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1 year ago

Zmart Remote lets you control pretty much anything with your phone

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Viatek is launching a new hardware and software combination that can act as a universal remote for a wide variety of devices, using your phone as the controller. The basic premise of Zmart Remote is that you use a combination of an Android (or iOS) app and a hardware dongle that plugs into your phone's headphone jack to program and control most anything around your house. In the same way most high-end universal remotes work, Zmart Remote has a configuration utility that lets you control TVs, Blu-ray players, DVRs and many more by entering the proper codes and settings for each. For other devices that aren't usually controlled remotely -- like light switches, fans and coffee makers -- Viatek makes a Zmart Switch to interface with them directly.

Viatek says that its software can currently interface with some 200,000 products from 95-percent of consumer electronic brands in the category. The app is free, but doesn't do much unless you purchase the accessory dongle, which is $19.99. At the fraction of the price of a good universal remote, it could be worth a look.

More: Zmart Remote

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1 year ago

Fitbit recruiting private beta testers for Android sync, Galaxy S3 and Note 2 owners only need apply

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With the launch of their latest personal fitness product a few days ago, Fitbit also brought news that syncing with Android devices was finally on the horizon. As such, they're now recruiting for willing volunteers for a private beta test. Initially, only Samsung Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 owners need apply, and only users of the Fitbit One and the Fitbit Zip.

They're also looking for people who will put the application seriously through its paces. Participants need to be able to donate 1-3 hours of time per week to update the developers with issues. Additionally, the key word is private, and all participants will be asked to sign an NDA that they won't share any information outside of the programme. If this sounds like your thing, hit the source link below and send in your application. The beta test will run between Jan. 13 and Jan. 25. 

Source: Fitbit

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1 year ago

Pebble smartwatch officially shipping from Jan. 23 to Kickstarter backers

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The Pebble smartwatch is one of the all time Kickstarter success stories. It smashed its $100,000 target, and went on to break the $10million mark by the time all was said and done. Since the closure of the Kickstarter campaign, there have been delays, leaving many wondering when, or even if, the device they'd thrown some of their hard earned at may appear.  The good news is, the waiting is almost at an end. The Pebble is complete, they are being manufactured, and the official word is that they will begin shipping to Kickstarter backers from Jan. 23. 

The Pebble smartwatch is an interesting product. Connecting to your Android smartphone, it allows any number of notifications and interactions from your wrist, leaving your phone in your pocket. Coupled with a backlit electronic paper display, visible even in bright sunlight, and a battery life of around 7 days, the Pebble could well take off where other Smartwatches haven't. 

Since the early prototypes, a couple of extra hardware features have been squeezed in. There's now a magnetometer inside to offer compass like functionality, and an ambient light sensor. Re-charging the Pebble is taken care of via magnetic contacts. 

One notable absentee from the launch of the Pebble though is Runkeeper support. The simple message is that it just isn't ready, and they're working with Runkeeper to make it happen. The estimate so far we're given is March. 

Better yet, Pebble says they will be shipping out the smartwatches to people in the order they entered the Kickstarter campaign. So, if you're backer number 1, you'll be first in line when it comes to shipping. Manufacturing has reached around 15,000 units per week, so the initial batch of Kickstarter orders will take 6-8 weeks to complete. After that, they'll move onto website pre-orders. 

The CEO of Pebble has completed a full demo of the smartwatch in a briefing session at CES, which is embedded for you to check out after the break. Be warned though, the colors are off, and everyone looks somewhat like a smurf. 

Source: Pebble

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1 year ago

Eyes-on with official Galaxy Camera accessories

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Shortly after the official Galaxy Camera announcement in August we got our first look at some "prototype" Galaxy Camera accessories at Samsung's IFA booth. At the time, the manufacturer was clear that not everything behind the display case would see the light of day; these were just concept designs created to show what could be possible with Samsung's smart camera.

Fast forward to CES 2013, where Samsung had its full range of real, finalized Galaxy Camera accessories on show. Some of the more fanciful stuff has disappeared, giving way to -- amongst other things -- a couple of standardized leather case designs, including a "premium pouch" with a shoulder strap. Also on display on the show floor were official battery packs, charging stands and screen protectors, as well as AllShare Cast dongle for wirelessly connecting the camera to a TV. Finally, there was a redesigned wrist strap on show in each of the four Galaxy Camera color options.

Unfortunately there was very little info on when and where these accessories will go on sale; Samsung reps on the show floor offered a rather vague release window of H1 2013. So while you wait, you can check out more photos of Samsung's Galaxy Camera accessories after the break.

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1 year ago

Anymode's line of luxury Galaxy cases confirms Samsung's accessory dominance

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CES is always a breeding ground for some really spectacular smartphone accessories, and 2013 is no exception. What's truly unique about this tradeshow is how diverse it tends to be-- for a week, Las Vegas is home to some of the newest and best styles from all over the globe. Today, we caught a look at what Korean manufacturer Anymode is doing with its line of accessories.

