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What do you think of Xiaomi’s Pressy clone, ‘MiKey’?

Xiaomi has announced an add-on accessory button that plugs into the phone’s audio jack. If this sounds familiar, then you may have already heard about Pressy, an earlier successful, but yet-to-ship, Kickstarter campaign that essentially does the same thing. Here are our thoughts on the matter.

Pressy Prototypes

In August last year, a startup called Pressy launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for an innovative device: an additional button for your smartphone that plugs into the headphone jack. Called Pressy, the plug-in button promised to enable users to launch apps or run commands with a click of the button.

Through a custom app, the button could be customized to run different commands depending on the number of clicks. For instance, one click could launch the camera app. Two clicks would turn on the LED flash as a torch, and so forth.

The project far surpassed its target in a matter of days, gaining $695,000 in pledges — well beyond its $40,000 target.

It’s not surprising that third-party manufacturers would catch on to the trend and build their own devices. Chinese OEMs are known for no-label or no-brand devices that essentially copy technology off of known brands. For example, even Kuai Anniu, a project launched on DemoHour, a Chinese equivalent of Kickstarter, built on the same concept.

Hardware manufacturers may be churning out clones, but it's all about the software!
Hardware manufacturers may be churning out clones, but it’s all about the software!

What’s surprising is how Chinese company Xiaomi has suddenly launched a similar product of its own, reportedly called MiKey in the Chinese market. Xiaomi even undercut Pressy’s price point substantially, perhaps geared toward gaining more mass appeal than the yet-to-ship product. Tech in Asia reports that MiKey will retail for $0.79, just a fraction of Pressy’s $27 pre-order price.

According to a statement from Pressy, “knock-off versions were anticipated.” However, the company “did not expect to see it from such a respectable and known company,” and having “IP rights for the design and functionality of Pressy,” it is considering the next moves regarding how to handle the situation.

I would agree with Pressy that knock-off versions are often the bane of any hardware and even software company building on platforms as popular as Android. Soon after you launch your product, you can expect copies to be launched by third-party manufacturers, often at deeply discounted prices.

There may be little recourse for Pressy now that the damage has been done, though. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

Chinese knockoffs? Expect it. That’s the power of Chinese manufacturing capability, after all: speed and flexibility. Where else can you find a manufacturing plant change specs and tweak designs and restart manufacturing in a matter of hours? This is the reason Apple builds even its most precision-designed devices in China. They’re good at what they do. And for hardware accessories, it’s easy enough to reverse-engineer the product and build clones in some facility that can churn out thousands of units faster than you can say “pressy.” Want an accessory button for your Android device? Mi too!

It’s not exactly a new technology altogether. Audio jack circuitry is not exactly rocket science. DIY builders have been creating accessories that take advantage of the simple circuitry of the 3.5-inch audio jack. I even remember doing some simple modifications to handsfree Nokia headsets about a decade back to make these work with Motorola FRS radios. What Pressy has done, however, is build on these ideas and make a marketable product that will cater to the biggest mobile market today: Android users.

Pressy has not shipped yet. For all the buzz and hype, Pressy has not shipped its product yet, seven months after the Kickstarter project was fully funded. Through this time lag, third party manufacturers may have already taken heed and decided to come up with products of their own. In fact, Pressy is aware of this, warning its fans about fake products. “We have encountered a few counterfeiters who try to sell Pressy online as their own. Until we officially launch Pressy and you get yours you can be sure that those Pressys are fake.”

It’s all about the app. Still, in fairness to Pressy, the technology is not only about the audio jack accessory. Rather, it’s the app that controls the functionality of the button that the company gets credit for. The startup had been reportedly building the app months before the Kickstarter campaign was even started. In short, your $27 payment mostly goes to the development of the Pressy app itself. Xiaomi — perhaps along with other third-party manufacturers — has proven that you can build the accessory dirt-cheap and still make it work. Let’s hope that Pressy’s app does offer superior features and user experience than others.

