Samsung launched a new phone, Galaxy J2 Pro, a phone that lets people call make phone calls and send text messages but cannot connect to the internet.
It targets high schools students who need to focus on studying for their college entrance exam in Korea. The goal is to help them stay on task without the distraction of social media, games, or browsing the web.
Other features include an offline electronic dictionary app, a calendar app, an FM radio and a calculator.
There perk is, students who have completed the exam can trade in their Galaxy J2 Pro for a Galaxy S, Note, or A Series phone.
Why it’s hot: Sometimes it’s good and helpful going back to the basics.
An assistant professor at the University of British Columbia with a specialty in consumer behavior found that people shop differently on touchscreen devices than they do on their desktop PCs.
On phones, people are more likely to spend money on indulgent, hedonistic things, like movie tickets and dining out. And on PCs, people prioritize more practical, utilitarian things, like furniture and haircuts.
“The touchscreen has an easy-to-use interface that puts you into an experiential thinking style. When you’re in an experiential thinking mode, you crave excitement, a different experience,” says the professor. “When you’re on the desktop, with all the work emails, that interface puts you into a rational thinking style. While you’re in a rational thinking style, when you assess a product, you’ll look for something with functionality and specific uses.”
Why it’s hot: Should brands or retailers place products differently according to the screen?
An 11 year old Tennessee girl recently found a way to instantly detect lead in water, cutting the time it used to take to do so drastically. Previously, you had to take a water sample and send it off to a lab for analysis, now all you need is her contraption and a smartphone. She discovered her solution when she read about a new type of nanotechnology on MIT’s website, and imagined its new application in its new context.
Here’s how it works: “Her test device, which she has dubbed “Tethys,” uses a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays. This connects with an Arduino technology-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment. The graphene within the nanotube is highly sensitive to changes in flow of current. By treating the tube with atoms that are sensitive to lead, Rao is able to measure whether potable water is contaminated with lead, beaming the results straight to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. When it detects levels higher than 15 parts per million, the device warns that the water is unsafe.”
Why it’s hot:
1) Never let “can we do this” stop you
2) Never let “how can we do this” stop you
3) Some of the best solutions come when you put two (or more) things together
This offers a good lesson in a few important ingredients for innovation – how much you care, how much you believe, and how creative you can be. When all are high, you can create amazing things. Know what’s possible, believe that anything is, and let nothing stop you. Let’s do it.
Automatic is a combination adapter and app that interfaces with your car’s on-board computer. The adapter gathers data on fuel efficiency, miles driven, and bad driving habits (jackrabbit accelerations and hard braking). The app can then give drivers insights into their driver profile, their car’s mechanical condition, tell you where you parked, and in an accident, can even notify loved ones and signal for help. Ever wonder what that check engine light really means? Automatic can tell you the exact error code, what is usually the causing the problem, and connect you to local mechanics.
As a consequence of gathering all this data, Automatic is able to issue yearly “Your Driving Year in Review” reports. Here’s mine. I commute far too much, drive too fast to optimize fuel efficiency, and sadly, when you add up all my driving time, I spend more than two weeks a year behind the wheel.
Why it’s hot:
Newer cars are starting to include these tracking features standard, but for the majority of older vehicles on the road, tools like Automatic can provide actionable data right now. And since driving is one of the most dangerous (and unhealthy) activities we can do in our lives, any data that can optimize the experience will help us make better decisions. Look for car brands (other automotive related brands) to embrace this data, creating better experiences and deeper integrations.
Pura is a smartphone-controlled air freshening dispenser for your home. It is a Kickstarter-funded initiative, dubbed as the first freshener that can be tailored to your lifestyle. You can control the time and rooms and types of fragrances releases. Each Pura has 2 chambers for 2 fragrances. It automatically turns off when you leave the house, and you can program and control it remotely using your smartphone. In addition, each Pura has a smart nightlight and 60 million color-options.
But what is gathering more interest in some circles is what is NOT featured in this promo video but is mentioned in company emails and literature. According to literature from the company, the “Scents for Him” line of fragrances from the company will contain the pheromone androstadienone. Upper-lip application of a pharmacological dose of androstadienone in women has been proven in studies to improve mood and potentially facilitated women’s sexual response. Some studies have shown a beneficial effect of androstadienone on sexual desire and arousal.
The company is also working on a “Scents for Her” line that would have pheromones that may have an impact on male mood and arousal.
AMPY MOVE™ is a portable smartphone battery charger that charges itself as you move (from kinetic energy) encouraging a fit lifestyle through a “smarter way to stay charged.”
