Posts Tagged ‘samsung’

Top Home Automation

We live in the digital age, which means living in the dark—technologically—is an outdated idea. Since you should always be in the know when it comes to what makes your home and lifestyle easier and more convenient, here are a few of Modernize’s favourite home automation apps that will make your life just a bit easier.

Apple HomeKit

Apple’s HomeKit is a revolutionary framework that enables you to configure various accessories in your home. You can control these compatible devices right from the app, so the possibilities are nearly endless.


One of our favorite HomeKit-friendly accessories is Elgato Eve Room. This smarthome sensor helps regulate air quality, humidity, and temperature. Tap Siri to assess your current air quality and conditions, and she can make necessary changes to keep you comfortable.


iDevices switch allows you to remotely turn switches on and off. Whether it’s electronics or lamps, you won’t have to worry about leaving something on all day. Just click a few buttons, and you can rest assured knowing your home is safe.


SmartThings is another app that turns your phone into a remote control. Just connect compatible devices to the platform, and you’ll be able to monitor it all from your iPhone. The great thing about this app is that it lets you know if there’s a problem, and devices can communicate to create a stream of information.


Did you leave the door open? Don’t worry. You can regulate your A/C so you don’t waste that precious (and expensive) cool air.


Reduce your carbon footprint by monitoring electronics through Belkin’s WeMo. We all have “oops” moments, so if you leave your curling iron on, you can safely shut it off with your smartphone. You can even set up your coffeemaker to start your cup of joe right when you roll out of bed.



WeMo allows users flexibility to automate as much as they want. The customizable app makes it easier to live and eliminates worry when you make mistakes.


Nest is an innovative home automation app that controls your thermostat, which conserves energy and your beloved paycheck. There’s no use wasting A/C or heat when the temperature fluctuates and you’re not home. You can easily control your home’s temperature on the go, so you don’t run into any surprises or high bills.


Nest is a great first step if you’re not quite ready to fully automate, and some energy companies offer incentives for connecting your thermostat to Nest.

Philips Hue

You can control the lights in your home from your phone, too. Whether you’re having a party, hosting a party, rounding your friends up for book club, or just simply spending time with family, you can adjust the tone, color, and contrast of your lights to create soft mood lighting.


Go festive around Christmas time with reds and greens, or spooky at Halloween with eerie orange and black light. You can control every bulb through the Philips Hue app. Guests will “ooh” and “ahh” about the added decor element!

Convenience and Reassurance

Home automation apps give you the peace of mind to leave the home and come back to a safe place with a perfect temperature. You can really cut down on energy costs and excess waste, which saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint. The days of worrying about what device you left running are over!

Our guest blog written by Kelsey Meyers from Modernize 


Our smartphones have come a long way when it comes to audio, but the problem is the thinner they become the less likely the audio quality will improve.

Take the iPhone for example, no one can argue that it is a superb phone and the audio output is pretty good, but it could be much better. Without a massive advancement in technology, this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Shure, the audio specialists, make some of the best earphones in the business, but even they think that plugging the Shure 535’s into the iPhone really doesn’t show off their potential. Try it, plug-in your best headphones into your iPhone and listen to a track, then listen to the same track with the same headphones on your computer with a dedicated sound card and you will very quickly hear the difference.

The only solution is a portable amp which magnifies the audio signal to amplify the sound. Otherwise without this, the louder you make the music the more distorted it will become. These portable amps need to be powered and are normally expensive and bulky and are aimed at the audiophile.

The guys over at UAMP want to change this with a Kickstarter campaign.

“We wanted to capture that premium sound you get from hi-end audio equipment and make it available on every device, without the complications, terrible interfaces, or exorbitant costs. Uamp provides the same hi-fi sound for a fraction of the price and size of standard amplifiers. The Uamp unit measures 43 x 43 x 9mm and weighs just 26 grams – we’ve crammed all the electronics of a hi-end amp into one tiny device. Its nano design means it can easily fit into the smallest of pockets, allowing you to carry it with you anywhere – walking, jogging and cycling, or travelling on the bus, train and plane. Combined with its ten hour battery life, Uamp is truly a portable device.”

The difference here is not only its size and ability to be recharged by USB, but also its price. With postage to the UK, this will cost you about £40 which for anyone who has spent £250+ on headphones it’s a small price to pay. UAMP have kept this simple and stylish, with little LED’s and a slick design. You simply plug-in your iPhone and then your headphones on the other side and away you go.


With a 10 hour rechargeable battery and adjustable EQ levels, working with every device no matter the makers, this really is an amp for the budding audiophile. Priced at about £45 all in on this campaign, it really is worth a punt, especially if the manufacturer delivers as much as they promise.



The idea of virtual reality has been around for a very long time, but few have been able to perfect the idea like the boys at Oculus Rift.

This company not only smashed through its Kickstarter campaign goals but still has investment flowing in with Facebook purchasing the company and now Samsung working with them to create a headset for its own media.

Of course, in any great market, others will strive to take a piece of the pie as the public is hungry for the new technology. The gaming industry is worth nearly $80bn, and some games gross more than some films nowadays so the fruit is there for the picking.

Oculus may be seeing its first real rival from China in the form of ANTVR. Still small and mobile enough to do what it wants without the huge corporate board that Oculus has with Facebook peering over its shoulder demanding results.

The ANTVR Kit includes a customisable remote, which is compatible with all games. The coolest form the remote takes is the hand gun which I think most of us will enjoy, giving you that "Time Crisis" type feel which we all enjoyed back in the 90's arcade scene.