Currently, Anymode is only available for import through their website-- don't expect to find any of these designs here in the States. What's noteworthy about these accessories is the way Samsung has managed to spur innovation around the world-- here's a perfect example of stunning detail designed exclusively for Galaxy devices (and the iPhone, but who cares). I've said it before and I'll say it again-- Samsung's success isn't due as much to its hardware as it is to its ecosystem. Aside from iOS products, the Galaxy line is by and large the Android devices with the most accessories to choose from, which is more of a deciding factor when purchasing a phone than most care to admit. Personally, I love my DNA much more than my Galaxy Note 2, but the DNA's lack of accessories, compared with the Note 2's plethora, is a major drag for this HTC customer.

Anymode's full line of cases and accessories for the Galaxy Note 2, the Galaxy S 3 and the Galaxy Camera can be found in the gallery below-- we'll continue to gather eye candy as we stumble across it, and we'll keep our fingers crossed that some of these designs will soon hit American shelves. 

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1 year ago

Fingerprints-on with Lenspen's latest Sidekick and Smartklear display cleaners

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Lenspen has been making screen and lens cleaners for some time now, with its technology being used by many major camera manufacturers, and now it has a new line of smartphone and tablet cleaners as well. The idea here is that instead of using a towel to clean the screen, you use a carbon-covered pad that's much more efficient at picking up oils. The carbon absorbs much more oil than any towel can, and these stow away nicely to boot because they're about the size of a flash drive.

The original Smartklear (the small red one) has been around for a bit, but now has a new shell to match the newest model, the tablet-sized Sidekick (here in blue.) These things work, and the idea is really cool if you end up cleaning smudges off your devices incessantly like we do. Beats the heck out of stuffing a microfiber cloth in your pocket all of the time. Stick around after the break for a quick look in a video and a few more pictures from the CES show floor.

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1 year ago

iRig Recorder coming to Android at the end of January

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IK Multimedia has announced that they are bringing the iRig Recorder app to Android. iRig Recorder is a great and ultra-portable way to record audio on the go, and editing and export options make for a powerful piece of software. Combined with their hardware -- 3.5mm compatible microphones and  a 3.5mm to XLR conversion dongle -- you can get darn near professional quality recordings saved right to your Android device. This is great news for musicians and anyone doing field work that requires high quality recording.

Accessory companies have been notoriously slow to embrace Android. We get it -- it's hard to justify all the work when you're making money hand over fist from iOS devices. But the numbers are too big to ignore forever, and it's great to see companies that want to support the most popular computing platform in the world. Look for the iRig app in Google Play at the end of the month, priced at $4.99 for the full version. The press release is after the break.

More: IK Multimedia

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1 year ago

Fitbit announces the Flex, Bluetooth syncing to the Android app coming soon

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Fitbit is one of the more popular choices in the personal fitness tracking space, and today at CES the latest device in the range has been introduced. The Fitbit Flex takes the form of a waterproof wristband. Like the existing devices in the range, it records information such as steps and total distance covered and sends this information to your personal website. The Flex will also keep track of your sleep, but with no buttons to enter sleep mode as on the other devices, you'll have to use either the mobile apps or the website. 

Speaking of the mobile apps, one massive drawback to the current iteration of the Fitbit Android application, is the lack of syncing. All that is set to change beginning from the end of January or early February. It will start to offer Bluetooth 4.0 syncing -- initially, only to the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Note 2, with more devices "coming soon." 

Source: Fitbit

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1 year ago

Hands on with Google Glass competitor Vuzix Glasses

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We had an opportunity today to take a look at the first Google Glass competitor, Vuzix Glasses. At first glance they look like no more than a large glorified bluetooth headset, but once you look closer you notice that there's a bit more involved with these. The basic idea behind Vuzix is to have a complete device with its own processor and memory -- running Android, of course -- that will interface with your smartphone via bluetooth to display information. It also has a speaker for your year as well as a front-facing camera for stills and video.

The display is not see-through (like Google Glass plans to be,) but rather meant to be out of the normal field of view and glanced at occasionally. The units we looked at today were non-working prototypes, but the expectation is to have the display show a complete mirror of whatever app is running on the tethered phone. We're not so sure how the navigation will work, with only a few buttons on the top of the glasses used for all operations.

There wasn't much information as far as a release date or working prototypes were concerned (welcome to CES,) but the planned retail price is supposed to end up under $500. We've also got several more pictures and a video for you to take a look at after the break.

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1 year ago

Belkin introduces WeMo light switch, control your household lighting from your Android device

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Home automation is the stuff nerdy dreams are made of, and Belkin is today introducing a new device to bring a little part of that to life. The WeMo Light Switch, being displayed at CES in Las Vegas, is a replacement for your standard household light switches with WiFi connectivity. The cool part -- it'll be controllable from your Android device. 

The WeMo connectivity means you can turn lights on or off from anywhere, schedule an on/off time, and doesn't require your Android device to be connected to the same WiFi network in order to work. So, you leave the office late, it's dark, and as you pull up on the driveway you can turn on the lights so you don't trip over the dog. OK, not the best example perhaps, but you get the idea. 

Android connectivity has been a much asked for feature of WeMo's existing, iOS compatible only, range of home automation devices. With the arrival of the WeMo Light Switch and the app into the Google Play Store, connectivity with their other devices will be opened up to Android users. An open beta will begin in February for users of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and "other leading devices." The Light Switch will become available this Summer, and the Android app is expected to exit beta by the device's launch. 

Source: Belkin

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