The founders of AMPY MOVEportable battery charger and AMPY+ mobileappexplored the possibilities of capturing their own energy from daily activities to charge their smartphones, then engineered a solution to do just that and so the AMPY MOVE was born; a motion-charger, a portable smartphone battery that charges from kinetic energy.
AMPY MOVE, “The World’s First Wearable Motion-Charger,” also has a free app available, AMPY+, “A Smarter Way to Live Charged.”
The AMPY+ smartphone app helps you stay charged and stay fit. Review your personal Battery Life Forecast with predictions and insights, track the calories you burn and power you generate, and compete with your friends.
It’s free, and you don’t need an AMPY MOVE to use it. Sending a shout out to the founders of this cool new kinetic energy capturing wearable. Your team nailed the seeding for the December Release of AMPY MOVE with the free AMPY+ app.
Why It’s HOT: Preventive health and wellness are at the forefront of our lives; driving insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and employers to encourage taking ownership of your health and long term wellness. Enabling a healthy and fit lifestyle through a wearable like AMPY MOVE provides great utility and it could influence positive lifestyle changes in those that use it. It’s green energy, it’s good for your health and it makes you sound really smart when you say “I utilize my kinetic energy to charge my smartphone while getting fit for bathing suit season. What do you do?”
Robin, the first smartphone from Nextbit, is now available for pre-order. It came to fruition through a Kickstarter campaign, and is the first Android phone that leverages the cloud in a seamless way.
While Dropbox and other services have allowed users to back-up files automatically, Robin claims to be a “smart” smartphone that keeps track of the apps and files that you use and archives those to the cloud that you haven’t accessed in a while without you having to do anything. And those apps that are archived retain all of their cached log-ins and preferences, that are often lost when archiving other ways.
In addition, one of the head designers at HTC came on board at NextBit and tried to introduce an entirely different looking phone with Robin versus what is available in the market today.
Why It’s Hot
As the Internet of Things and Cloud-based computing becomes more prevalent, it is logical that our most personal of electronic devices, do the same. Nextbit has suggested that Robin may just be the beginning as they look to use the cloud to improve battery life and other performance aspects of the smartphone in future models.
Social media and broadband technologies coupled with how people use them for news and conversing has changed the way information is disseminated in society. As an example, during this Thursday’s Mets-Padres baseball telecast, it was widely reported over online and social media that Wilmer Flores, the Mets’ shortstop who had been in the Mets system since he was 16 years old, had been traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for former Met, outfielder Carlos Gomez. ESPN, the New York Post, the Milwaukee Journal, all reported it as a done deal. Even Carlos Gomez’ teammates tweeted out a picture of Carlos and his team on a team plane, wishing him good luck in NYC.
Problem is, there was no deal completed. It was in the works, but had fallen through. Even the Mets manager, Terry Collins, didn’t know about it. Flores found out about it when he came to bat in the 7th inning to a stand ovation from the fans in NY and had no idea why he was getting the accolades until he returned to the dugout and checked online. Social media fanned the flames of this “telephone game” gone awry. Flores, still thinking he was traded, was sent out to play the field while literally crying. He had to be removed from the game in the 9th for emotional reasons.
Why It’s Hot
The Wilmer Flores-Carlos Gomez debacle shows how powerful (and dangerous) social media can be. Think about all the fans in the stands, most of whom are not listening to radios or watching remote TVs. No information was posted on the stadium boards about the trade. All of those fans that gave Flores a standing ovation heard about the non-trade through social media and then disseminated it via WOM or through their own social engagement. It is quite a sociological experiment on the diffusion of information, even false information, thanks to the impact of social media.
Whether you are talking or navigating in the car, it is not uncommon for phones to overheat during the summertime. Overheating not only slows your phone’s processor as well as drains the battery out, but also can cause permanent damage to your phone in the long term.
Chevy is introducing the very first active phone cooling feature in some of its 2016 vehicles. Here’s how it works: an air vent, connected directly to air conditioner and ventilation system, is placed next to your charging bin. When you turn on the air conditioner, it automatically directs air to the charging bin, where your phone is placed.
Why is it hot?
Everyone already spends so much time on his or her phone. Why not create new technologies/features that facilitate its use in all climates?
New data released by Nielsen yesterday shows that smartphone app usage has risen to almost 40 hours per month, another 63% jump over the prior year. Interestingly, the number of apps that are used on a monthly basis has not changed– we spend more time with a few selected apps.
Light Phone is trying to be everything your smartphone isn’t: dumb, efficient and engineered with a singular focus… to just make calls. In a hyper-connected world, why would you spend your hard-earned money on something willfully feature-deficient? That’s entirely the point.
