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Hipkey a Bluetooth Proximity Sensor for iOS Shown off at CES 2013

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Hipkey App

With the amount of money a person will spend on an iPhone or an iPad, it would be a good idea to take measures in not losing it or having it stolen. Though there are apps and devices already out on the market to help with this, but during CES 2013 another device shows off.  It is supposed to help locate your iPhone but has other functions as well. This low energy Bluetooth smart device is known as the Hipkey and will be made available sooner to the consumer rather than later.

Traveling all the way from Denmark, Danny van der Poel has brought to CES a device that can go inside your pocket that will monitor your iPhone. This version of a digital leash was already made available for sale in the European Online Apple Store in December and was such a hit that it quickly sold out. The Hipkey is a small aluminum device that is meant to attach to a keychain or some other personal item.

Using Bluetooth technology, it is meant to pair up with your iPhone whereas it becomes a digital leash for your phone. Before arming it, you have the option on setting the distance between the Hipkey and your phone. Settings start at small (2-5m), medium (15-20m) and long (30-50m) distances between the two devices before it triggers a vibration or sound alarm. The main use is to avoid leaving your iPhone behind and the free software download appears to be well designed as well as offers other functions.

Though primarily made for protecting your iPhone, the other modes of Hipkey do not make it limited to only protecting your phone. In alarm mode, this function warns if you forget your iPhone or iPad as well as if someone tries to steal it. Child mode will warn you if your child starts to wander away from you. Putting it in Motion mode will help warn you if someone moves your bag once you place Hipkey inside it.

Finally, putting it in Find Me mode will help you in quickly trying to find your iPad, iPhone or even your keys at any time. Also, you can establish a “Safe Zone” at any location that will prevent the device from setting off automatically at any shorter proximity. Hipkey will still go off if you pass the longest range.

The device uses a rechargeable battery that will last 2-4 weeks and takes four hours to recharge. It is easy to carry as it has a small compact design which is 50mm in diameter with ultra-thin 7mm sides. It will naturally fit in hand and your pocket, easy-to-press keys and has a flexible key hanger that makes it easy to attach to your keys or other items. Despite Hipkey being introduced at CES, it will already be made available on the Online Apple Store on January 15th for the price of $89.99.

Hipkey for iPhone or iPad

Hipkey is a motion and distance alarm that keeps your iPhone, or your kids, safe.

Environmentalist. Consumer Tech Journalist. Science Explorer. And, a dreamer. I've been contributing informative news content since 2010. Follow me on all socials!

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CES

CES 2013: Polaroid’s First Android Camera that has a Removable Lens

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Polaroid Android Camera Interchangeable Lens

Before the digital era, Polaroid cameras gave users the ability to see a picture taken without waiting to have the roll developed at a store. The film itself came with a built in capsule of chemicals that developed each picture that was taken in seconds.  As the digital age came into existence, the digital camera became instant gratification for the user and the need for the old Polaroid cameras was no longer necessary.

Now, during the CES 2013 convention, Polaroid is attempting to not only join the digital age but to move to the front of the pack by introducing the first Android Camera with a removable lens.

Polaroid’s new camera, the iM1836 that was built by their partner Sakar, is not the first Android camera, as Samsung already has the Android-powered Galaxy camera. However, the camera is only a point-and-shoot, so there is a limit on its ability to capture eye-popping shots.

Polaroid took their shot at an Android-powered camera but has the ability to use an interchangeable lens. The iM1836 runs Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean” which would supposedly enable it to run the same photo-sharing and editing tricks you are able to perform with the Galaxy camera; actually, you could use any smartphone that uses Android 4.1.

Though it comes with a 10-30mm zoom lens, you will have the ability to change that out for the use of others. According to Polaroid, the camera is compatible with any Micro Four Thirds lens; that is, so long as you have an optional adapter. It has the ability to snap pictures up to 18 megapixels and video up to 1080p. An HDMI output allows you to connect directly to a TV.

