Accessories, News/Rumors

AIRTYPE: invisible keyboard to change the way you type

Airtype, a start-up based in Austin, Texas developed a prototype for a truly revolutionary keyboard, that is invisible. While we used to have keyboards either as physical device or touch screen interface, AirType is a “keyboardless keyboard,” that will change the way you type, especially when it comes to your tablet.

AirType is a set of cuffs you wear on your hands that become an invisible keyboard.  The sensors will track your finger movements and translate them into words on the screen. It’s no different than typing on a keyboard. The device connects your smartphone via Bluetooth.

According to the developers, the keyboard can adapt to your own specific typing style. They say “there’s no need to learn AirType, It will learn you,” similar to Siri, which can learn your accent. The product also has dynamic text prediction and corrections similar to your iPhone. It prevents you from making mistakes and promotes faster typing.

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The item usage will be difficult for those who are either not fluent with typing or forgetful enough to remember the letter placements on keyboard.

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Airtype is small and simply clips on your tablet for easy transportation, so you can bring them everyhere. The device is still in development, but you can sign up for their mailing list and learn more here.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Logitech debuts Protection+ case for iPhone 5 and 5s

Earlier this year, Logitech announced its new Case+ accessory for the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, which contained a metal case and multiple magnetic attachments. Today, the company finally revealed its newest line of smartphone cases, including the Protection+ for iPhone 5 and 5s, product aimed to mount an iPhone to a car’s air vents for easy viewing.

The protection+ case is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 5S and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and features a slim design with a protective outer shell and internal impact-resistant materials. Its body is made of a hard polycarbonate shell while its corners hold impact resistant polymers. They are specially-designed to absorb shocks without breaking and dissipate the energy of the impact across the surface of the product. According to the manufacture, the protection+ exceeds the U.S. military’s drop-test standard for “rugged” devices, which tops out at 1.8 meters (just under 6 feet) off the ground.

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Logitech also introduced its +trip and +drive car accessories, which help users to mount a device and case to an air vent (+trip) or windshield/dashboard (+drive).

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Logitech’s director of smartphone accessories, Ariel Fischer noted in a statement: “We designed the Logitech protection+ to give you peace of mind disguised in a great looking protective case that absorbs the daily shocks your phone experiences.”

The Protection+ case will go on sale next month for $34.99, and will be available in colors of Winter White, Gunmetal Black, Scarlett Plum, and Pacific Blue. The +Trip and +Drive accessories will also launch next month and sell for $29.99 and $49.99, respectively. The products are already available for pre-order on Logitech’s official website.

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MySelfie-selfie remote control from Kingmax

KINGMAX, well-known for manufacturing flash cards, has launched a new accessory for people who like selfies. The new device, dubbed MySelfie is a kind of remote taking control of your smartphone camera.

MySelfie measures 60 x 26.4 x 7 mm and weighs just 11 grams. It is equipped with two buttons: power one and camera shutter button.

The new device uses Bluetooth technology to connect to your iPhone that is as far as 10 meters at most. Once connected the only thing you have to do is press the button on MySelfie. The device doesn’t require additional software.

MySelfie is powered by a regular CR2032 lithium-ion battery. According to the manufacturer, the device will work without charging during a year, if you take up to 10 selfies per day.

MySelfie will be available in several color options: white, black and yellow.

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The new device is completely compatible with smartphones that run iOS and Android. The official release date and the price of the product are still unknown.

MySelfie is believed to give a free hand in taking selfies.

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HealthKit supports some Bluetooth products natively

Apple’s HealthKit is said to promise an all-in-one location for health and fitness-related iOS accessories and their companion information.  In addition to this ability, the platform can reportedly also support some medical Bluetooth accessories natively, making it possible to skip developing apps for iOS and focus on their hardware. That means, that HealthKit can automatically connect to and control the device itself. The products that will be built-in and supported natively by HealthKit include heart rate and blood pressure monitors, glucose sensors, and health thermometers.

Bluetooth medical products can be detected by HealthKit and all the data will be collected and synced by the new Health app without the user having to do anything in a third-party app, providing with an easy way to find health information in a single place. Additionally, device makers won’t have to spend resources and time making an app rather than focus on their hardware.

Apple is using official standard specs for Bluetooth LE devices from Bluetooth.org, allowing iOS 8 to automatically establish a connection with the devices without the developers thinking about anything related to software.

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Previously these manufacturers were required to spend time and money creating companion apps for their devices that handle the pairing and collection of data. It will also be helpful to app developers, who allow users to connect to products from third-party companies.

iPhone maker is also prompting and giving manufacturers the ability to create other types of accessories that don’t fall under the natively supported devices above, but those will need an iOS app to implement the HealthKit API.

