Posts Tagged ‘Smartphone’

It is not often something like this comes along, but recently firms have been battling it out for control of your heating.

I am sure we have all heard of Nest, the thermostat which can intelligently control your heating, but just took what seems like a lifetime to arrive in the UK as the good ol’ Yanks were trying to work out our heating system due to the strange weather we have here.

Well, in the meantime tado° have been working hard, to not only perfect a device, but also get it out to the market which is basically what we all want. They are a German company and have had this working in Europe since 2012 so already have some miles on the clock when it comes to experience.

I have to say, from the minute we started conversing with the guys at tado°, an element of professionalism is immediately apparent. They are happy to help and even asked for a photo of our boiler system so that could check whether they would be compatible.

A couple of days after ordering, a very sleek, well packed tado° box arrived on our doorstep and quickly we realised that the firm is pushing for well made simplicity. Even the box has been thought about.

Tado Box

As soon as you open the box the simplicity is still apparent as the clean white devices are well packed in its environmentally friendly packaging. The company has catered for every eventuality with even the conductive screwdriver and screws included in the package. We opted for the charged installation which was well worth it, as for most people the installation may be a little challenging.

Tado open

The box comes with the controller which replaces your existing unit. It strangely has no screen, but although I thought at first they had missed a trick, again they are trying to keep it simple and all can be controlled from the supplied app or online.

A smaller box connects directly to your router and a third solar charged device is picking up the temperature of your room.

When installing, you need to log on to the website and it actually has a step by step guide on how to install the device in all different scenarios of house set ups. It even knows when your router device is online and when the thermostat has been plugged in letting you go to the next step to set it all up.

All in all, installation was very simple, but I would suggest that if you know nothing about your heating system, get a professional to do as its reasonably priced and they guys that tado° are using were very good. The whole thing took about 30 mins to set up and was ready to go almost instantly.

SetUP

 

The app itself is the heart of the whole thing and works very well as again it has been kept simple. We are running this on an iPhone 5S and it is all very slick. You are first presented with your house temperature and then a small animation of your house with you in it. This indicates that you are in the house and tado° is looking after you.

 

 

Tado home

As you can see, the app is pulling data from the internet knowing that today it is raining where i live. Cleverly using algorithms along with data, the app gets to know things like that if it is particularly sunny outside and it needs to notch the temp up a degree or so, it may not have to turn the heating on to get to the desired temperature which helps to save you money. It also learns how quickly it takes to heat your house to the temperature you need, so it may stop the boiler a degree or so away as it knows that the remaining heat in the radiators will heat the rooms further. At the moment the system is not compatible with Blackberry or Windows phone, but we have been told that the latter is in the works.

 

The flaw is the lack of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone apps because, while tado can still be controlled via a mobile browser, the app is required to detect a user’s location and automatically adjust the temperature.We’re told a Windows Phone app is in the works.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/tado-smart-thermostat_Peripheral_review#1awEwPOGva2lIvWI.99
The flaw is the lack of BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone apps because, while tado can still be controlled via a mobile browser, the app is required to detect a user’s location and automatically adjust the temperature.We’re told a Windows Phone app is in the works.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/tado-smart-thermostat_Peripheral_review#1awEwPOGva2lIvWI.99Within the app, if you swipe from left to right you get the main menu, which allows you to set the system up. Here you can create schedules and let it know when you go to sleep on every day of the week. You can set it to work for either savings or comfort, but we have had this in the middle and it is working just fine.

Tado Menu

tado° does work if you have a separate hot water tank, but at the moment it works in the same schedule as your heating. For most modern houses this isn’t ideal as we would want it on a separate schedule as new tanks do not lose heat as much as they used to, so the ability to keep it at a desired temperature all day is not really needed. On talking to the developers, this will be addressed in an update next week where you will be able to set its own schedule.

But what sets this apart from the likes of Nest, Hive and Honeywell I hear you ask….well, it’s a nifty feature called “Presence Detection”. We especially like this as if for example your house is in the middle of a schedule where it should be heating up to a desired temperature and you leave the house forgetting to turn it down, tado° knows you have left. But the brilliance doesn’t stop there, if you are a mile away at the shops, tado° knows you are not that far away, so reduces the desired temperature down only a small amount in anticipation of your quick return, that way as you return back home it hasn’t got a huge amount of work to do.