Want an audio jack button? Mi too!
Want an audio jack button? Mi too!

With debates like this one, the concern about the need to update the laws on software copyright and patenting come to mind. To date, software is the only creation that can enjoy both copyright (as with artistic or creative works) and patent (as with technology and process) protection. This enourages creators to build on their own ideas, with the promise of profit or other gain. However, with patent (and sometimes trademark) trolls lurking around, innovation is sometimes stifled.

It’s not that Pressy is not actively working on actually building and shipping their product. But with a bigger company already announcing a competing product that does essentially the same thing, we will see how this pans out in the courts of law and the courts of public opinion.

Nova external flash seeks funds on Kickstarter

Nova

Nova is a credit card-sized external flash that aims to improve your smartphone photos. Currently, the team behind it is asking for funding help via Kickstarter, where it aims to raise $25,000. With ten days to go until their campaign ends, Nova has already gotten gone way past its goal, hitting $63,155 of support from 1,157 backers.

Nova
Nova

Nova points out that the typical built-in flashes on smartphones do not often always provide the best kind of aid to cameras. They sometimes cause red eyes in photos, or washed-out colors. Taking a cue from professional photographers, Nova proposes a separate, portable flash that can better capture important moments.

Nova features 40 x 65 Lumen white LCDs that can generate temperature-adjustable white light, depending on the lighting conditions. It is powered by a built-in lithium ion polymer battery that charges using a USB micro B cable that comes with the device. The battery has an estimated capacity of 4 weeks on standby between charges, or up to 150 flashes. Its measurements are 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.25 in., while its weight is 5.03 oz.

Nova promises to roll out upgrades before the device is shipped in February. Among these are brighter LEDs, longer battery life, in-app photo filters, in-app social network sharing, and FCC certification.

To use the Nova, one has to download the free Nova app to tweak the settings. It has an automatic and an advanced mode, depending on the amount of control you want to have over the light the flash produces. There is also a preview window which shows how the photo may appear with the specified settings. The flash connects to the smartphone via Bluetooth, and functions up to 20 feet away.
The Nova team accepts pledges as low as $1, which lets backers receive updates about the product. $39 buys one the electronics internals. $54 is the cost of Nova for Android or iPhone. $64 gets backers a Nova and Nova case to protect the flash. Shipping is free for all backers in any part of the world.

At the moment, Nova supports a limited number of devices. The Android devices that are supported include Google Nexus 7, 2013 version, Samsung Galaxy S4, and HTC One. These devices must be running Android 4.3 to be compatible with Nova.

Click here to check out Nova’s Kickstarter page.

3D Virtual Tabletop raises over 1000% of funding goal

The 3D Virtual Tabletop project on Kickstarter has currently raised $50,392 of its $5,000 goal on the crowdfunding website. This is a thousand times more than what they asked for to make the cross-platform tabletop application a reality. The Kickstarter fundraiser ends in a few hours, after 45 days of being live.

3d-virtual-tabletop

A project by Brendon Duncan of Christchurch, New Zealand, 3D Virtual Tabletop puts a spin on the traditional pen and paper roleplaying or strategy games. Among the games that can be played through 3D Virtual Tabletop are Pathfinder, Dungeons & Dragons, Savage Worlds, Rolemaster Classic, Castles & Crusades or Call of Cthulhu. 3D Virtual Tabletop will be made available for Android, iPad, iPhone, Windows 8, Windows Phone, and on Mac and Windows web browsers.

3D Virtual Tabletop claims to offer realistic visual representations of game miniatures. It also ensures that navigating the map is both easy and intuitive. One note that the developer makes, however, is that 3D Virtual Tabletop will run more smoothly on high-end devices.