 

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Smart lighter “Quitbit” helps you quit smoking

There are already plenty of devices that track your steps, weight and calories, but the latest gadget is tasked to track how often you spark up. Quitbit is a smart lighter created to help rein in smoking addiction by monitoring how often you light up.

The five-member founding team, standing behind this project, launched it through a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and has already raised $36 000.

“The first idea was a package for cigarettes and each time you removed a cigarette it would track it, but we quickly iterated because we realized the lighter would be the easiest way,” Quitbit founder said. “It’s the way with the least friction for someone who wants to reduce their smoking, because it doesn’t require a new device. We just replace your lighter with our lighter, and then you get all the benefits of being more mindful of your smoking habits.”

According to developers, it takes about 1.5 seconds to light a cigarette and every time the device is used, it records the number of cigarettes smoker has had and how long it’s been since they last lit up. This information can be viewed on a special display and aims to motivate smokers to give away the habit through the monitoring of incremental change.

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A companion smartphone app available in the AppStore allows to do even more. With its help, users can have data tracked over longer periods of time. It also offers to set goals, share successes with an online community and even track how much money smokers have saved from cutting back. The lighter collects smoking data and sends it to the companion Android or iOS smartphone app via built-in Bluetooth 4.0.

Quitbit lights cigarettes using a heating element, similar to car lighters, and the electronics count each cigarette that is lit. The company claims each charge should be enough for around a week of use.  The device itself measures 67 x 43 x 10 mm and weighs 72 g.

The product is seeking $50,000 in funding pledges. The company hopes to begin selling the device next year for about $149.

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BlackBerry wins injunction, banning iPhone keyboard

A U.S. district court judge last week granted BlackBerry a preliminary injunction against the Typo iPhone keyboard case for infringing on certain patents, effectively banning sales of the Ryan Seacrest-backed device.

The smartphone maker sued over the design of the case earlier this year, stating that it infringed on a number of the company’s patents and its “iconic” keyboard design. The case is designed to add a BlackBerry-like keyboard to the iPhone 5 and 5s. The case features a built-in battery, and a physical, backlit keyboard that looks almost identical to those used in BB products.

According to the initial press release, “BlackBerry has always focused on offering an exceptional typing experience that combines a great design with ergonomic excellence. We are flattered by the desire to graft our keyboard onto other smartphones, but we will not tolerate such activity without fair compensation for using our intellectual property and our technological innovations.”typo-iphone-keyboard

The Typo team commented on the following :

“We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research.  The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public.  We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January.”

The injunction doesn’t allow the sale of the Typo, as the case maker could not prove that its product didn’t infringe on BB’s patents.

“BlackBerry is pleased that its motion for a preliminary injunction against Typo Products LLC was granted,” BlackBerry stated. “This ruling will help prevent further injury to BlackBerry from Typo’s blatant theft of our patented keyboard technology.”

Meanwhile, Typo said, that the company would continue to develop and sell innovative products “that busy people can’t live without.”

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Сapture your memories with Instagram and Fotobit frames

Are you a digital photography enthusiast who love using Instagram to capture your memories? Well, there’s nothing better than the nostalgic feeling you get when reliving a memory through a photo. Fotobit is an amazing creation! It is a modular photo framing system that allows you to easily install multiple frames simply by mounting a base frame to then create custom configurations.

Fotobit frames are equipped with an durable clip system and can be used in limitless possibilities and combinations. It is you, who use imagination to create unique patterns, breathe life into your room and share your beautiful masterpieces with friends and family.

“Traditional photo frames made the task too daunting, so that’s when I came up with Fotobit, which I hope inspires people to get photos out of their phone and onto their walls,”-says Alan Yeung, Fotobit co-founder.4

Lightweight photo frames hold 4” x 4” prints protected by a clear acrylic window. You can start your exposition with a single photo frame mounted to the wall and then attach to it more ones, to get small or large-scale photo compositions. It is easy to arrange and rearrange your frames, grouping your images by event or themes.5

Fotobit itself is a 4.25 x 4.25-inch frame designed for wall-mounting your Instagrams. The frames consist of several components: the front, the back, a matt and a clear acrylic window.6

Fotobit was designed and developed with the award winning product design team at CRISP^YHKG in Orange County, California. Their frames have been tested for durability and each clip can withstand a weight load of over 30 pounds.

It’s also $40 for a three pack, which includes nails, frame clips, bubble level, optional white matting, optional double stick foam Pads.

According to the developers, they have already reached the stage where they can make Fotobit a retail product for everyone to enjoy. And if they meet their initial goal of $16,000, final retail products can be shipped as early as late May/early June 2014.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Moov-personal trainer from former Apple engineer

There is no need to describe the hype around “smart” watch-form gadgets. The range of such devices can be divided into smart watches and fitness trackers. The abilities of most of them are not too different from each other, although there are sometimes pretty interesting ideas. Moov, created by a former Apple engineer is one of them.