On the other hand if you were to go to work and be more than a few miles away, the system knows you are a larger distance away and reduces the desire temperature right down so that you are not un-necessarily heating the house. You can add other users, so the device detects that someone may have stayed home one day, whereas old units would have just stuck to the schedule making you play with the thermostat, this device knows you are home so keeps a desired comfort temperature for you.

So far we are loving this device, but apart from the gadget excitement we get when we see stuff like this hit TheTechSpy’s doorstep, it still has to save you money as that is the aim of this kind of tech. The only way we can do this is by reporting back to you in a few months time for another update.

tado° 

£249 to buy or you can rent the device from them at £6.99 per month with no cancellation costs or minimum contract period. The cool thing is, if you decide to actually buy it, they will refund 6 months rental back to you during purchase.

Phone

 

So, the long awaited Doorbot arrived at TTS Headquarters just before the holidays and we could not wait to get this bad boy out to start reviewing it.

Let’s be clear here, from the second it is pulled out of its courier parcel, you do not think “Crowd-funded” product. This device would look completely comfortable sitting next to the first class products you ordinarily see in an Apple store.

On opening the box I was surprised to see the care that has been taken with this device. Firstly, not only are you given a screwdriver handle which also includes a screwdriver bit  to help you fit the device, but they also include a liquid level and drill bit with all wall plugs to ensure this can be fitted right from opening the box.

Open Box

Fitting is remarkably easy. Even those less DIY savvy of you will have no problem getting the device in place. The instructions show all the different places you may want to attach it to with a step by step guide and the camera can be angled quite freely to deal with most front door situations . We have ours directly connected to our old door bell wiring to power it but also wanted to have the door bell still chime inside when the Doorbot is pressed which is not actually functioning. We are currently waiting on the guys over at Doorbot to address the situation.

Once installed, setup was again very easy. It uses your smartphone app or can be accessed online via a laptop. My only gripe with the setup is that it only supports 802.11b when you would expect it to at least be N graded. We had trouble connecting the Doorbot to our Wifi and to get it to work we had to move the router much closer reducing the distance away from the router from 15 metres to 5 metres away (although the app still shows a very low signal).

After setup has been completed, using the device is relatively straight forward. The button is pressed and you get a notification on your phone. In this case we are using it with an iPhone so the notification is like all others and once opened you get the choice whether to answer the call seeing who is at the door (this took about 7-10 seconds to appear). We especially liked the walkie-talkie type push button to talk so that you get complete privacy inside the house when talking to someone at the door, but was not that impressed with the low quality video which is delivered to your device. We think this should be either your choice as it depends on your internet speed and wifi connection or an auto function depending on your connection.

All in all, this is a good product. The Doorbot team need to address a few issues which I am sure can be fixed in future updates delivered direct to the device. On viewing comments online their support is a little to be desired at the moment, but it will take them time to catch up with all support related issues as we cannot forget this is a small start-up which do not have the comfort of a whole department just to answer technical issues.

The Doorbot is an awesome product when you think of its roots, but they already have competitors close on their tails. Get yours for $199.

doorbot

 

 

So, yesterday we showed you the wonders of Piena, which promises to solve an issue that every parent has to endure, simplifying the sterilisation process for us all.

Call us the Mary Poppins of the Tech world, as we have something else for you on the horizon which we think again parents will love and in the end need!

One of the biggest fears in life is losing a child, which is so easy in modern day malls and super markets, but the guys over at BeLuvv think they have solved the problem. The idea was born after the founder himself lost his child in a supermarket and had to come up with an idea to keep track of him in today’s modern connected world.

Guardian, a small device which can be clipped to your child’s clothing or put into a watch type strap is used to communicate with your smartphone to keep track of your child’s whereabouts. When your child is in Bluetooth range, Guardian keeps track of them and notifies you if he or she approaches the tracking boundary which can be amended by the parent at any time from the app.

The device comes with an app to help you track your child in real time and it also creates a network of parents that grows stronger as more people join the system. Since every copy of the Guardian app can connect to central servers, when the child leaves the phone’s range, the cloud-based system can trigger an emergency network search, and you’ll get an alert with your child’s location if he or she is close to another person with the Guardian app.

