Posts Tagged ‘bluetooth’

It seems like not a day passes where another Apple compatible product is released, as companies scramble to profit from the design savvy consumer Apple  produces for.

Logitech are pretty much ahead in this arena, but I have to admit they are on fire at the moment with some of the products they are releasing and seem to have their finger on the pulse.

Bring on the Logitech Z600. The sleek, Apple-esque, wireless stereo speakers for your desktop. These cool units house three drivers each and can hook up to smartphones, tablets or laptops over a Bluetooth connection. Logitech have kindly included a Bluetooth dongle for those who do not have this built-in to the electronic device they are using.

The speakers allow for 3 simultaneous connections to your devices and can easily switch between them when the command is sent. Volume is controlled via the right speaker with a touch panel at the top which allows you to glide your finger iPod style and a 3.5mm jack is housed at the rear for those devices without the ability to connect wirelessly. Along the back of the right speaker, you can also find the power and pairing button which are hidden nicely.

These speakers will not look out-of-place and are at the right size to sit on your desktop and look pretty cool. You may want to think of these as a cheap alternative to a multiroom system as they are cheap enough to buy and place in every room and then just stream music from your smart phone and confidently fill most rooms with good sound.

Released in August with a RRP of £129.99 in the UK.

Z600

 

Airbus, not content with spending all their time on fixing A380 issues has come up with a superb idea….Smart Luggage!

Now, like me you are probably thinking….WTF!? But I am sure the majority of people reading these blogs (Hello to both of you) have been in the situation where you are waiting for your luggage at the airport, watching the conveyor belt go round and round as more people leave happily with their cases…your heart begins to sink, your smile drains from your face….”Why does this always happen to me” we all mutter to ourselves, well this all could be a thing of the past.

According to the Australian Business Traveler, Airbus have released a prototype of its iPhone enabled smart luggage. The prototype, called Bag2Go uses a GPS tracker, RFID chip and a 2G connection to record where the bag is in the world with a “Find my bag” app. The case would work with an iPhone app which records the data and will show you where the case currently is, also apparently alerting the owner when it has been opened.

The RFID chip will be utilised so that the bag can be tracked by the airport itself, matching the flyer and the case on their journeys. The airline has teamed up with T-Mobile and Rimowa to develop this project, but doesn’t intend to sell the bags, but is releasing the license for others to buy it or rent out the service.

Airbus are looking for this to be involved in a “rent a bag” scheme where the case is delivered to your door, you fill it, they scan it and take it away and it arrives ready for you at your destination, giving you hassle-free traveling.

TheTechSpy gives a big thumbs up to the integrated scales in the handle which wirelessly links to the iPhone to simply weigh the case without the need for a separate accessory. We would have loved to have seen Bluetooth involved in conjunction with the iPhone to display a notification when your case has strayed from your side for extra security, but maybe we will leave this for version 2.0.

Let’s just hope the case doesn’t have battery issues like its Boeing competitor.

Bag2Go

 

 

 

 

UK radio specialist Pure have today unveiled its latest model, the Evoke F4 internet radio.

While its exterior looks like a retro radio, its interior has nothing retro about it. This cheeky little box offers radio via WiFi from DAB, internet and normal FM sources and can also be used along side Pure’s very own Jongo system.It also includes Bluetooth and a “Tag” button which can automatically pull up track information on a song playing on the radio.

Pure are really considering those trying to build a multi-room system by allowing you to construct the system slowly without the need of buying a costly whole system package. This unit will work as a standalone digital radio or as part of the Jongo set up which includes speakers like its Sonos competition.

The Evoke F4 is constructed with a real wood case and has an OLED screen to show all station information and weighs in just under 1.5kg giving it a nice retro well made feel.

The F4 allows you to record internet and DAB radio direct to a USB flash drive to listen to later and of course gives you access to all on-demand podcasts and programs.

The Pure Evoke F4 has one 7W 3.5″ speaker and has an optional battery pack that will keep you going for a continuous  12 hours wireless use. The F4 goes on sale today for £179.99 with optional Pure music subscriptions starting at £4.99 a month.

Pure-Evoke-F4

 

 

 

 

Agent

 

Well, just when we thought that the likes of Pebble were taking over the world of smart watches and all we had to look forward to were the super powers of Google and Apple stamping out the competition, there’s a new kid in town.

Agent, a Kickstarter collaboration from Secret Labs & House of Horology is a real smart watch which I think has hit the nail on the head in terms of design. Let’s leave the techie stuff for now, this watch will not look out of place in the gym, out at the shops or even at the office, which is rare in a smartwatch like this. The solid, almost industrial design looks superb and so different to anything we have seen so far.

Now, the stuff you have been waiting for, what’s inside the dinky little case….Firstly, let’s talk about the dual processor. This is one of the first times this has been used, one processor looking after the bulk of power hungry apps ( ARM Cortex M4) and the other, a smaller chip which takes care of business in sleep mode, making sure power consumption is kept to a real minimum (11% of last years processor consumption).