Unlike many other devices that read parameters such as heart rate, steps, calories and so on, Moov is described as a personal trainer. The accessory not only tracks your activities, it also gives you personalized tips to improve your workout performance. The Moov is provided with nine-axis sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer. These sensors collect necessary data, analyzes the quality of the exercises and in real time gives tips to improve your training. For example, while running, the device can provide real-time audio advice in a form of recommendations. It can ask you to change step length or reduce the speed.

The device uses 3d motion reconstruction technology to analyze and distinguish between a bunch of activities, including running, biking, swimming, weight lifting and more. All the tips and programs are created by certified coaches and based on biomechanics and sport science research.

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Designed in a form of a waterproof disk, Moov can track the position and movement of the human body during exercises. All you have to do is put it on the wrist, shoulder, ankle. The device will support five activities – running, weight lifting, boxing, swimming and biking – with more to come in the future.

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The data collected by the tracker, are then sent to your iPhone or iPad and processed by a special app, which corrects certain aspects of your training. Moov connects your device via Bluetooth 4.0. The rechargeable battery provides up to 7 days of work.

Everyone can pre-order Moov for $59.95. Moov is currently available in black or white.

Accessories, News/Rumors

Fin thumb ring converts your palm into a numeric keypad

Smartphones, smartwatches and even smart glasses continue to enrich the line of smart accessories. Smart rings are certainly less common but still pretty intriguing ideas. One of them is Fin, a thumb ring designed to turn your whole palm into a gesture interface. Fin wraps around your thumb and converts your palm into a numeric keypad.

The main goal of the device is to enable hand gesture control of smart devices, aims to not only provide better connectivity, but to alter the way you interact with your favorite gadgets.

How doest Fin work?  Fin is a Bluetooth enabled product that you can connect to three different digital devices, including Smartphones, Smart TVs, Automobiles, and Home automation devices providing multiple device compatibility. Fin has built-in sensors that allow it to track its movement in relation to your palm.  Gestures are then imported into commands for different devices that are transmitted via Bluetooth 4.0.20140110101734-Fin-Indiegogo-spec

Additionally, the ring is equipped with an LED indicator, and runs on a lithium-ion battery that requires a single charge for a whole month. It can then be recharged via a Micro-USB port. Among other advantages of the accessory is its waterproof feature with a rating of IP67. The developer also claims the ring is dust proof.

The device is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows phones.

Key features:

  • Fin should come with Water-proof: IP67.
  • Size/Fit: Flexible.
  • Battery: Li Po custom battery with micro-USB charging dock.
  • Sensors: Fin can track accurate movement of your thumb on the palm also detect each part of your finger where you are touching.
  • Communication: Bluetooth 2.1+ EDR and 4.0
  • Compatibility: Windows, MAC, iOS, Android, Windows Phones.

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With just a swipe motion, the ring allows you to control your smart TV, change the channels, control sounds, navigate your maps, receive calls and read messages, change music, and other car utilities. You can easily share your data with a tap of your finger.

The ring will come in white, orange, black, blue and green, with shipping estimated for September.

Fin is still in prototype phase, and a crowd-funding campaign has been launched via Indiegogo. To gain a ring for yourself you’ll have to pledge $130.

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Apple releases ‘Made for iPhone’ specifications for iBeacons

In a push for wider iBeacon adoption, Apple has on Tuesday released the iBeacon specifications for members of the “Made for iPhone” program, Apple’s program for hardware partners.

iBeacons are known as Bluetooth low-energy transmitters that use Apple’s iBeacon API to send micro-location information to nearby apps and devices. This accessory is compatible with Apple’s iPhones and iPads, as well as other devices that use Bluetooth LE.  iBeacon is particularly interesting for retailers.

Apple is now implementing tighter control over who can use the ‘iBeacon’ branding. That means, that the company is now requiring manufacturers meet certain specifications before using ‘iBeacon’ on their products. According to Apple’s “Made for iPhone” program, manufacturers will have to ask for permission to use the iBeacon name on products. Fortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any requirements that would limit the functionality of beacon products already on the market. The requirements are comparable to those for Bluetooth accessory makers under the MFi program. Using the term iBeacon requires manufacturers to meet specific criteria, which are only available after a non-disclosure agreement has been signed. ibeacon-131206

This new specification provides Apple more control over the iBeacon trademark, meaning no longer usage of the iBeacon brand without consent from Apple.

With introduction of iBeacon micro-location technology, users received a new great way to interact with their environment.

After a number of tests, Apple released the technology in December at its U.S. retail stores. Most recently, Major League Baseball announced successful iBeacon installations at stadiums that will send notifications that include info related to the game and stadium through the MLB At the Ballpark app. MLB also announced its plans to apply iBeacon tech in over 20 parks before the 2014 season’s stateside opener in March.