Of course, this has to see a massive take up for it to become viable on a local level for the network search features, but as an out-of-range assistant will work extremely well. I cannot see any parent saying no to this, the wearable device can easily be worn by a child and at a pre-order price of $24.95 you cannot afford to not take a look.

320pd_2 320pd_4 app_02

 

So TheTechSpy has been busy this weekend playing with his iPhone and like all Gadgeteers out there, couldn’t wait for a glimpse of iOS 7 on a device.

Now let’s get the boring stuff out the way, we were testing the beta software for reviewing purposes only and in no way condemn you putting this beta software on your iOS device before its official launch unless you are a developer. TheTechSpy does not recommend any of the software used or take any responsibility for them, these are just the ones we used.

It is quite a simple process, so here is what we did;

1: Backed up our iPhone to iTunes

2: In the mean time we downloaded the beta software for our iPhone 5 CDMA A1429 from here

3: And then downloaded a DMG extractor

4: Use the free DMG extractor to open the downloaded file and extract the DMG/IPSW and put this in a location that you know (it will be the biggest file in the folder)

5: Once complete, we clicked on our device name on the left pane of iTunes.

6: Clicked the Summary tab

7: With our finger on the Shift key, click the “Restore” button and point the browser to the file you have just downloaded.

8: iTunes then began to restore the iPhone with the iOS7 beta software.

We are very pleased with the firmware version and are looking forward to the official launch in September to get our teeth really into this software.

 

ios-7-dmg-to-ipsw

 

 

 

 

Sapphire Screen

Krystal Screen

We have all tried at some stage in our lives to apply a screen protector to our smartphones delicate face preserving its pristine display for another day. Some of us have even managed to do it successfully….but the rest of us still have the air bubbles and mis-alignment to show for it!

The boys over at XGear are promising to launch a screen protector for you iPhone different to all the rest! “Crafted using state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, this one-of-a-kind screen protector keeps your device’s screen safe and untouched by scratches. XGear is proud to be the first company in the world to release a GENUINE Sapphire product to the public! Be one of the very first to receive this newest technology!”

If the demo video on Kickstarter is to be believed, the screen withstands pretty much everything, as they show even the iPhone’s display taking an impact from a hammer a number of times. Scientifically, sapphire can only be scratched by diamond, so the chances of actually marking this product is slim. Although this is meant to be one of the most protective screens on the market, it still seems to keep the high sensitivity we have all grown to love from the iPhone screen.

The screen is being Kickstarted for a hefty $60 with a $10 international shipping charge, and promises to be delivered in May 2013.

Krystal Screen Protector

 

Apple have filed a patent for quick access to certain apps directly from the iPhone’s lock screen.

Apple have said that the patent application outlines a system of rotating the “slide to unlock” slider on the iOS lock screen upwards, providing access to apps directly, without having to unlock the phone itself.

The patent does mention a touch sensitive home button on the slider which after a certain gesture would let you get access to certain apps.

Apple file a lot of patents, not all of them actually get used in final products, but this is the one that we think really needs to be implemented as the functionality in the lock screen is very limited compared to its competitiors.

Slide to unlock

40 years ago today, Motorola engineer Martin Cooper made one of the most important phone calls in the mobile phones history. Mr Cooper in New York, called Joel Engel of AT&T (a rival firm) and said “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cellphone, a real handheld portable cellphone. I’m ringing you just to see if my call sounds good at your end. ” This call not only symbolised a turning point in the technology’s history, but also marked the end of the race to produce the first portable phone, handing Motorola the win.

It was on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x which measured 9in tall, and had over 30 circuit boards within it. Its average talk time was 35 mins but needed 10 hours to recharge the huge battery.  It’s hard to believe that current smart phones descended from this device. Nowadays we worry less about the quality of the phone call and more the quality of internet access, maps, games and apps which our phones are powered to command.

Portable phones were primarily aimed at business men who needed to make calls on the go, now most of us could not imagine a life without the trusty smart phone in our hand as the industry alone generates annual revenues of around £800bn globally.

The Tech Spy can’t wait to see what the next 40 years of technology in this field brings the humble mobile phone.

Happy Birthday!

Old Phone