Connected "smart" lighting is far from a new concept, but in late-2012, Philips released the first Hue lightbulb which became the blueprint for a new category in an old market. It was no longer enough for lights to turn on at a scheduled time or with a clunky wireless remote, they had to become smarter, more efficient, more flexible, and we wanted to control them with our smartphones. But a product of this type lends itself to variations, special features, and stylistic choices beyond those of the original innovation. This brings us to the Yeelight, a Bluetooth-enabled bedside lamp with a stylish look, simple controls, and a couple of clever features to go along with it.
When it comes to toys you can control from your smartphone, few are quite as fun or inspiring as Sphero. Orbotix blew onto the scene a little over a year ago with an awesome choreographed display in Union Square. The company followed up on the original with an upgraded v2.0 of the robotic ball which began shipping in September, but that wasn't to be the end of the line. Orbotix is at it again with a completely redesigned robot, dubbed Sphero 2B.
The new form factor abandons the spherical shape of its predecessors for a more elongated body and a pair of serious off-road tires - it almost looks like a futuristic monster truck.
The GoPro line of cameras are nifty little devices. These waterproof and shockproof cameras shoot 1080p video at 30fps and are compatible with a whole range of cool rugged accessories. As you film yourself in harrowing situations with a GoPro, you might not have the hands to properly operate it. That's where the new remote app comes into play.
Fire up the app, and you can stream the video output from the GoPro right to your screen. You'll need a reasonably fast Android device, and ICS or higher is recommended. You can also control recording, image capture, and settings all from within the app.
Let's be honest: the Parrot AR.Drone is awesome. It's an awesome idea, it's an awesome design, and we had super high hopes for it. Unfortunately, one huge, massive, undeniable flaw means this bird will spend most of its life on the ground: battery life. It's that bad.
But before I, admittedly sadly, twist that dagger into the heart of this toy, let's go over what it does well - and why we're optimistic about Parrot's future smartphone-controlled vehicles. (Hint: mostly because this thing is so. Much. Fun.)
Parrot's AR.Drone is a product we've covered in the past, even before its app was available for Android.