Well, also because it’s a pretty sexy piece of consumer electronics.
As described in its Kickstarter, ‘The Light Phone is a credit-card sized phone designed to be used as little as possible. It is your phone away from phone.’ Light wants to be your second phone, to take it everywhere your smartphone won’t go. Keep it in your wallet for backup when your smartphone dies, give it to your kids as a first phone, take it with you on epic hikes where your expensive iPhone might get damaged. And despite its compact size, the lack of mobile Internet enables The Light Phone to live ~20 days on a single charge (via USB). And forget carriers, The Light Phone operates on pre-purchased minutes. Talk about old school.
The project has passed its $200K fundraising goal with 15 days still to go.
Why It’s Hot
The Light Phone is interesting because it’s creating a new category of device. With the inherent limitations of today’s smartphones and battery technology, The Light Phone suggests that consumer will pay for something inherently basic.
Social media likes are ruining your life — and now there’s proof.
Joseph Grenny and David Maxfield, co-authors of New York Times bestsellers like Crucial Conversations, have unveiled a new study on the way “likes” and the need for other social media praise affect our day-to-day lives. The results of the study, which surveyed 1,623 people, paint a picture of a social media-obsessed society.
About 58% of people surveyed said “posting the perfect picture has prevented them from enjoying life experiences.”
About 91% of the respondents said they’ve witnessed tourists miss a great moment because they were trying to capture it for social media.
Three out of four people admitted to being rude or distant because they focus more on their phones than people
Nearly 14% of respondents say they’ve risked their own safety to get a like-worthy post.
After all the warnings, Grenny and Maxfield offer solutions for the social media-obsessed out there. Scroll to the bottom of the infographic for their four top tips for beating your addiction:
Why It’s Hot
Although we’re digital marketers and need to be immersed in social media and technology, this is a good reminder to take a break from our device every once in awhile and be present in the moment.
In an ever-connected world, touchscreens and smartphones are like second nature to most people. But for the mobility impaired, it’s not that simple – until now.
Sesame Enable, a company that creates hands-free control technology for mobile devices, has created a touch-free smartphone that allows users to control their phone without ever lifting a finger. Fresh out of the box, all users have to do is say “Open Sesame” and the phone powers on and begins working.
Read more about Sesame Phone’s development and functionality via Forbes, via NoCamels.
Why It’s Hot: Apart from the obvious tech aspect, we often discuss the issue of privacy when it comes to new technologies, and being able-bodied, privacy is always possible to some degree. But for those living with motor disabilities, relying on a caretaker is a way of life and unfortunately, along with independence goes one’s privacy. With the Sesame Phone, the mobility impaired can do everyday tasks such as make phone calls to loved ones or even aimlessly browse the Internet without a third party liaison.
While Sesame’s current focus is on people with motor disabilities, the company is considering ways to make their touch-free technology available to people with debilitating injuries as well as to the general public. The Sesame phone was created for those living with paralysis, but its creators say that its touchless technology could be useful in the future. I often end my posts with this, but it’s true – the possibilities are endless.
Pretty soon, you won’t have to actually see your doctor to get a check up. The Internet is breaking down the distance barrier between between you and your physician, and now there are all manner of web-connected health monitoring devices that make remote medical care more detailed and accurate than ever before.
The latest device to pop up in this category is CliniCloud. In a nutshell, it’s basically a connected medical kit that allows you to perform your own basic checkups and even get live consultations from your doc when you need them.
The kit consists of two components: a digital stethoscope for capturing the sound of your lungs and heart and a contactless infrared thermometer. Both devices connect to CliniCloud’s accompanying smartphone app, which guides you through the check-up process with intuitive prompts and diagrams. These explain exactly where to place the stethoscope and thermometer, so you don’t need any prior medical knowledge to perform a check-up.
In addition to step-by-step guides, the app also tracks recorded health data over time to provide analytics and allows you to create multiple user profiles, so you can keep track of the entire family’s health stats. On top of that, CliniCloud has partnered with Doctor On Demand to give users the ability to video chat in real time with a licensed physician.
To help jumpstart production, CliniCloud has launched a crowdfunding campaign through Tilt, so you can currently pre-order the kit for a pledge of $109. If the campaign is a success, the company expects to ship the first units sometime in June. Until then, you’ll just have to visit your doctor the old-fashioned way.