Already, the team of developers have released a demo that boasts of features like viewing the tabletop from different angles, importing the user’s own maps and miniatures, as well as changing the minis to flat tokens when the user chooses the birds-eye view.
• More features will be released after the Kickstarter project. These include a map and miniature marketplace, customized user accounts, as well as cross-platform sharing. Paid content from a long list of sources will be released, as well. Furthermmore, plenty of other content and features for those who pledge on the Battalion plus level will be made available. Some of these are Hidden miniatures, Silhouette shape for miniature card, Rangefinding, Google+ Hangout integration, custom dice, among others.
In the future, 3D Virtual Tabletop will cost gamers $0.99 per month. The developers promise to offer more features in the future, depending on what its community wishes to be prioritized.

You can still add your contribution to the project before it officially closes. Head over to Kickstarter by clicking on this link. You can also check out the demo here.

via kickstarter

Canonical Ubuntu Edge sets new crowdfunding record

Ubuntu Edge

Canonical Ubuntu Edge has set a new record as the highest-earning fixed crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. It has surpassed the record set by the Pebble smartwatch by raising $10,671,147 in funds even before its campaign ends on August 21st, or five days from today. Pebble, for its part, raised $10,266,845 for its smartwatch, and held its title for more than a year.

Canonical Ubuntu Edge
Canonical Ubuntu Edge

That said, the amount raised by Canonical is still less than its goal of $32,000,000. Given that it has a fixed crowdfunding campaign, Ubuntu Edge will only get funds if it raises such amount by August 21st. Still, it is a great feat for Canonical, which also raised $3,000,000 in only twelve hours after the campaign was launched.

On its Indiegogo page, Canonical gave a shout out to the top contributing nations to its campaign. These are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Switzerland, and Norway, in that order. Canonical reports that over 14,500 Ubuntu Edge pledges have been made by its backers. The lowest amount that backers may contribute is $20, which enables the backer to be part of the Ubuntu Edge community, and have access to updates. Meanwhile, the largest contribution it has ever received is $80,000, which was made by Bloomberg. $50 gets a backer an Ubuntu Edge T-Shirt while $695 entitles one to the smartphone. This smartphone had been repriced from $895 to the current offering just earlier this month. Such device will also come with a year’s subscription to LastPass Premium, and is estimated to be shipped in May 2014. $7,000 is the cost of an Enterprise Starter Kit, which includes 10 Ubuntu Edge smartphones. $10,000, meanwhile, will entitle a backer to the first 50 Ubuntu Edge smartphones to be produced.

If you are not familiar with the Canonical Ubuntu Edge,  it is a device that dual-boots into Ubuntu Mobile OS and Android, and runs Ubuntu Desktop OS when attached to a display. Among its specifications are a a 4.5-inch HD scratch-proof sapphire crystal display, 128GB of internal storage space, 4GB of RAM, 8 MP rear camera, 2 MP front camera, Silicon-anode Li-Ion battery, and a multi-core processor. Here is the link to its Indiegogo page if you want to be a backer.

via slashgear

Buccaneer affordable 3D printer campaign launches on Kickstarter

Buccaneer is a pocket-friendly 3D printer designed with home consumers in mind. A project by the Palo Alto, California-based Pirate3D Inc., the Buccaneer started seeking for support from backers on May 30. Pirate3D set out for a goal of $100,000, but in just a day, it had received $275,794 funds of support, with 29 days to go before the campaign ends.

buccaneer-3d-printer

Buccaneer aims to make 3D printing an affordable activity that can be done at home to give wider access to the technology. Thus, Pirate3D Inc. is selling the Buccaneer for only $347. Such price is much lower compared to the price of the Makerbot Replicator 2, the current popular choice in 3D printing, which retails for $2,199.

Inspired by Apple aesthetics, the Buccaneer’s exteriors show a brushed aluminum cube protected by clear acrylic. The body itself is made of steel plating whereas the build platform is aluminum. A capacitive touch button will be incorporated on its front for turning on the device. According to its campaign page, the Buccaneer printer was inspired by Apple aesthetics, thus the sleek lines. The printer’s dimensions are 25 x 25 x 35 cm.

