Posts Tagged ‘bluetooth’

There is only one thing that TheTechSpy team need in the morning to get them going and that is a good cup of coffee.

Whether it’s a cappuccino, flat white or even a swift espresso, most of us feel better with that little hit of caffeine to get the old grey matter sparking.

So you can imagine, when one of coffee’s giants Nespresso announced the release of a new coffee machine which now includes a little smartphone connectivity, we were more than interested.

Nespresso Prodigio is one of a handful of connected home coffee machines that we have  seen….and my is it a beauty.

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Nespresso have always been an elegantly styled company and this machine is totally in line with their brand. I couldn’t see this machine out of place in any home and the fact it is a small form factor helps as it would be perfect for an apartment.

Now, the techie side….this machine is not yet connected to the internet of things, but that’s not to say that they will not do this in the future. It all works through a Bluetooth connected app which allows you to see water level, when the machine needs descaling and also when you need to buy more capsules (which you can order through the same app). All these notifications will be useful to any person using this on a daily basis.

But what we really wanted to see was some sort of remote use, which when you think about is a little pointless as at present my ordinary bog standard Nespresso machine only has one button to press after putting a pod in and turning it on. But if we looked at all tech like this, I think we would see a lot of devices would not even exist under this premise.

The app allows you to remotely make a cup of coffee at 3 set sizes, which potentially has some good use. If I am honest, after a week of waking up at 5.15am I would probably be fed up with opening an app and making a coffee like this, but where it would get interesting is if Nespresso worked with IFTTT which would allow you to set a chain of actions, for example when my alarm goes off start brewing my espresso or when I get in from work start making a coffee.

I think this machine is cool, but it represents the advancement of technology in a sector that normally would not be associated with this. That is the important thing here, that companies like Nespresso are realising that this is needed. The firm’s managing director Francisco Noguiera said that the machine is to “showcase the latest coffee technology” and to “listen to the consumer need for greater convenience and personalisation of products” which in my opinion although true, this machine is a little half hearted in that sense.

The device in its current state is merely a talking point when friends come around, but if we set aside the actual tech it is a beautiful looking machine albeit a little overpriced at £200+.

Would I go out and buy this? No, for the first time in a long time I think I will stick with my existing unconnected Nespresso machine which merely asks me to turn it on and then make a choice of 4 buttons as to which coffee I want.

Once again, we look forward to the future of this booming sector.

TheTechSpy

 

 

 

 

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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

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Nowadays our lives are dominated by screens. Whether it be your PC, Laptop, tablet or smartphone, we are all focused at some point in our day on them.

Although this seems like a bad thing, one thing is for sure, environmentally this is great, as paper is slowly becoming less of a part of our lives.

I am not sure if this is the same for you, but this does mean with all that finger poking at screens and mouse clicking, I almost feel like I have forgotten to hold a pen, as when I go to write a note it feels like I haven’t held one in years which I have to say I do miss.

But of course with most things recently, somebody comes along to bridge that gap and today we focus on OTM Technologies who have started crowdfunding Phree, the digital input device.

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This is the “write anywhere” device which lets draw, write, annotate on pretty much any surface. It will connect to all of your devices over a Bluetooth connection and is compatible with apps like Office, Evernote, OneNote, Acrobat, Google Handwriting Keyboard, Viber and more. So you can sketch or jot down ideas, thoughts or even take down details instantly.

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Personally, I can really see this being used in meetings, quickly jotting down notes and minutes to view digitally at a later date, but I have to say I do like the idea of being able to just pull this out and start writing anywhere.

One thing that really surprised us was the fact that not only is it an awesome digital input device, but it will also function to take calls as a headset and to briefly see texts and write to reply back to them…..now that is cool!

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The carry case will charge Phree on the go. The cap attaches magnetically to the body of the case to form an adjustable stand for any smartphone. Just place your phone in the stand, begin writing or drawing off-screen with Phree – you have an instant mobile workstation that actually works. Phree can be ordered with or without a case.

