Archives For Gadgets

staples-connect

If you’re just easing into home control and automation like me, Staples Connect is worth a look — moreso as the Linksys hub will shortly drop to a mere $50. With apps for most platforms, the hub communicates via 802.11b/g/n, Z-Wave, and Lutron wireless protocols. Along with the price reduction, broader retail distribution has been announced along with a second $80 D-Link hub $80 that will add Zigbee and Bluetooth LE communication. It seems pretty clear Bluetooth LE, aka Bluetooth Smart, will play a prominent role in this space (along with wearables), but its limited broadcast range may inhibit hub effectiveness and the existing model seems to do a fine job bridging most home automation silos. And we’re told the team is working through the process of Nest integration – which may be requisite these days. Continue Reading…

Jun 28

Writers from Business Insider, The Verge, and The Next Web share their initial Android Wear Smartwatch feedback…

Continue Reading…

This week’s Fitbit iOS app update brings with it a welcome feature, in live tracking. Along with tracking steps throughout the day via one of their many trackers, new live tracking functionality relies on the iPhone’s GPS to monitor and provide real-time feedback on your exercise.

Fitbit has always been one of the fastest companies to allow 3rd party apps to update your stats. You have been able to import exercises through Runkeeper or MapMyRun for quite some time, but this is the first time that Fitbit it tackling this feature head on.

How Live Tracking Works

When you want to begin a new exercise, you simply open the Fitbit app and scroll down to the exercise entry. Continue Reading…

philips-hue-tap-app

With the Philips Hue app update yesterday that introduces support for the Hue Tap, retail available is nearly upon us.

The Tap extends control of your connecting lighting beyond the virtual and into the physical realm. As with everything Hue, the Tap light switch is downright pricey at $60. Yet it brings a subtle, sleek elegance as it meets a practical need with some nifty technology. And most impressive is the Taps nearly infinite battery life, rated at 50,000 taps, powered by your finger’s clicky kinetic energy. Beyond that, the small puck ships with four customizable buttons, which can be linked actions, scenes, and recipes… giving you, your spouse, child, or pet sitter a means of control without a smartphone or tablet app.

Each Hue Bridge is capable of supporting up to 32 of these, enough for every wall in the house. As for me, I’m on the fence if I’ll be picking up a single Tap up… I suppose it depends if I expand my Philips smart lighting collection once the less pricey all-white Lux bulbs hit. Continue Reading…

Via an overseas briefing and FCC filing, details of the next generation Netgear Nighthawk wireless router have begun to clarify. The Nighthawk X4 AC2350/R7500 builds upon the success of the existing Nighthawk, as cited by Wirecutter, with additional horsepower, more finely tuned QoS, quad-stream wireless, and a pair of USB 3.0 ports and eSATA to meet our NAS or Mac Time Machine archival needs. It also bumps up the antenna count from 3 to 4. Of course, this sort of tricked out network solution comes at a price. And, to meet my 802.11ac router needs should I flip from Verizon to Comcast, I’m not sure I’m willing to pony up the $250.

By way of the New York Times, we learn GE and Quirky have expanded their collaboration on “Wink” – the brand under which they’ll tie together their existing (and downright bizarre) product line and tap into other home automation solutions via the FCC-revealed Wink Hub. The $79 Hub bridges networks, like Z-Wave, and will be displayed at nearly 2,000 Home Depot retail outposts when it launches July 7th. (Take that Lowe’s Iris?) Of course, these guys aren’t the only players in town with the very fine Staples Connect and SmartThings out to early leads with the Apple behemoth now taking interest via HomeKit and healthy Apple TV hub speculation. Not to mention, after like a decade of stagnation, Harmony finally woke up ready to fulfill their home control destiny. The next 12-18 months are going to be huge in this space as the tech expands beyond the affluent digerati and into the mainstream. As for me, my needs are simple… Continue Reading…