Inside, its XYZ actuation is composed of linear rails. The device also uses top-loading filament cartridges instead of spools which are inconvenient, less ergonomic, and contrary to the Buccaneer’s aesthetic principles.

By comparison, the Makerbot Replicator 2 has a powder coated steel chassis, body made of PVC panel, acrylic build platform, and linear motion bearings for its XYZ actuation. It is also larger at 49 x 42 x 38 cm.

Pirate3D’s software Smart Objects promises to simplify the creation of 3D objects with its drag-and-drop interface. Unlike other 3D design software, Smart Objects claims that even one with no prior experience can easily make 3D objects.

The Buccanneer printer also offers Cloud Wi-Fi printing and is mobile-enabled, two features not found on the Makerbot Replicator 2.

If no delays occur, Pirate3D hopes to start manufacturing the printers on October 15, and deliver the deliver the 500 early production units of the Buccaneer on December.

via kickstarter

Projecteo projector showcases your Instagram shots on walls

Projecteo, the miniature Instagram projector that achieved crowdfunding success last year on Kickstarter, is now available for purchase.

projecteo-instagram-projector

To enjoy Projecteo, one needs to go to Projecteo’s website, connect with Instagram, and choose nine photos. Projecteo converts these digital images into a custom wheel of Kodak 35mm slide film. The Projecteo team then sends to the user the Projecteo unit plus the wheel of images.

This custom wheel is slotted into the Projecteo unit, a matchbox-sized projector that allows focusing via a lens barrel. The projector works best in a totally dark room, with a wall or surface that is around 2 and a half feet away from the Projecteo.

The advantage of using Projecteo is that the photos projected are clear. Because there are no pixels involved, there is no pixelation in the resulting images.

The wheel itself costs $8.99 whereas the projector retails for $25.99. Extra wheels can be ordered as well if one believes that nine shots from Instagram are not enough. Projecteo does not place limits on how many of these wheels can be ordered.

Projecteo has the same nostalgic appeal as Instagram, which appears to be a hit among consumers. On Kickstarter last year, Projecteo only set out for a goal of $18,000, but received $87,207 of funding assistance from 2,798 backers.

Projecteo is the brainchild of Benjamin Redford, a London-based product designer who works at a company called Mint Digital. Redford is also behind a project called Olly and Molly: the web connected smelly robots. Unlike Projecteo, however, such project was unsuccessful on Kickstarter.

Projecteo is only one of the growing number of projects which attempt to take the Instagram experience from mere social networking. Already, some like Postagram are offering printing services of Instagram photos, whereas others are holding meet-ups for Instagram users.

What’s your take on Projecteo? Is it a cool invention, or an unnecessary creation?

via theverge

Filastruder: A Cheaper Alternative for 3D Printer Materials Raises More Than $207,000

filastruder product

The Filastruder is about to go after getting enough funds through crowdfunding. Currently, the startup project that promises to come up with cheap 3D printer materials has now gained an astonishing pledge amounting to more than $207,000 as of today.

Based on the Kickstarter page of the Filastruder, the product aims to develop a strong but cheaper filament extruder for a 3D printer. The project was only launched on March 25 with only a $5,000 goal. The duration for funding is only until April 24. But, surprisingly, it just took a matter of weeks for the targeted amount to be reached. Then, even though the $5,000 target was already fulfilled, donors still kept on coming in. Today its backers have gone up to 846 with an overall donation amounting to $207,198. This could only mean one thing; that 3 days from now, the project will start.

The influx of donation for the project just shows the popularity of 3D printing and the high demand of people for its materials. As we have featured on our previous articles covering 3D printing, the process enables people to produce things ranging from common household materials, miniature vehicles, body parts, drugs, working parts of guns, ammunitions, headphones and more. The report I made on the 3D Images website, which I based on several news sources, even showed that architects are now looking to construct a building out of 3D printing.