The controller can be a simple joy pad, or happily transform into a joystick or steering wheel making it very versatile.

The headset is equipped with Full HD display (1920x1080, 1.03 megapixel per eye) and will give an IMAX style viewing environment with its large screen. They creators have even thought about glasses wearers making sure there is enough room inside to still wear them. It supports all the mainstream platforms including PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Android devices. All you need is a standard HDMI signal to use the headset as a screen.

The headset can be wireless, but currently it is an expensive add-on which we don't really think you need. We do like the idea of the "shotgun style" bullet reload to change the batteries in the device.

This is certainly a formidable rival for Oculus, it's price point is pretty much the same and it looks no lesser quality than its bigger brother and presents Oculus with a spin....the cool controller.

Starting at $300 with an estimated delivery date of September, we really cannot wait to test these out for ourselves.

Over on Kickstarter

I am quite confident in saying that a few of you reading this will have kids, and even more confident that most of you remember the 2am Club.

Let me refresh your memory if it has been that long, remember when your pride and joy used to wake between 2-3am screaming for milk, at which point one of your had to run to the kitchen, boil some water, mix the formula and then cool down the mixed formula enough to give to your baby….all while trying to open your eyes and wake up.

Well, a husband and wife team who used to work for Samsung have come up with some tech to make this task a little easier to swallow and are trying to achieve funding over at Indiegogo. As you can see below, it looks like an “old school” coffee machine which can be loaded with up to 24oz of formula which will stay fresh and dry for up to 4 weeks and up to 8oz of water.

All you need to do is place a bottle underneath and hit the “on” button which starts the 60 second countdown on the water boiling which is then cooled again to body temperature and released into the bottle which will sort out all sterilisation issues that most parents are concerned about. Once this is complete, you turn the formula wheel which dispenses 2oz of formula at a time until you get your desired amount. This complete process takes about 90 seconds.

Of course, along with this the all the units that will need cleaning are dishwasher safe and are BPA free. This device is also manufactured to the Microban standard to inhibit the growth of those nasty micro organisms.

All in all this looks like a great product and one that I can’t see any parent turning their nose up at. What a great idea for the home and that’s without even thinking about the possibilities of this in hospitals and countries that do not have a good quality supply of water.

Move over Teasmade, Piena are in town to save us even more time!






Now that the world is excited about the new editions to the Apple family, most of us turn to accessorise our new devices. As we all know, it’s a sudden rush for firms to bring out new cases and docks to tempt us into spending our hard-earned cash to protect and show off our phones.

Over the last year or so, some really cool docks have been coming out onto the market, the last we reviewed was the HiRise from TwelveSouth which proudly sits on my bedside, but now the 5S and 5C have been announced, we see more striving to bring you the next best thing.

Bring on EverDock from the guys over at FUZ Designs. They have just gone through the pledge level to make it a successful fundraising to build a dock which looks to have evolved from the ideas of some of the best on the market.

When you look at the design, I see a nod to the clever hideaway cable trunking at the base of the unit from HiRise and then the looks and solidity of the highly successful Elevation dock which also achieved funding through Kickstarter.

What we like about this dock is the aluminium design, again from a single block of aluminium blasted to give it a premium look and feel. You can opt for the single or dual dock and both work with Lightning, 30-pin and micro-USB cables, which includes the iPhone 5S,5C,5,4, iPad, iPad mini, Samsung and HTC.


One of the most interesting parts of this dock is not only the weight which helps when removing your device with one hand, but also the inclusion of the micro suction pads which are awesome at keeping the product stuck to the surface it sits on.

All in all, this is one of the best docks we have seen. Be aware that they have a delivery date in December which can be delayed and they are charging a $20 shipping fee for international buyers which is probably due to its sheer weight. But we would still buy this, it looks good, functions well and stays in-line with the look of the product you wish to dock.

Available over at Kickstarter from as little as $39

Dual Dock_large




In the last few years BMW have been known for the fibre optic iDrive system, a screen in the centre console which not only can see the status of many aspects of the car, but also let you control a great deal of those aspects. This system has had its faults (As all BMW drivers will tell you) but it was still ahead of most of the competition.

Recent BMW’s have been arriving with the new updated versions of iDrive which include connected apps and more integration with our smartphones. This is a great move for the German car company as what we would all like is the API’s to be released so that developers could make their own apps to control/see parts of the car.

Today, BMW announced the updates to ConnectDrive which is a great step in the right direction. Apple’s Siri stepping straight in to control overall voice command and the addition of Samsung’s very own S-Voice, offering the option to Android users. These service will allow the user to dictate messages along with voice commands inside the car while on the move.

Along with this update, we also see a touch pad creeping onto the centre console which can be used instead of the infamous twist controller, this can be used to zoom in and out of maps. A USB connection will also not be required in order to access one’s music library on an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. iAP will make it possible to browse and select music using the BMW controller and screen via a wireless A2DP Bluetooth connection with the same functionality as with USB connection. We also now see updates across Navigation, web access and Real time traffic info, but BMW have said that they are moving towards having automatic collision notifications being as standard, so a call centre will know when an air bag is deployed and where you are.

The other cool update is the amount of 3rd party apps that are being accepted, this includes Pandora, TuneIn and Rhapsody and soon will include Android compatibility for all of you who do not own an iPhone.

Our cars are slowly catching up with the rest of the tech world, but are seriously lagging considering what we can do with most other devices in our lives.

Come on guys, there is so much more potential in these information/entertainment systems, open source them and let developers have a play, then we will see how advanced our cars can really be!




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