Accessories, News/Rumors

Elgato announces new Eve connected smart home accessories

Elgato has unveiled its new lineup of smart accessories at this year’s IFA 2014 trade event in Berlin.

“Eve” connected home sensors features full integration with Apple’s HomeKit home automation platform and enables users to monitor various home conditions, including  air quality, smoke, air pressure, energy, humidity and water consumption. To collect this information, Eve uses several sensors and then reports back to the iPhone or iPad via the Elgato Eve app.

There are no details on pricing and availability of the product, but the company says it will announce availability soon.

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In addition to Eve, Elgato has also announced its own $49.95 Avea smart lightbulb, that connects to your Apple device directly via Bluetooth and allows you to change color and set the lighting mood in any room. Plus, the new product offers an alarm feature that wakes you with the gentle light of a 7W LED bulb pumping out 430 lumens. The notable thing is Avea does not need a hub like the Philips’ line of Hue smart bulbs, and can utilize multiple bulbs to coordinate lighting patterns. 

Aside from its new Eve and Avea smart home accessories, Elgato has also introduced its upcoming Smart Power intelligent battery. The high-end Smart Power is a 6,000 mAh external power bank that features self-monitoring capabilities, integrated with the Elgato Smart Power app. It’s available now for $99.95.

Additionally, the company is planning to announce its offerings based on the HomeKit smart home platform, which is believed to be presented by Apple at its special media event on Tuesday, Sept. 9. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

August Smart Lock finally starts shipping to customers

Almost a year after the August smart lock system was originally announced, the new device finally started shipping out to preorder customers and a wider launch by October is also planned by the company.

First introduced in May of 2013, the August Smart Lock is a Bluetooth-based app-connected locking system created by Jason Johnson and designer Yves Béhar. The August is an unusual replacement for traditional keyed deadbolts that uses Bluetooth and a smartphone app to allow users to unlock their doors with their iPhones.

The product is made of anodized aluminum with a 3.25-inch diameter and reminds a standard home lock. The August is equipped with a few various faceplates and deadbolt adapters to fit the majority of locks on the market, running on four AA batteries. Installation is promised not to be too complicated: the whole thing will fit over the inside portion of your existing single-cylinder deadbolt hole.

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Through the iOS application, owners have the ability to add and remove authorized users, who are allowed to unlock the door with their device. That means, that users can share virtual keys with family and friends from an iPhone and when the homeowner or a guest comes to the door, August auto-unlocks and welcomes you into the home hands-free. You also have the power to set the length of their access from just a few hours to 24-7. The app notifies you when someone enters or leaves your home, so you can easily learn how long they stay. 

Users who pre-ordered the August lock will see their new product within the next few months. The August Smart Lock can now be ordered for $249.99 on the company’s website. Orders placed now are said to be fulfilled in late October. 

Accessories, News/Rumors

Om/One-first levitating Bluetooth speaker

Audio developer OM Audio has introduced its new product:the world’s first levitating speaker.  If you really want an impressive-looking Bluetooth speaker, you will enjoy the Om/One, a gravity-defying gadget.

The new device available for $179 includes a base and a round speaker that levitates above it. Thanks to magnetic levitation, the speaker floats about an inch off its base, allowing to achieve the spinning, levitating effect, all while the user is listening to the audio. The OM/ONE relies on its 75mm audio driver to provide its owner with clear, balanced mids, highs and lows.

Users has the ability to connect their phones or devices via bluetooth 4.0 to stream wireless music, and for pairing two OM/ONEs together for stereo sound.

The Bluetooth speaker can connect to most devices including smartphones, notebooks and tablets via Bluetooth 4.0, which are located at the distance of 33 feet.

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The round speaker can be used with or without its magnetic base, which needs an AC adapter, and features an integrated battery with up to 15 hours of non-stop play. It is also equipped with a microphone, meaning you can use the OM/One as a speakerphone.

The spherical speaker is 6.3 inches x diameter x 1.6 inches height, while a magnetic base is 2.1 pounds, 1.6 x 1.2 inches.

Om/One is offered in three colors: black, white or “disco ball”. The developers say it will be shipped in December. 

Accessories, iPhone, News/Rumors

Make your videos look professional with StayblCam!

Everyone knows how it’s difficult to make a video avoiding shaking in the picture. StayblCam is ready to help you to solve this problem!

The StayblCam is a little less than a foot long and a touch under two inches in diameter. Its weight is about a pound, so StabylCam can be easily put it in your bag as well as take it to the trip.

There’s a slot for a smartphone in the packaging of the item. But StaybylCam can be also used along with GoPro.

The user should insert iPhone into the slot and then regulate the length of the sections for it to be balanced.

If you wish, you can use the StayblCam upside-down.

The surface of the mobile adapter will be ameliorated with a new rubber compound providing StayblCam with stronger prehension of the iPhone.

The hole for wriststrap is also included. So you wouldn’t worry that you drop it.

The StayblCam will be presented in a different colours.

In the future the support of tripod, an iPad mount and a clip-on iPhone holder for use as a wifi viewfinder for a GoPro/Garmin Virb camcorder will be also added.

The StaybylCam offers better movement when keeping the phone in your hand.

The price is $75, and people who are fond of shooting are sure to like this accessory. You can buy the item on the StayblCam website.

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.

Accessories, News/Rumors

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.

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

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.

 

Accessories, Apps Lists, News/Rumors

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.

Accessories, News/Rumors

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.”