I have a confession: I like things to be simple and convenient. Older generations may refer to this as "being lazy," but I think I just want things to work the way I want them to. I see nothing wrong with that, and I know I'm not alone. Ergo, when I caught a glimpse of Satechi's new Bluetooth Smart Pointer ($45), I knew I had to check it out. Why? Because when I'm streaming a movie from my tablet to the TV and I need to pause it, I'd rather grab a remote and hit "pause" instead of walking over to the device and doing it manually. Or when I'm streaming music. Or any other time when it would be more convenient to use a remote than to actually interact with my device. God I love technology.
But I digress. The Bluetooth Smart Pointer does more than just act as a remote control for media. It can also navigate the OS and Google Docs presentations, or even work as a remote shutter for your smartphone or tablet's camera. Take a peek:
OK, so they may have used a couple of iOS devices in the video, but basically everything works as advertised in Android – albeit not exactly the same. In fact, if you try to get things to work using the settings shown in the video you'll have bad luck and become quite frustrated with the product. Basically the only thing that works the same are the multimedia controls.
With that, here's a brief look at what each mode does and what they can be used to control in Android devices (from my experience).
In all honestly, this does basically nothing on Android. Mashing buttons will cause your device to behave erratically, so if you're looking for a way to make that happen, this is your setting. There is absolutely nothing else useful about it. But that makes sense, because it was really designed to work specifically with iOS.
As you might expect, this mode controls multimedia apps, like Spotify, Play Music, YouTube, and more. It can also be used to adjust the volume. But, it's not perfect; for example, in Netflix it can only adjust the volume. If you hit the play/pause button, it'll just fire up the music player and start blasting away, and that kinda sucks. In YouTube, the remote can be used to play and pause videos without issue; hit the forward or back buttons, however, and the music player is once again declaring its presence in the background. It's not ideal, but it does the trick for the most part. Better Netflix compatibility would be fantastic, but something tells me that's an issue with the app, not the Smart Pointer.
This is where basically everything else happens. You can control essentially every aspect of the device, from the homescreens, to menus, and most applications while in Presentation mode. Of course, it's slightly cumbersome, but it'll get the job done in a pinch. I'm not sure what sort of pinch you're in that you need to navigate your device with a Bluetooth remote, but hey – whatever.
Once you fire up the Docs app, you can use the up and down buttons on the pointer to navigate to a presentation, then launch it with the play/pause button. From there, it's all smooth sailing – use the forward/back arrows to get to the fullscreen icon, hit play/play pause, and away you go. You can move the presentation forward using the play/pause button, but unfortunately, there's no way of going back. The "star" button activates the controller's built-in laser pointer, in case you need to point something out or shine it in someone's eye during a presentation. Gotta keep those talkers in check somehow, I suppose.
Aside from that, there's one super-cool function in Presentation mode: remote camera shutter. Just hit the play/pause button with the camera app in the foreground and snap – it'll grab a picture for you. It's neat.
This mode can also be used to flip through pages in Play Books (like demoed on iBooks in the video). However, it can't do the same in Play Magazines. Boo!
Aside from the aforementioned modes, there's also a full number keypad, a Bluetooth button (for re-pairing), a keyboard button, and a backspace key beneath a sliding piece of plastic. I guess this could be useful for something, but the only thing I used it for was pairing the remote – which is treated like a keyboard in Android settings – to my device.
All-in-all, I think Satechi's Bluetooth Smart Pointer is a pretty useful little gadget, especially for anyone who has an actual use for this sort of thing. Or those lazy souls who just want a remote for their device. It packs quite a bit more than just a "smart pointer" into its lightweight, portable frame, works as advertised, and at $45 it won't break the bank. If you've been looking for a way to control your device without touching it, this is a pretty easy way of making that dream a reality.
As always, feel free to drop any questions in the comments section and I'll do my best to answer.