While it is true that anyone can produce almost anything with a 3D printer, one problem of this continuously emerging technology is the cost of materials. According to Tim Elmore, the founder of the Filastruder project, the current filament used for 3D printing can cost around $40 per kilogram or more. But since his Filastruder project only uses plastic pellets that only cost around $5 per kilogram, the price for the production of filament will be greatly reduced.

Therefore, due to the Filastruder’s promise of providing a cheaper alternative for materials for the 3D printing industry, people were more than willing to help through the Kickstarter campaign of the project.

The Story Behind the Project

Elmore is a PhD student at the University of Florida. He specializes in Mechanical Engineering. He gained his knowledge in 3D printing through reading books covering polymer extraction.

The need to develop the filament extruder dawned to him when he bought his very own 3D-printing machine and he tried creating various objects out of it. He realized that the amount of filament he was using was such that he was able to deplete 1 to 2 rolls of it in just a month.

Challenged by his need, he developed a prototype for the filament extruder. But it did not come without a flaw. So, after one beta-testing to another, he finally addressed the issues one at a time. As soon as he determined that he was ready to mass produce the Filastruder, he started his Kickstarter campaign which turned out to be a success.

With the funding set to go on Wednesday, all that’s left for Elmore is to complete the products and fulfill all the rewards he promised to his donors.

Source: Kickstarter

VEA Buddy Bluetooth watch joins smartwatch trend

The VEA Buddy Bluetooth watch is yet another device that joins the slew of smartwatches that are being released into the market lately.
On Indiegogo, the Marseille, France-based team behind the watch are asking for funding to help support the development of the device.

vea-buddy-smartwatch

The VEA Buddy Bluetooth watch provides a secondary screen which comes with plenty of features.

For one, it gives the wearer an alert for an incoming call, and displays either the name or the number of the caller. Information on missed calls and received calls may also be shown. Through a Bluetooth connection, the user is also able to initiate calls from the smartwatch.

A notification is likewise displayed when the smartphone gets a new text, MMS, or e-mail message. The wearer has the option of showing the message on the display of the smartwatch, as well.

Facebook and Twitter notifications are also shown on the VEA Buddy, as well.

Alerts are given when a calendar event nears to allow the wearer time to prepare.

Even photos from the gallery on one’s smartphone can be displayed on the smartwatch screen.

Music playback may also be controlled via the smartwatch.

To update the device, one can simply connect the smartphone to a computer via a USB port on the watch.

Some may note some similarities with the VEA Buddy watch and the Pebble smartwatch, which also raised money for its development via crowdfunding. Pebble, for its part, raised money on Kickstarter, instead of on Indiegogo.

To date, VEA has been able to raise $78,830 out of its goal of $320,000. It still has more than a month to go before the Flexible Funding campaign ends.

Its basic package, which costs $99, was for early adopters, and is now sold out on the crowdfunding website. Interested supporters, however, may still pledge $150, which gets them 1 VEA Buddy Watch in black. $160 entitles them to a VEA Buddy Watch in red or white. Tech-savvy couples may opt to purchase the couple pack, which costs $230, and entitles them to a pair of the smartwatches in black, white, or red. The $1350 fan pack buys 10 watches, while the $12,000 distributor pack purchases a hundred units. The watches are expected to be delivered in June this year.

The VEA Buddy is said to be a breakout project for Indiegogo, which only opened internationally last December. Since the launch, Indiegogo started accepting funds not only in dollars, but also in euros and pound sterling.

via indiegogo, rudebaguette

 

CommBadge hands-free Bluetooth speakerphone is inspired by Star Trek

The CommBadge wearable speakerphone is on the verge of closing its extended crowdfunding Flexible Funding campaign at Indiegogo.

commbadge

To date, the company CommBadge Technologies, LLC, which is behind the hands-free communicator has raised $15,777, which is far beyond its goal of $2,000.