Marketplace caught up with Polaroid’s CEO Scott Hardy at the electronics show and sounded knowledgeable about the consumer’s needs.

Hardy said, “Polaroid was the original social network. You know, people would take a photograph and then they would share it instantly. If you look at how people take pictures today, the main benefit of taking pictures on your cellphone is being able to immediately post them and upload them to your favorite social network. And the sad part is, there are billions of photos taken every day, but many of those photos, once they are uploaded, they disappear. And what we’re interested in is finding those works of art, finding those shots that people are proud of, true treasures that have the sentimental value, and giving the consumer an easy way to output those photographs onto works of art.”

When comparing the Galaxy camera with the iM1836, one big difference is Polaroid offers no option for a data plan. This means you must rely on your smartphone or Wi-Fi to connect to the internet and it comes ready to tether (via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.) Another difference is the LCD touch screen in the back only measures 3.5 inches compared to the Galaxy larger display of 4.8-inches and has a pop-up flash. Other features of the iM1836 include panorama mode, auto blink detection and auto face exposure.

Hardy talked about why their camera is cutting edge as well as better than what is currently out there by saying that, “It has the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system. And the benefit of that is sharing because now you can download your favorite photography apps and be able to use those on the camera itself. And so you can take a picture, edit the picture real time, and upload the photo without having to take the image from your camera, transfer it to a computer and upload it. You get all the benefits and ease of use you get by using a mobile phone, but its built into the camera itself.”

The camera will be available in the first quarter of 2013 and will cost $399.

Polaroid Showcases Android-Powered Camera – CES 2013

A look at the Polaroid iM1836 which has the capability of interchanging lens.

Polaroid Interchangeable Lens Camera

Interchangeable lens cameras from Polaroid? Yep. They’re here at CES, and the company let us spend some hands-on time at tonight’s Pepcom event at the MGM Grand. It’s important to note, right off the bat, that these things are still firmly in prototype mode.

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CES

CES 2013 Takes a Look at the Future of Video Games

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Video Gaming at CES

With CES 2013 convention sadly to an end, the tech industry is starting to mull over the many announcements that were made and deciding which will seem to be successful and those that will end up being a flop.

As with past CES conventions, information about video games hasn’t been a norm. Also, the big three console developers remained silent this convention, so you wouldn’t think there would be much, if any, information on the future of video games. However, there were a number of smaller developers that showed off their own ventures to capitalize on the market dealing with console gaming.

2013 did not start out to be an impressive year for gaming as the three big names in console development were not heard from. With Sony seemingly to be mostly focusing on talking about their new smartphones, Nintendo had already put out its’ Wii-U in late 2012 and Microsoft left the conference entirely; many felt video gaming consoles would not be discussed.

Nonetheless, those that came to CES to hear about the future of video game consoles were not disappointed as other developers stepped up to the plate to show off their innovations and ventures for 2013. The undisputed king of gaming headsets, Turtle Beach, demonstrated a new “tournament grade” pair of headphones.

Meanwhile, Monster Cable announced they partnered up with Electronic Arts to make its first pair of gaming headphones and Roccat Studios showed off a new professional-grade keyboard even before the convention began.

The concept of cloud-based gaming is nothing new but has historically been harder to support.  Computer graphics chipmaker Nvidia opened CES this year with the announcement that it would be venturing into the cloud with its new GRID servers. Their first “fully integrated” product would allow gamers to play the same titles across consoles, PC’s and mobile devices. One of its partners for GRID, Agawi followed by saying it has a new partnership with Marvell and brings Google’s Android operating system to Smart Televisions for the use of cloud-based gaming.

The trend towards cloud gaming will help along the acceptance of mobile gaming being the small computers people carry around with them are powerful enough to be able to support 3D graphics.

Last year, PowerA introduced the handheld device known as the MOGA that was able to turn an Android smartphone into a Nnitendo 3Ds, is bringing with them to the conference a console-style MOGA “pro” controller. Nvidia also presented “Project Shield” which is an Android-based gaming system that is powered by its new Tegra chip.