Inside, the watch also houses a bluetooth chip which like all other smart watches connects to your phone to pull data or even control it. It will work with iPhone 4S and higher, Android 2.3+ and Windows Phone 8, so most of us will not have issues with compatibility. One of my favourite things about these smart watches is notifications in the form of vibration. Imagine sitting in a meeting and your phone is ringing, a quick glance of your watch face tells you whether it is important or not, enabling you to divert the call or get up and take it.

The watch is water resistant and most importantly has a rechargeable battery with a 7 day life span (with Bluetooth on)which is wirelessly charged via the Qi pad supplied. Interestingly if you have a Qi pad by other manufacturers this will still charge. The watch also includes an accelerometer for use with step counting and anything else developers wish to do with it and 2 light sensors to control the brightness of the anti glare screen.

To sum up, this watch isn’t a million miles away from the devices out there, but where we do see a massive difference is in the design, and this is where you can see the impact of getting an outside designer (House of Horology) who have given a different aspect on creating a smart watch.

For the first time, here is a watch that I would consider leaving my designer watch at home. Order yours now for $199 with $15 delivery to the UK with an expected delivery in Jan 2014.

 

 

 

It was only a few years ago when we were all playing CD’s in our cars, with our glove boxes crammed with alphabetised CD holders to store our delicate discs. We were all worried about every bump in the road that would skip our prized collection while out on a summer’s day.

Now in 2013 things are very different! Technology has left no industry untouched and cars are really starting to see a massive change to keep up with these advancements.

Pioneer, no stranger to being top of the market have now released the AVIC-F50BT….the all singing, all dancing powerhouse for your motor.

This in-dash unit (type 2 DIN) has a motorised 7″ multi-touch, hi-Res, anti-glare display which looks amazing day or night. Packing a CD/DVD drive it will play films (DIVX) and music alike and even has a GPS chip in-built for navigation. The maps come pre-installed for 45 countries and will include 9.2 million POI’s and TMC traffic receiver for a superb navigational experience.

In terms of connections, it’s probably easier for me to list what it can’t have connected, but then that would be no fun at all. So here is the list;

– Bluetooth – Hands-free calling, music streaming via A2DP and phone book transfer.

– Micro SD/USB slots/Aux in – Playback functionality

– HDMI – Android smartphone connection

– 2 rear auxillary inputs

– iPhone/iPod connection – charging, music and video playback

– Steering wheel button connection – Using the factory fitted buttons to control the head unit.

Using its dual zone entertainment facility, you can display films on rear screens for any passengers you are carrying. It will also allow you to input climate and parking sensor data onto the screen (with compatible cars) to further integrate this monster into your car. A mic is included in the box to aid with audio setup using the inbuilt AUTO EQ for the best possible sound which shows Pioneer’s experience in this area creeping into the design.

My one gripe with these in-car units is security is not normally high on the agenda. Unlike the old style head units which came away to put off any would-be thief, the screen based units normally proudly sat in place with no real security function. But, the F50BT is not only password protected, but has a detachable screen plate….well done Pioneer!

The big thing in cars at the moment is app mirroring and Pioneer have not left this out. This allows the user to use compatible apps directly on-screen through the connected smartphone. With the likes of Apple rumoured to be pushing Siri onto your dashboard, voice guidance and text to speech have been included.

This unit will not only look great but perform it too. At £899.99 in the UK, and with 18 languages in-built, this is a serious upgrade to any car, but expect this to go on sale when the Siri integration really starts to gain momentum.

AVIC-F50BT

Fitbit, the San Francisco based company who aim to make all of our lives more healthy, have today launched the Fitbit Flex wristband for pre-sale in the UK after a US launch on Monday.

The company say “We take a common sense approach to fitness, and believe that the key is to make it easier for consumers to be more active, eat smarter, and get enough sleep — in short, that small changes to your daily routine can add up to big results. To that end, we aim to create innovative, inspiring products and online services that harness the power of new technologies to make people more aware of their everyday activities and motivate them to do more.”

Going in direct competition with the likes of Nike’s Fuelband or the Jawbone UP (covered back in March), the company has come in and undercut both of these offerings.

The wristband will sync with iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth 4.0 and is meant to be worn day and night with a 5-7 day rechargeable battery life. The Flex can track the amount of steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled and the amount of hours slept and then update this data to your smartphone or computer.

As expected, the wristband is water-resistant and neatly has a silent wake alarm to bring you back to life at the best time in your sleep pattern. The little LED’s on the device show how well you are doing on any set goals you have applied to yourself via the software to keep motivating you during your day.

It’s pretty much like the others in its field, but at a lower price point. The only issue we see at the moment is that the wristband is only compatible with some new select Android devices in the form of the Samsung Galaxy S 3 and Note 2(iOS 4S upwards), but the company have said that they will be updating this very soon after launch.

Pre-order for £79.99 delivering in spring 2013.

fitbit flex

 

 

 

Logitech have announced a couple of universal remotes to their armoury to bring them in line with current technology.