The CommBadge speakerphone is said to be inspired by the sci-fi TV series Star Trek. The device is attached to one’s clothes, allowing users to make and receive calls, compose and receive SMS via a text-to-speech technology, and use voice-enabled smartphone features such as Google Now, S Voice, or Siri. It also gives an alert in case there are incoming calls or messages, and even events scheduled on one’s social media accounts. The device notifies the wearer through vibration, sounds, or LEDs—all of which are fully customizable. Likewise, the CommBadge prevents a user from losing one’s smartphone by alerting the user if one’s smartphone is left somewhere.

The device owes these features to a directional and personalized speaker technology. It also comes with a noise-cancelling chipset to prevent background noise from being a problem.

As for its dimensions, the CommBadge measures 33 mm in diameter and below 14 mm in thickness. It is charged via a micro USB cable which can be connected to a USB or to a power source.

The CommBadge supports Android and iOS via a Bluetooth connection. Users, according to the CommBadge team, only need to pair the device with one’s smartphone once,

CommBadge will also come with a companion app that will be made available for free downloading on Google Play and the App Store.

Through Indiegogo, one can support the CommBadge by pledging $10 for a MagPack Magnetic Mount Kit.$80 gets one the Galactic Black CommBadge Classic, which the company will sell for the higher price of $95 in the future. $85, which is their Personal package, entitles a backer to the CommBadge Classic in a color of one’s choice, including Galactic Black, Nebula Chrome, and Cosmic White. This, however, does not include an ID badge holder. For $5 more, however, one gets the Business or Personal package, which comes with the CommBadge Classic with an ID holder in any of the color options. The Premium Package costs $100, entitling one to a CommBadge+ with an ID badge reel that is capable of being retracted. Business owners may opt to purchase the $1,050 package that bundles 12 units of the device. Lastly, the $5,000-worth Angel Funders package is for backers that will be invited to a pre-launch event and a chance to meet the creators of the communicator.

Below is the link to CommBadge’s Indiegogo page, in case you are interested in becoming a backer.

via indiegogo

HD Music Player Olive ONE is a treat for audiophiles

A startup called Olive is offering a new media device called the Olive One, a music player that promises to combine the features on various entertainment gadgets while delivering premium sound quality. According to Olive, the device is the first all-in-one HD Music Player in the world.

olive-player

The Olive One is a disc-shaped media player with a 7-inch touchscreen. It also sports dual HD amplifiers, a 32-bit/384kHz Burr-Brown DAC, and a volume dial.

Users can select the music they want to hear from various sources. Using Bluetooth 4.0, they may connect wirelessly to the Olive One from their Android device, iPhone, or iPad. Music streaming through a dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi connection and Wi-Fi direct are also possible. Music may also be sourced from a PC, Mac, or NAS, and even Spotify, Youtube, Amazon Locker, Google Play, and iTunes Match. Apps to control the device will be made available for Android and iOS devices. The Olive team is likewise working on support for Windows Phone 8. Furthermore, the Olive One comes with Wi-Fi Miracast so that users can connect the music player to their television.

Olive is currently holding a Flexible Funding campaign for the Olive One on the crowdsourcing website Indiegogo. It has already surpassed its goal of $200,000 Goal before even reaching the deadline for funding the device. At present, Olive has already raised $394,602.

Those who are interested to be among the first to get their hands on the Olive One may contribute at least $399 to the Indiegogo campaign. This amount will buy them the basic unit of the device. Meanwhile, $499 will provide backers with one unit of the Olive One with a 1TB hard drive. $599 gets users one unit of the music player with a 2TB 2.5” AV hard drive. $873 is the cost of the basic unit, plus one with the 1TB hard drive. A developer kit costs $999, which includes an early production unit of the device along with an SDK, plus an e-mail address and direct contact with the Olive company. The most expensive package costs $10,000, which entitles backers to an exclusive edition of the Olive One with a 480GB SSD customized with the backer’s name and serial number. It will also be preloaded with the music files owned by the backer. Lastly, the backers will be able to go to a San Francisco and tour the Olive factory.