Another thing that was introduced was Razer’s much-hyped gaming tablet. Though it appeared during last year’s convention under the name “Project Fiona,” it appeared to be finished and is now called the “Razer Edge.”

Smart TV’s presence is usually felt during CES conventions and this year was no exception. What will be different is now that the use of cloud-based services and mobile products are becoming more popular and doable, integration with new and smarter home entertainment devices would seem to be a natural step.

Some feel the changes will be made on the content side as Sony and Microsoft both are increasing their partnership within the cable industry and Hollywood. However, with Apple’s highly anticipated entrance into television, many TV manufacturers will be looking beyond CES to add even more whistles and bells to their new screens. For console developers, the question will be how they will respond to a market that is offering many “smart” capabilities that viewers have normally relied on their Xbox360 or Nintendo Wii to provide.

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CES

CES Brings Smart Watches Back To Market

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Pebble Watch CES

Pebble gained some serious press from a highly successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012. Their smartwatch promised integration with both the iPhone and Android phones via Bluetooth 4.0.  As with many Kickstarter projects that receive an overwhelming response, the company ran into shipping and production delays.

Fast forward to CES and Pebble announced they will begin shipping the 85,000 watches from backers on January 23rd.

The new generation smartwatch enables some compelling features. It will have the ability to display actual alerts on the display for caller ID, email, calendar notifications, Facebook messages, Tweets, Gtalk alerts, imessage notifications,  weather alerts and a vibrating alarm clock. These are just a few of the standard alerts and many others are on the way with the open SDK for developers. Software updates are able to be pushed to an app on your phone that easily updates the watch via bluetooth.

The hardware was able to gain a few features due to the shipping delay. The 1.26-inch backlit e-paper display (144 x 168) is easy to read in light or dark environments. The accelerometer and magnetometer (think compass) will adapt to certain wrist movements. Battery life is expected to be around 7 days and the charger has a magnetic connection to the side of the watch. It will also bring a scratch proof face along with a waterproof design.

Another new watch that was born via Kickstarter is the lesser known CooKoo. It is a minimal feature interactive device that offers icon based alerts letting you know something is waiting for you on the phone. Integration is limited to the iphone 4s and 5 and will not work with Android. While it does not require recharging any battery the trade off for less functionality is a significant one.

Casio also brings a simple more traditional looking watch in its G-Shock. The current version is only available for iOS, but the company hopes to bring Android syncing within 6 months. The simple notifications also seems less than stellar after seeing newer competition and especially so for $180 price point.I'm Droid Watch

The oddly named i’m watch also had a product refresh to display at CES. Their i’m Droid 2 is stated as being the “the world’s most advanced smartwatch operating system.” It’s main differentiating feature is the voice input capability through the integrated microphone. I’m also brings an entire app catalog to its list of features. The accelerometer and magnetometer compliment the open sensors ability. Third party apps can connect to many things like  pedometers and heart-rate monitors via the sensor.

Battery life is less than the Pebble with getting only 24 to 48 hours on a single charge in standby mode. The prime reason for this is the 1.54” color TFT display and having a speaker built in. You gain color for apps like Instagram, but at a significant price. It is compatible with both iOS 4+ and Android 4.0+ devices.

The smartwatch market is not exactly new, but the scene is definitely changing. Older pioneers like the Metawatch and Motoactv set some great standards, but new competition is bringing out much needed ability. It still feels a little too infant with looks and features, but it’s better than the original calculator watch days.

I’m Watch

Android-powered Smart Watch called I’m Watch. The watch will be available in the coming months.

Cookoo Analog Smart Watch

Remember the Cookoo smart watch? For those who don’t know, ’tis an analog watch with a notification display plus Bluetooth 4.0 low energy connectivity, and it prides itself for its much longer battery life compared to other smart watches.

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