Going to the doctor can be a hassle. Besides that, taking a sick kid out of the house is probably not a pleasant experience. With a partnership like this, parents can connect to virtual doctors to get treatment for a loved one, while the person who’s not feeling well doesn’t have to get out of bed. It’s a smart way to reduce the clogged waiting rooms of a doctor’s office, and get help for a sick loved one quickly. This doesn’t replace going to a live doctor completely, but in certain cases, it could be a big help.
Introducing the Inu, a battery-powered scooter you can fold up and take in with you. Push a button on a smartphone app, and in five seconds, the scooter unfolds and is ready to go.
INU can travel up to 15 miles per hour on the street. Prices ranges from $3580 to $6000. Once folded, it only weighs 18kg. A complete battery charge takes three hours.
Thanks to a dedicated mobile app (for Android and iOS), users can receive messages directly on the scooter or even take and share photos and videos using the controls on the handlebars. The “Find my INU” feature allows owners to easily locate their scooter using their mobile device.
“We understood that a product should be practical and feel magical.”
It doesn’t actually take a lot of work to fold up a normal folding bike. But pulling out each part and locking it into place might be just annoying enough to make most people avoid it.
Problem solved: Like any folding bike, the Inu aims to help commuters who might not be able to squeeze a full-size bike (and certainly not an electric scooter) on a subway car or the bus, and who might have trouble finding parking when they arrive at work.
Ever notice how falling cats somehow always land on their feet, and dropped toast will invariably hit the floor buttered-side down? Well what if you could harness that voodoo and install it in your gadgets? In the near future, this may very well become possible. If the technology described in a recent patent filed by Apple ever makes it past the conceptual phase, the next generation of iPhones could potentially be able to control how they hit the ground.
Patent No. 20130257582, otherwise known as “protecting an electronic device,” is basically a broad set of schemes that Apple has devised to keep your phone from landing on its screen or other vulnerable areas. The document outlines a number of different methods that could ostensibly be used to make this happen.
Why It’s Hot
Technology is just ridiculous. This could save people a lot of money on dropped devices.
Will.i.am of the hip-hop group Black Eyed Peas has announced that his company a new wearable device called Puls designed to replace the mobile phone.
Aptly described as a “smart cuff,” Puls enables users to make calls, text, check social media, connect to Wi-Fi and bluetooth networks, play music, check calories burned, and more–all without a smartphone tethered. Puls is a standalone device. It also features a Siri competitor named “Aneeda” and runs on Android mobile OS.
Accompanying the launch announcement is an “anthem” video narrated by Will.i.am, which tries to become a “call to arms” for “alternative” thinkers and “leaders” to stand up against the smartphone world and rethink our relationship to technology.
Why It’s [Not] Hot
I applaud Puls for daring to take on the Apples, Samsungs and Microsofts of the world. Competition is a healthy thing. But Will, why do you have to make it so cheesy? Will.i.am’s video screams “trying too hard” to me. But more than that, it’s the marketing decisions themselves that have me scratching my head.
“Puls” is an existing company
Upon Google search, only news stories are out there for those who want information on the product.
While every article talks about how Will.i.am’s 35-engineer strong venture is backed by Salesforce.com, nowhere do users actually hear the company name! So they can’t find a site for Puls or read about by searching the company.
Seriously, what year are we in? And with all that venture capital, why didn’t Will.i.am hire a marketing consultant (or agency, cough cough) to design a release strategy?!? Will.i.am I wish you all the best, but you’ve got me scratching my head.
The designers of the Pebble Watch realized that a mobile phone is more useful if you don’t have to take it out of your pocket.
Eric Migicovsky didn’t really want a “wearable computer.” When he first conceived of what would become the Pebble smart watch five years ago, as an industrial-design student at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, he just wanted a way to use his smartphone without crashing his bicycle.
The Pebble Watch was selected as one of the 10 best technology breakthroughs for 2013 by the MIT Technology Review. The watch shows only one tidbit at a time, whether a tweet, a txt msg or info about a call; it can also control the volume of the music on your phone, all while your phone is away in your bag.
Why It’s Hot People want simple and easy-to-use interfaces. This enables wearers to absorb information from their mobile phone with merely a glance. With predictions about the advent of wearable computing, it’s easy to see Pebble’s idea being much more popular. By making use of a watch—a classic accessory—Pebble is trying to fit in to long-standing social norms rather than create new ones.
Along with announcing the long-rumored Fire smartphone, Amazon also announced the release of a new digital service that lets users scan real-world information to identify products
FireFly can identify up to 100 million products by scanning images like books, TV and art, and even pieces of information phone numbers, UPCs, bar codes. Scans also can pick up on sound, to identify songs or entertainment by audio signature. The service uses Flow OCR technology, meaning it can also integrate with other apps that use similar information to more accurately identify information and grow the database over time.