Olive estimates that the music players will be delivered around July this year.

via indiegogo

CoolShip seeks support for Android-based desktop computer with keyboard form factor

As the competition for more marketable computers heats up, companies rush to create designs that will enable them to stand out from the rest of the products available in the market.

coolship-android-desktop-keyboard

With this in mind, FocusWill Information Technology Co. is introducing the CoolShip, an Android-based desktop computer that appears like a normal keyboard.Under the hood, however, the most basic version of the device packs a 1.5Ghz dualcore processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of Nand flash storage. A more improved version also comes with a touchpad and a USB mouse. Meanwhile, an advanced package offers a 1.5GHz dualcore CPU, a GB of RAM, 8GB of Nand flash storage, a touchpad, a USB mouse, and an SD card with a capacity of 16GB, and an optional tryout version of CoolShip Operating System. Said OS is a customized version of Android that was created specifically for the CoolShip Android desktop computer. According to its maker, it combines a user experience that is akin to that which one gets from Windows while being based on Android. There is also a Luxury Package available, which comes with a 1.5GHz dualcore processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of Nand flash storage, a USB mouse, touchpad, and a 32GB SD card which carries the CoolShip OS tryout version.

The device features an ergonomic keyboard which comes chiclet keys as well as several customized buttons. To function, the CoolShip may be connected to a display through VGA or HDMI.

CoolShip also boasts of being environmentally-friendly, since the device is hardware-upgradeable. It will supposedly need only a new core board to upgrade the device, which will ensure that no additional waste in terms of hardware will be generated to allow the device to be at par with other computers for the next few years.

FocusWill is accepting support for the CoolShip on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo, on which the company has already raised $14,968 out of its goal of $10,000.

Those who are interested in getting one of the first CoolShip devices may pledge $89 for a starter package, $99 for a home package, $119 for an advanced package, $139 for a luxury package, $175 for 2 units of the device without an SD card, $229 for 2 units of the CoolShip, and $249 for 3 units without an SD card, and lastly, $349 for 3 units with an SD card.

FocusWill expects the product to be delivered to its backers by April this year.

via indiegogo

Tethercell Lets You Control AA-Battery-Operated Gadgets From Your Mobile Device

With 59 days left until its funding campaign ends on Indiegogo, Tethercell is roughly just a thousand dollars short of its funding goal of $59,000.

tethercell

Developed by a company called Tetherboard, Tethercell is a battery controller that allows one to be in command of devices that are operated by AA batteries. Thus, items like toys, baby monitors, fans, remote control units, microphones, flashlights, or alarm clocks, among countless others, instantly get wireless control from an app downloaded onto a mobile device. Through the app, a user can turn a battery-operated device on and off, get a notification when the battery power of the item starts running low, as well as specify schedules and timers when the gadget may be used.

To make Tethercell work, one needs to pop in a regular AAA battery into the Tethercell adapter. Next, one should take out an AA-battery from the device which the Tethercell will control. The AA battery that is taken out is then replaced by the Tethercell adapter. Once the Tethercell adapter is in place, the device should be turned on.

On one’s smartphone or tablet, the Tetherboard app should then be opened to start enjoying the features of Tethercell.

According to the Indiegogo page, the Tethercell will support both Android and iOS. Among the devices which may be used with the Tethercell are the iPad Mini, iPad 3, iPhone 5, iPhone 4S, the latest iPod Touch, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Samsung Galaxy S3, Droid DNA, and HTC One X+. Tetherboard promises that more devices will be supported once they have begun shipping the product to its backers.

