Posts Tagged ‘Bluetooth 4.0’

Tile, Inc. launch their second generation Tile today. For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, the Tile is a $25 Bluetooth tracker that can be used to keep tabs on keys, bags or anything else of value.

The battery is not rechargeable or replaceable which means that when the battery dies the whole Tile needs replacing, but on the plus side it’s a sealed unit with an IP5 waterproof rating. The battery is estimated to last around a year under normal circumstances. Now, whether $25 a year to track one item is worth it is up to you.

Ask yourself how much it would cost to replace the item you’ve attached it to.

The Tile boasts such long battery life compared to other trackers because it has no GPS radio and instead relies entirely on the location data provided by your phone.

In an ideal world the Bluetooth range could be up to 100m. In practice, it would be less due to walls / interference etc.

As for the operation of the Tile app, if you lose your item you just open the companion app, click on the relevant Tile and click Find. If your Tile is within Bluetooth range, the app will give you the option to find it, alongside its current location information. If you press the Find button, the Tile will begin to loudly chirp away so that you can locate it by ear.

If your Tile is out of range, the app will report the last time and place it was seen so you know where to start looking.

If you still can’t find it, the community of Tile users can help.

Anybody who happens to walk past your missing Tile with the app running on their phone will anonymously update its location. As Tile put it – “This feature is 100% private—no one knows you’re looking for a lost item but you.”

But that was the first generation Tile.

The second generation Tile includes new features designed to keep it ahead of the pack. We’ve been testing one for the last couple of weeks to see how it fares.

I was a initially a little disappointed to find that the new Tile hasn’t lost any bulk compared to it’s predecessor. Second generation devices like this are usually a bit smaller due to the miniaturisation of components and manufacturing refinements.

That feeling was short lived however as this new model houses additional circuitry for its killer feature – Find My Phone.

This flips the concept of using your phone to locate the Tile on its head. Now, double pressing the ‘e’ on the Tile logo locates your phone. It’s a great feature and one I’ve actually used more often than ‘find my Tile’ over the last few weeks. The beauty of this feature is that you are very unlikely to misplace both your phone and your Tile so if you have access to one, you can find the other.

It even promises to make your iPhone sound an alert when on silent. This does work, to an extent. So far as I can tell, it achieves this by playing music.

Think of it this way – your phone can play music even when the ringer is set to ‘Silent’ and the Tile does the same thing.

The one flaw I’ve found with this method is that if your phone is connected to a Bluetooth headset or other audio accessory,

the audible alert is routed through that device and not the loudspeaker.

I’ve reported this to Tile and they are looking into it. I have a Withings Smart Baby Monitor and their app overrides the current audio path to always play audio through the loudspeaker every time you connect, so it is possible.

Overall, I’ve found the Tile to be incredibly useful and the new Find my Phone feature is an excellent addition. For now, I only have one Tile attached to my keys and I think that’s all I need.

If it had a user replaceable battery it would be a much more attractive product, but as it is, I would give it 7.5 / 10

IMG_1732

TheTechSpy never thought he would be reporting on an item of luggage, but it is time to introduce this little baby.

It was only a matter of time before someone was going to do this as it is an arena which has been fairly untouched by Tech and in need of a shakeup.

Introducing the Bluesmart carry on case with some serious in-built features that you just wouldn’t expect. Let’s start off with the “smart” part of the case. This piece of luggage will connect to your smartphone allowing you to not only digitally control the lock, but also track its location. With this, it also has a built in proximity sensor which will alert you via your phone if you stray too far from your case or if it indeed strays from you.

Bluesmart Case Lock

The team are promising smartwatch apps which will show all the information that your phone would display but on your wrist. I would be particularly interested in this as when moving around the airport is not always convenient to pull out your phone.

You can tell the team behind this have really sat down and researched what is wrong with the current design of luggage. A great feature to show this is the digital lock which will tell you if your case has been opened, so you will always know if the authorities have been through your case. The lock is also TravelSentry approved and has a feature that when you move away from it, the case will automatically lock for extra security.