The dimensions are as follows L x 142mm, W X 18mm and a Weight of 30 gr with a touch swipe display on board the pen. Phree at the moment comes in 4 colours, but the designers will run a survey to properly deduce what colours people want.

We love this and have not seen anything like it. It is is fully funded on Kickstarter and you can currently nab yourself one for $189 with a case.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Have you ever lost anything? Then taken an absolute age to find it, only to wish that you had some kind of device that would find lost things (OK, that last bit might only be me).

Well, I think I can safely say that we have all been there, and like with other inventions, from this annoyance a solution has been found. Now these guys don’t claim to be the first to do this, but what they do claim is to be the first in the world to make each iFind tag to need no battery at all.

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This is a significant change, as the only thing more annoying than having to charge each individual tag from time to time is when you actually need to find the item you have lost, it has no power!

It connects to your device (either Android or iOS) via bluetooth and has a range of about 60m in open spaces. This should allow you to find items in any normal house.

In order to sync the tag with your phone, you simply put the free app into pair mode and bring the blank tag close to it. This will allow you to pair the devices and also name the tag. If you have a few, this will mean you can call up individual tags to find them instead of walking round your house like a madman going from tag to tag trying to find one in particular.

They do come in a range of colours to suit all needs and I could name so many different situations this device would be good for, but I am sure you have already done that yourself.

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The applications are massive and they even give the suggestion of using this to trace pets around the house or garden. You can pick these up from Kickstarter right HERE for $16 if you are lucky, but the twin pledge seems like good value at $30.

We think this is a superb product and once again keeps your phone at the centre of your life.

So winter is finally drawing in here in London, so when better to sit down in front of the fire with my new super light iPad Air. Once again I am faced with the age old question….”Which case do I buy for my iPad?”.

Well this time I had the opportunity to cover the ZAGG Folio Keyboard for the iPad Air (thanks Richard) and it hasn’t disappointed.

From the second you hold the box in your case, it is immensely satisfying how it has even been packed, allowing you to open the case and view it in the shop as it discreetly opens like a book with its magnetic clasp allowing you to touch the product before you buy.

The ZAGGkeys Folio is a mere 7.6mm thin and only 17.7mm, when holding your iPad. This makes it one of the thinnest keyboards available on the market today but somehow have managed to keep it made of quite a hard wearing material that feels like leather. This case features a pivoting hinge that allows you to place your iPad at virtually any viewing angle, just like a laptop screen. Open it up, set it to your preferred angle, and just start typing as it is held in place wonderfully.

It amazes me how thin they have actually got this case and with the iPad inside, it feels like a fully blown netbook. The annoying thing with this is that it tricks the mind so much that I have found my finger so many times looking for the mouse touch-pad, regularly found on laptops. Even with this small form factor, the Zaggkeys manages to fit a 950 mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery inside which the manufacturers say will last several months with normal usage….all I can say is that it hasn’t faltered with me yet, but I have tested the USB charger which comes with the device.

Along with the rigidity of the screen, one of my favourite things about this keyboard is the backlit keys. The keyboard connects to the iPad via Bluetooth and the cool backlit keys omit a blue/white light to sufficiently aid you in low light conditions and generally just look awesome.

The designers have opted for an island style of keys on the keyboard which as a Mac user I am very at home with. It seriously beats the likes of Microsoft’s Surface keyboard case as this was just unresponsive and you simply had to press hard for the keys to react.  The “F” keys are replaced with shortcut keys which work very well with the iPad Air. When closed, the iPad is fully protected as it sits inside its clamshell case.

In terms of weight, due to the iPad Air being so light, it is fine for me and really doesn’t make me think of the weight every time I pick it up. My only issue with this device is that it doesn’t angle into a tablet form, so you are constantly faced with taking the iPad out of the case to hold it in the manner that Steve Jobs himself wanted you to.

Apart from this small issue, I cannot see anything else wrong with the device, it performs better than any of the cases in the same field, it’s light and protects your iPad from most falls and impacts and still manages to look and feel like a premium product.

The iPad Air Folio Keyboard case by Zagg, available now at £99 in black or white. Zaggkeys-Cover-image-001