The vision is two-fold. In the short-term, scans will link to product pages on Amazon.com and to media available on its digital stores. But the long-term vision is to incorporate scanning behavior into everyday life. Scans of food can yield nutritional facts or ingredients. And the Amazon SDK will allow third-party apps to leverage scanning technology to match user’s preferences to recommend products scanned, like the label of a wine bottle, to take the guesswork out of purchases.
Why It’s Hot
FireFly is a first major step forward in the use of personal technology and big data to augment how we interact with the real world. By creating an SDK that learns from users tastes and preferences, Amazon is hoping to lock in users by providing service that extends beyond eCommerce. Products like Google Glass, however, demonstrate that we have the capability to integrate similar services more naturally into everyday life. Will the scan remain a direct action or become an automatic process that happens behind the scenes, without a user even thinking (or wanting) that action?
Following several bad calls at previous World Cups, FIFA has reconsidered its stance against using technology to call goals. For the first time, referees will be wearing smart watches that vibrate and say “Score” on their faces as soon as goals are scored.
As reported in Gizmodo, the 4D detection system consists of 7 high-speed cameras that snap 500 shots per second. Referees receive a vibration on their smartphone in less than a second, according to the manufacturer Goal Control. Goal detection systems will be placed around the goal lines at each of the 12 stadiums being used. In all cases the ref makes the final call.
Why It’s Hot
With the fanatical appeal of the World Cup, success of this system during these games will almost certainly mean other major sports events, such as the Olympics, will use them in the future. Leading to the inevitable question, how long will it be before referees themselves will be unnecessary?
A company called Fairphone has been making and selling smartphones made from conflict-free materials. As reported on psfk.com, a Dutch designer created the company last year to take an ethical stand on how materials are sourced and used. Fairphone uses materials from a Congolese mine, which are tracked by NGOs and international charities to make sure they have no ties to militias. A special welfare fund for workers’ has also been established by the company for its manufacturing workers in China to help prevent worker suicides and other work-related problems.
“I’m not in this to make phones. I’m here to challenge the systems behind the product,” Bas van Abel toldWired UK. According to the article, “That’s also why the company is also focused on designing a fixable phone that lasts a long time, establishing a comprehensive recycling system; and being fully transparent about their entire process, which includes the costs of making their smartphone, and why it costs what it costs.”
Why Its Hot
Here is a company committed to manufacturing through strictly ethical means — resource-free materials, renewable sources, commitment to social values. In so doing, they are taking a stand against ideals contrary to human dignity — militias, the use of non-renewable resources, pollution and other affronts being funded by manufacturing across the world. It’s a noble cause, one infrequently practiced by major companies.
Following a cryptic tweet from the company’s official Twitter account on June 4, sources are now reporting that Amazon will unveil a new smartphone device on June 18th. If true, the new device would pit Amazon against Apple in yet another high-growth tech category.
“The companies are increasingly going head-to-head in devices such as tablets and in Web services including online entertainment, as they strive to be digital gateways to consumers. Mobile is central to that effort as more people carry gadgets and do their computing on the go,” cites Bloomberg Businessweek.
The smartphone category, while dominated by large players like Apple and Samsung, remains an area of high-growth, particularly in global markets. So what would this device do to differentiate itself?
“A video accompanying the tweet showed people moving their heads around to view a device that’s just out of sight, shot from different angles, implying the phone may have 3-D viewing capabilities, a feature reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.”
Why It’s Hot
Amazon is looking to continue expanding its brand as a true “technology company” that is far bigger than the ecommerce heritage that built the company. But the move is more than brand-building. Analysts suggest that Amazon will use a low/moderate priced, high performance device to drive more revenue to Amazon’s other channels and raise the entire boat as a whole. This continues the trend we’ve seen towards the device as a bridge to other services, rather than the intended revenue-driver itself.
According to a new survey by phone security company Lookout, “the majority of Americans would put themselves at risk to get their lost or stolen phones back. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed cared more about their device and the data on it than the danger they were putting themselves in to retrieve it.”
Smartphone owners, the survey found, would even pay up to $500 to retrieve the phone, and for a third of them, they would spend up to $1,000.
Why It’s Hot
Smartphones have become the can’t-be-without accessory when leaving the house. And in various studies, have ranked even higher than wallets for having to always be with you. It shows the integration of smartphones into the everyday routines of people — their repository for financial, personal, medical, and social information. In effect, all the details of one’s life. The pressure is building for smartphones makers to integrate a kill switch in all phones.