A multicolored lamp that's controllable via an Android app isn't a new idea. Neither is a Bluetooth speaker, or a specialized USB device charger. But combining them all together seems like a pretty nifty approach, and more than 400 Kickstarter backers would seem to agree. The Luma lamp, which combines the features of the Phillips Hue and similar multi-color, connected lamps, a Bluetooth speaker, and a basic charger, has reached its $55,000 Kickstarter goal with almost a whole month left in the campaign.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) aren’t the sexiest topic out there, but they are a pretty vital part of daily operations for almost every major company and many small businesses. VPNs are used to securely connect a computer, tablet, or phone to a company's private network over the Internet, thus allowing people to work remotely while ensuring strict authentication and enforcing administrative policies. Even some power users are apt to set up a VPN if they want to make their home networks accessible while they're on the road.
Stop for a second and think about all the things you've imagined with Bluetooth connectivity. Now narrow that list down to all the absurd, goofy, or just downright ridiculous ideas you've had just for a laugh. Done? Good. Here's an idea so outlandish that I bet it never even crossed your mind.
Oral B just announced a Bluetooth-connected toothbrush (can we just call it a Bluetoothbrush?). With an app. It's going to be on display at Mobile World Congress.
Peanut butter and jelly – these things go together. Bert and Ernie? Same deal – they just work together. An e-cigarette and Bluetooth? Well, that's a tougher sell. The folks at Supersmoker think they're on to something, though. The new Supersmoker Bluetooth pairs with your phone to act as a speaker and Bluetooth headset, except it's in your mouth. The promo video is pretty weird too.
This contraption does the usual e-cig things with vaporizing nicotine solutions, but only one of the buttons controls that.
Successful doesn't even begin to describe the recently concluded Kickstarter campaign for the PowerUp 3.0. This smartphone-controlled paper airplane was only seeking $50,000 in funding, but has knocked it out of the park with more than $1.2 million in pledges. The Android control app was unlocked at the $150,000 stretch goal, but more has been added since then, and the first lucky backers will be getting their rewards as soon as next month.
The Bluetooth experience on Android has always been a rocky road. For the first few years Android relied on BlueZ, a "protocol stack" originally developed by Qualcomm for the Linux operating system. Despite many limitations and missing features, BlueZ served admirably until Android 4.2 launched with a new stack dubbed Bluedroid, a project built jointly by Google and Broadcom. Like any young project, the bugs were plentiful, but most of the critical issues were solved in the first few weeks.
We've seen at least one device that could be called a "smart ring" already: the wildly successful NFC Ring. But the Smarty Ring, currently accepting funding on Indiegogo, takes the idea about five steps further. It's a smartwatch, more or less, that's made into a ring form factor. Though it's not quite as capable as something like the Pebble, and nowhere near as powerful as the watches from Sony or Samsung, the idea is surprisingly attractive.
Sony has been surprisingly quiet on the smartwatch front since launching its SmartWatch 2. But now that the Galaxy Gear is gaining steam (or at the very least, getting a hell of a lot of advertising airtime) they've set out to put a little extra oomph in their Xperia-styled digital watch. A quick update to the Android app on the Google Play Store has given the device a few expanded capabilities.
There are a lot of Bluetooth keyboards aimed at Android tablets, but ASUS' Transformer series of tablets and docks has long been a favorite of those who prefer a full laptop-style form factor. ASUS is trying to bring that same experience (or at least part of it) to a broader range of devices with the TransKeyboard, revealed on the company's YouTube channel late last night.
The TransKeyboard is pretty similar to other mobile keyboards - it's relatively compact and interoperable with Android smartphones/tablets and PCs.
There are companies coming out of the woodwork trying to get the smart watch right. What if you don't need a smart watch, though? Is there space on your wrist for a single-use device? The people behind Kapture certainly think there is, and enough consumers agree with them that the device squeaked past its Kickstarter goal on the last day. So what is it? Kapture is a wristband that's always listening, ready to export the last 60 seconds of audio to your phone.