Meanwhile, the Tethercell app for Android and iOS is free to download for these devices. Tetherboard says that the Tethercell is able to work with an iPhone 4S for a distance of as much as 100 feet in an open space.

The developers are also working to allow the app to communicate with several Tethercell units at the same time.

Those who are interested in backing the product can head over to Tethercell’s Indiegogo  page and pledge as little as $35 or as high as $1,250. As usual, backers will get rewards that will correspond to the amount pledged.

Are you interested in purchasing a Tethercell?

via indiegogo

Kickstarter-backed GameStick console is now available for pre-order

GameStick, the console whose development was backed by the crowdfunding website Kickstarter, is finally available for ordering. PlayJam, the team behind GameStick is selling the device with a price starting at $79 for the standard bundle via an Amazon-powered pre-order service. Meanwhile, the GameStick Dock retails for $24.99 and the GameStick case for $9.99.

gamestick

According to Kickstarter, the pre-order service gives consumers who were not able to avail of the console through the Kickstarter campaign a chance to purchase the device prior to its retail launch, which is scheduled several months from now. The consoles bought through the pre-order service will be sent right after shipping the ones ordered by its backers in April. This, says PlayJam CMO Anthony Johnson, will let the company “maintain momentum.”

As of now, the GameStick comes in a single color, white. GameStick takes pride having modified the design of the controller based on suggestions from its backers. The suggestions involved tips on how to make the device more ergonomic.

With the help of the Kickstarter website, PlayJam was able to raise from its 5,691 backers a total of $647,658 within only 31 days. This figure represents 648% of the original amount needed to make the device into a reality. In fact, within just a little over a day of being available on Kickstarter, the device was able to raise its target fund of $100,000. This reportedly makes GameStick “one of the most successful technology Kickstarter projects.”

The specifications of the GameStick include an Amlogic 8726-MXS processor, Android Jelly Beanm 1GB of DDR3 RAM, and  8GB NAND Flash internal storage that is expandable for up to 32GB via a microSD card. Connectivity is possible through HDMI, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth, and LE 4.0. PlayJam is also providing a game store, which will offer downloadable content and opportunities to interact with other users of the GameStick.

What’s your take on the GameStick?

via engadget

GameStick Bases Final Design On Backers’ Suggestions

With only a few days left until its Kickstarter project ends, GameStick has already amassed a sum of $554,471 from its 4,947 backers. This is much higher than its goal of $100,000 goal.

gamestick-latest-design

After many hours of deliberation and adjustments, GameStick’s developer revealed the controller’s final design, which is based on suggestions sent in by its backers.

As per the new photo-realistic images of the controller, the GameStick now has rounded edges to allow for more comfort in handling. The groove, which used to be found in the middle of the device, was removed, as well, for the same purpose. This also makes enables the design to appear “clean” and “smooth all around.” Meanwhile, the palm grips were extended so that gamers will be able to clutch them more easily, especially “for those tense moments just before you die in your favorite game.” To make the controller more ergonomic, 3 millimeters was added, as well, to its leading edge.

The finalized design also comes with a “polished top deck, a metalized middle section and a rubberized bottom deck.” Taking into account the concerns of developers in porting games, the GameStick now favors XBYA instead of PLAY buttons. Improvements were also introduced to the analog sticks, which now “use full multi-way + switch systems,” as well as the mushroom caps, which are now rubberized. Other features include a 45-degree angle tilt and a rubber home button. Meanwhile, the underside of the controller is still in the works.

As for power, the GameStick is said to come with a contact-based charging system that will eliminate the need to plug the device while it charges. There will likewise be a wireless charging solution which would be offered on the Dock.

Funding for the project will end on Friday Feb 1, 7:23am EST, so if you still want to add support for the console, you can head over to its Kickstarter page. There is a $1 minimum pledge, but you can contribute $79 or more to get the GameStick console, controller, a name check, and a founder’s tag.

The GameStick is expected to be delivered this coming April.

via kickstarter