12 Feb CES 2013: Cool Stuff To Get You Excited About Mobility
If you’ve been getting rather bored with the slowing rate of innovation in the mobile sector, we may just have something to get you excited about mobility again.
The Consumer Electronics Show always offers up exciting new technologies, and this year was no exception. From flexible screens, to trackers for your wallet and keys, to turning your smartphone into a remote control for your locks, CES 2013 served up a host of incredible technologies designed to either improve existing mobile technology or extend it to possibilities almost beyond imagination.
Use Your Smartphone To Find Your Keys and Wallet
While finding your phone is usually easy (unless it’s on silent), unfortunately you can’t call your keys, wallet or luggage. Yet.
In the meantime, Stick-N-Find unveiled a new technology in the fight against lost items at CES 2013. Their blue-tooth enabled stickers allow you to track almost anything you can attach the small coin-sized sticker to.
Once you’ve attached the sticker to the item of your choice, you can track it’s whereabouts using the StickNFind app available for iOS and Android. you can pair up to 20 of the blue-tooth enabled stickers with the app, which will tell you whether you’re getting closer or further away from your lost item.
The app displays all of your paired devices via a Radar Screen. While the app cannot determine the direction in which the device is (it can only tell you if you are getting closer or further away), you can tap on the desired sticker on the radar screen and make the sticker buzz, flash the lights or do both, which for most of the time (particularly if you are searching in the dark) will be sufficient.
Stick-N-Find also offers a feature called Virtual Leash, which will alert you if a sticker moves away more than the approximate selected distance from your phone. This is perfect for keeping tabs on your pet.
The technology has a range of 100 feet and uses a watch battery which lasts for around a year and is easily replaceable.
Of course, if you can’t find your phone, you’ll have to go back to tearing the house apart manually (and maybe even put in place dedicated storage for all your valuables).
Your Next Mobile Device Could Have A Flexible Screen
New display technology seems to be all the rage this year, with the new 4K (Ultra High Definition) taking televisions by storm and touch screens almost becoming the new standard. While these technologies are pretty cool, Samsung has taken display technology to a new level only imagined in science-fiction, paving the way for even more portable mobile devices in the future.
Samsung displayed their flexible OLED’s at CES 2013, under the Youm brand, that can be wrapped around the sides of a smartphone or tablet. OLEDs emit their own light, so they don’t need the thick, heavy backlight that makes LCDs rigid.
At its CES keynote yesterday morning, