’m not sure why I haven’t backed a project before. I’ve definitely benefited from the platform – I love my olloclip: iPhone Lens System.
Good luck Jon, and thanks for inspiring me to back my first Kickstarter project. Keep making.
The Cdock, designed by James Aloysius of Portland Oregon’s Hatchet Goods, is a horizontal docking station for your iPhone 4 or 4s that transforms your iPhone into a handsom clock or a miniature retro TV. Pair Cdock with an App like Alarm Clock Pro to replace your bedside nemesis, or the clock on your desk at work. It looks great, and you’re charging the whole time.
The Cdock is available in three faceplate options: glossy black resin, white ohh la la resin, brushed aluminum, or walnut. The resin models go for $55, brushed aluminum $65, and walnut will set you back $70. The Cdock ships with a 6′ USB charging cable (U.S. plug), and it’s handmade in beautiful Portland Oregon.
It’s a little on the spendy side, but considering it’s handmade here in the U.S., and that an Apple Dock Connector will cost you $19 – it’s a fair price. everythingicafe.com posted a nice video review of the Cdock, if you need more convincing. The Cdock, another successful KickStarter project.
The Magnus Stand from Ten One Design (t: @TenOneDesing) is good enough to carry the Apple brand. The design is minimalist, it’s made from recycled aluminum, and it uses the iPad 2′s build-in magnetic hinge to lock your iPad in place. The stand only works in the portrait orientation, but the minimalist design and use of the iPad 2′s magnets to support the iPad leave the various ports, controls, and camer unencumbered.
The Magnus was unveiled at CES 2012, and will be shipping later this week. Available from Ten One for about $50 bucks, which a bit steep for what you’re getting, but like I said it’s good enough to carry the Apple brand.
Attach the VooMote Zapper to the 30-pin port on the bottom of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch (iOS 5 required) to transform it into a universal remote control. After installing the free VooMote Zapper App, and running through a quick set up process (learning function supported) you’ll be set to control all of your devices from your iDevice. The VooMote supports: multiple room configurations, macros, custom remotes, and multi-remote views.
The VooMote Zapper dongle is available in a variety of colors and costs $70. A matching cover for the iPhone will cost an extra $10, and a cover for your iPad will cost an extra $20.
I ordered an iBamboo iPhone Speaker today – the black limited edition – from New York area Etsy member and maker Anatoliy Omelchenko (@anatoliyart). It was an impulse buy, instigated by Adam Flaherty’s MAKE blog post iBamboo Passive Acoustic Amplifier. Like Adam, I fell in love with the simplicity of the design and the black lacquer finish that’s unique to the limited edition version of the iBamboo Speaker. All of that said, I don’t think I would have clicked the “Add to Cart” button if Anatoliy hadn’t put the time into making sure his product had equally cool packaging.
“The speaker consists of a piece of bamboo, open on both ends and machined in a way that allows you to place it on a flat surface and insert your iPhone 4/4S at the top. The natural resonance of the hollow bamboo speaker body amplifies sound. This unique property makes bamboo an ideal material for making an all-natural, no-power-needed iPhone amplifier.”
Looking forward to pushing a playlist or two through the iBamboo. Keep making Anatoliy.
UPDATE: There’s one major flaw with the iBamboo iPhone Speaker. If you look at the bottom of your iPhone, you’ll find what look like two speakers. Unfortunately, only one is a speaker, the other is a microphone. The iBamboo Speaker works pretty well, but the little bit of bamboo the iPhone sits on gets in the way of the acoustics. If sound actually came out of both sides of the bottom of the iPhone, the iBamboo would really rock it. Hard to go wrong for $25+ shipping, but still, I was a little disappointed with this design flaw – I really wanted sound to come out of both sides of the iBamboo Speaker at the same intensity.
AirPlay enabled audio accessories were big at CES this year. Both Griffin and Altec Lansing announced new products.
Griffin’s Twenty digital audio amplifier makes it possible to play digital audio from iTunes, or any other AirPlay enabled app (e.g. Pandora), to an existing set of non-AirPlay enabled speakers wirelessly using an Airport Express wireless base station paired with Apple’s AirPlay wireless technology.
The Twenty is equipped with a power connect and mount for an Apple AirPort Express. The result is a zero-configuration audio set-up that features a 2.1 channel sound system with 20 watts of output per channel. The Twenty is a great way to wirelessly push audio to those old classic speakers you just don’t want to part with.
Altec Lansing’s new inAir 5000 is an AirPlay enabled speaker that has 110 watts of power, two 1-inch soft-dome neodymium tweeters, two 3-inch Kevlar drivers, one 4-inch subwoofer, and one passive bass radiator. It’s a high-quality speaker. The inAir 5000 combined with Apple’s AirPlay, makes it easy to stream music from your computer, iPhone, or iPad to any room in the house without wires. Most iDevice owner are going to appreciate the stylish teardrop design.
The inAir 5000’s release date hasn’t been released yet, but it should be released before summer 2012. Pricing hasn’t been released yet either.
More was announced, but the Twenty and the inAir 5000 definitely desserve to be highlighted. Looking forward to seeing how both are received in 2012.
IK Multimedia introduced the iRig Mic Cast ultra-compact voice recording microphone at CES this week. The iRig Mic Cast was designed for iDevice slingers that conduct interviews, podcast, and need to capture the occasional voice memo. Connects to your iPod, iPhone touch, or iPad headphone port. A stand is included (pictured) – nice touch – and it even has a mini-jack you can use with headphones to monitor what you’re recording in real-time. Suggested retail price is $39.99 – available later this month. A great little accessory, at the right price-point.
Sitting at your desk thinking you might need a passive ceramic amplifier for your iPhone? Me too.
The Megaphone, for iPhone, amplifies the speaker sound coming out of your iPhone – a lot like the amplifiers on the old phonographs of yesteryear.
Designed by Isabella Lovero and Enrico Bosa, the MegaPhone isn’t hard to look at. It sits on a beautifully designed wood stand, that both floats it off the surface it sits on, and optimizes sound performance.
MegaPhone is available in white, black, and a special gold edition. The white and black version can be had for 399 Euros, but the gold version will cost you 600 Euros. Ready to bite? Click Buy Now. Want to know more? Visit the MegaPhone product page.
Megaphone is compatible with your iPhone 2G, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 4S. Is it compatible with Siri? No idea.
Pundits of all types have been predicting the end of the iPad’s dominance since it was launched in April of 2010. Fortunately for Apple, and Apple investors, the enemy hasn’t been able to muster a proper offensive yet. Will Amazon’s Kindle Tablet finally end the iPad’s dominance over the burgeoning tablet computing market?
Japanese company Wacom, known for their pen-based tablets, activated the marketing plan for a new product this week, and I’d say they’re executing it pretty well. The new product is Inkling, a cute little gadget, small enough to carry in your pocket, that makes it easy to seamlessly transfer drawings from regular paper, into layered vector files that can be edited in compatible graphics programs on your MAC or PC. And everyone is talking about it.
In some ways Inkling is similar to the Livescribe pen, it’s designed to digitize hand-written content so you can get it onto your computer, and it requires a special digital pen. Unlike the Livescribe pen, Inkling can work with standard paper – and that’s a big plus for Inkling on the feature comparison list. The Inkling achieved this by moving the part of the technology that captures and stores the inputs from the pen to a receiver that you attach to your paper. Other pluses include a pen that recognizes 1,024 different levels of sensitivity, which means the strength of your stroke will be accurately translated from the paper, to the digital copy. The Inkling also has support for layers, a feature graphic designers, that want to post-process their sketches in graphics programs, will really appreciate. New layers are created by pressing a button on the Inkling receiver.
If the early reactions to the Inkling are any kind of indicator, I’d say Wacom is going to have a good Christmas. I’m kind of hoping Santa puts one in my stocking ; )
In the US, the Inkling will be available in “mid-September” for an MSRP of US$199.99.