The remote control specialists have firstly brought out the Harmony Ultimate, an all-in-one, rechargeable RF controller with a touchscreen display and backlit physical keys to play with. The Ultimate can control pretty much all IR devices (15 devices at once) which are not only visible but behind cupboard doors and can also control Bluetooth-enabled devices such as the Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii.

The Ultimate can also interact with the Philips Hue system to control lighting, so setting macros to dim lighting when choosing to watch a DVD will be simple with the easy to use bundled software. Along with this, Logitech have now created the Harmony Smartphone app which allows you to use both iPhone and Android devices to control items in your set up, with easy to master touch gestures to use.

Those of you who prefer to just use your smartphone to control your A/V kit, can now do so with the Harmony Smart Control. Again using the Logitech Smart App, it controls all devices with the included Hub and even comes with a spare physical remote for the days that your phone does not want to play ball.

The Harmony Ultimate will be released in the UK in May for £230, with the Harmony Smart Control expected at £109 shortly after. These may seem expensive, but they are truly easy to set up and look good in any living room. The one thing (from personal experience) is that Logitech’s support for these remotes is second to none, and they literally will not rest until this is working properly in your home. The app will be available for download from the App Store or Google Play for free.

Smart ControlUltimate

Not all of us can afford to drive the kind of cars that have tech built into the dash, but now Parrot want everyone to be able to have access to it.

Bring on the Asteroid Smart, this Android powered, double-din, clever little unit will provide most cars with the ability to be connected and of course give you the kind of tech normally found in luxury motors.

The unit comes with Wi-Fi in-built, 4 x USB slots, Bluetooth, 6.7” capacitive touchscreen display, SD slot and is camera ready. You can download apps from the Asteroid Marketplace to allow you to have internet radio, music on demand and even driver assistance, so all units are customisable to the owner.

The Asteroid Smart can connect via Wi-Fi, USB 3/4g dongle or even connected via compatible smartphone to pull the data it needs to keep you informed. This can be used to access weather reports, emails, internet pages etc. It is also packing a GPS sensor which when combined with the choice of navigational apps will keep you on the right path.

Music can be played from a connected USB or SD card and has the ability to play directly from your iPod/iPhone via cable or using A2DP over Bluetooth direct from your iPhone. The most exciting part is the ability to download the likes of Spotify to potentially give you a huge database to choose from.

This unit is an outstanding piece of kit for any car and will catapult your vehicle into the 21st century, but one issue that we have to mention, is that although the unit has a partial detachable faceplate, will this deter thieves from breaking into your car as they see the beautiful screen proudly displayed?

This point aside, at about £475 this device is not cheap, but we believe you get what you pay for and Parrot have certainly given us everything!

Asteroid Smart

MiiPC - The Compact Family PC

MiiPC – The Compact Family PC

“The next generation Android PC for your family with a companion parental control mobile app”

The MiiPC is a very compact computer being funded on Kickstarter aimed at families running Android’s Jelly Bean 4.2 OS. The mini PC will allow you to connect a keyboard and mouse so that it feels like any other desktop you have used, but keeps it simple with a kid friendly operating system which runs all of your favourite Android apps but under the parent’s control.

One of the best features of this is the included mobile app that is available for both Android and iOS which can monitor real-time usage and limit the amount of time your kids can use certain parts of the PC. Let’s imagine that your child should be doing their homework, a quick view of the app may show it is being used for gaming, allowing you, the parent, to efficiently lock down usage just for homework based apps! You can even view how the multiple users are spending their time on the PC through the time management side of the app.

The unit itself has 1gb of DDR memory and 4gb of internal storage, but you can expand this via USB 2.0 or the integrated SD card slot. It has Wi-Fi with Ethernet port and Bluetooth 4.0 built into the box and supports Full HD content via its HDMI port. The unit can be used with apps such as Facebook, Google chrome and even Netflix to stream movies and also comes bundled with free productivity office suites.

This looks to be a truly simple concept for not only the user, but the person controlling the usage in a world where parents are quickly losing control of what their kids are doing on the internet. Starting at $89.99 with a $30 postage charge to the UK (shipping in July) it really does deserve a second look.

Logitech Keyboard Folio

 

Launched today, the Logitech iPad keyboard with tons of personality.

Logitech are known for great products, with well thought out premises and even better support, the Keyboard Folio is next in line with today’s launch. The keyboard, with rechargeable battery connects to your iPad via Bluetooth and sports full-size keys that make it feel more like a Macbook Air. The keyboard is recharged with the supplied mini-USB cable and apparently lasts up to 3 months.

Logitech have really thought about the design of this, as it is not only a keyboard, but also a stand and Folio-style protective case. The outer case uses magnets to stay securely closed and also works to wake the iPad when it is opened just like Apple’s very own Smart Cover. Once opened, the case serves to stand the iPad like a laptop for hands-free viewing.

The fabric outer case comes in either pink or black and serves to protect your iPad’s screen, the Keyboard folio can be preordered direct from Logitech at £89.99 and also is sold for iPad Mini.