Smart devices to keep tabs on your kids
AT&T announced this week that it will be the exclusive carrier of FiLIP, a standalone smartwatch for tracking your kids. The FiLIP has location services, voice calling, and direct messaging—and you can designate “Safe Zones” so if your child enters or exits those areas, you’ll be notified. Details about pricing and service plans will be announced in the next few months.
If you don’t want to be tied to a cell phone provider, maybe check out another new kid-monitoring device called Guardian. It runs on Bluetooth so it won’t burn through battery power, and it’s paired with an iOS app (apparently an Android version is in development). You can set a perimeter for each child, create a network of “co-guardians,” get alerts if they leave the designated safe area, and activate a search if necessary. For $30 ($25 if you pre-order), the price might be right if you worry about your kids wandering off.
This remote will make your smart phone smarter
Last week I told you about a wrist band that could control your smart phone but check this new gadget out called Gecko. It’s about the size of a quarter and uses Bluetooth tech to operate as a remote control for your phone. You can program it to do a bunch things such as control the shutter on your phone camera (better selfies!) and the volume on your music, find your phone (or your keys or keep track of your dog), and it can even operate as home security system because it has a motion detector. It’s an Indigogo funded project so $20 will get you one as an early bird pledge.
FitBit Force is here!
We saw the leaked photos last week, but FitBit made it official this week. The Force, according to CNET’s review, “leaps to the top of the fitness tracker heap, with a bright screen, comfortable fit, and a bevy of slick features.” As expected, it has a mini OLED screen and a button on the side so you can toggle through your daily steps, how well you sleep, and how many calories you consume. It’s water-resistant but does have the same hard-to-put-on clasp as the Flex. For $130 though, it looks pretty cool.
New HP Chromebook 11 is here (and only $279)
Google announced a new 11-inch Chromebook this week with a 1366 x 768 pixel display, colorful case options, and 100GB of Google Drive storage (free for 2 years). Time will tell if it’s any good, but I know the Chromebook 14 didn’t necessarily get rave reviews. Maybe this new offering will answer some of the criticisms of the previous model.
Is the Kindle Paperwhite the best ereader ever?
The Verge is declaring Amazon’s device the winner of the ebook reader war and saying it’s the, “best ebook reader ever made.” The new Paperwhite due this fall for $119 is the same as previous versions, with a few upgrades. Amazon has added a new feature that makes it easier to bookmark pages you might want to refer back to (like maps of Mordor or a specific recipe). The latest Paperwhite will also integrate Goodreads (which was recently acquired by Amazon) making it easy to see what your friends are reading (and share notes with them). Read the review.
A REALLY touchy-feely screen
Mashable had a story this week about some new Disney Research (yes, the same Disney that brought you Mickey Mouse) that gives a tactile feel to 3D images on touchscreens. They used an electrovibration-based display so people could feel the texture of objects presented on the screen. The video is a technical and talks about how they developed the technology (an algorithm), but it all gives you some idea of what it would be like to experience. Pretty cool!