The case itself has an in-built digital scale that when you hold the handle and lift the case, will provide the weight information directly to your phone app, hopefully stopping all those unwelcomed airport charges.

Scale

Inside, the firm have provided easy access spaces for your laptop or tablets and a hidden removable battery that can be connected to your phone to recharge on the move. We would have loved to have seen some kind of recharge of this batter via the rolling of the wheels. It would be cool to get a little charge back for the work you are doing pulling it around the airport.

Recharge

As a basic case, this has been built to a very high standard. The team have opted for 4 wheels to improve the way this case moves around and used anodised aluminium and polycarbonates to keep the case lightweight.

All in all this is an awesome smart suit case which you can carry onto the aircraft. But the things to consider here are firstly the ever changing rules of the airlines which at the moment here in the UK can force you to check the baggage in. Secondly, the company are yet to confirm the warranty details, which for the likes of Samsonite are set at 10 years and over. Last but not least is the August 2015 delivery via Indiegogo….these crowdfunding campaigns have a horrible habit of taking longer to deliver than promised so expect this to go over its target.

With all this being said, $235 + $40 shipping (£170ish) is a cheap punt to take on a product that could revolutionise this sector.

I have never been so excited by luggage…..take notes Samsonite, this case is a glimpse of the future.

Indiegogo

Bluetooth is a wonderful thing, and since the likes of Apple have created AirPlay, our devices can connect to others to release our playlists from the palm of our hands. 

The problem most of us face, is having to move on with the times….yes we all have the iPod, iPhone or Android handset, but our sound systems do not connect wirelessly, pushing us to connect our lovely portable devices via AUX and leave them by the sound system’s side. 

OK, you could go out and buy a whole new sound system, plenty of Samsung, Onyko and Pioneer Amps now include AirPlay, but you will have to part with around £500 for the pleasure. 

In come the guys at Audioengine who bring us the B1. This little device is an adapter designed solely for Audiophiles (doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get involved), with high-fidelity output that directly connects into your sound system. It lets you stream audio wirelessly via Bluetooth from your smartphone or Bluetooth enabled computer with superb sound quality. 

The B1 is housed in aluminium which oozes quality and sets to warrant the price tag. It measures 1″H 3.5″W by 4″D and has an adjustable antenna on the front. On the back panel we find the RCA stereo output for your receiver, a 24-bit digital optical output, and a micro USB port for power through the included power adaptor. The RCA cable is included in the box. 

B1 Rear

Under the hood, the B1 includes a 24-bit upsampling DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which provides the high fidelity music. This device will work beautifully with high quality music files and will play them at their best. A lot of the other devices on the market tend to make your music sound worse, this device will never degrade what you have and that is the beauty of it. 

The B1 supports the aptX codec and both the A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles and is simple to set up, with the iPhone 5S taking just seconds to pair. Inside the box you get a small drawstring carrying pouch in addition to the USB cable and power adaptor if you want to travel with it. 

This device performs well, sounds great and is the epitome of wireless audio for 2014. If you like your music and find that nothing out there does your playlist any justice, then give the B1 a go…..this is a force to be reckoned with!

£140 here in the UK or $189 for the US. 

Audioengine-B1

Over at Kickstarter the Elroy Project started yesterday and after 8 hours it is already fully funded and going ahead.

The cool looking unit not only offers Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity to multiple phones but also offers corded earphones which have a shorter cord to reduce tangling.

The unit clips to your clothing and includes magnetic docking points which give a secure location to hold the earphones when they are not in your ear. The docking points are also electronically activated to allow you to answer incoming calls just by removing the earphones and then replacing them terminates the call.  If you’re listening to music, placing the earphones on the docks will pause your music automatically.

The company is now looking at stretch goals and have hinted towards implementing Bluetooth 4.0 and custom designed earphones into the project. Those of you already with a set of ear/headphone will like the fact you may use your own with this. Alternatively you may use this just as a Bluetooth remote for your music which can also be quite handy.

The full package starts at $89 with $10 shipping outside of the US and has an estimated delivery of August 2013.

Elroy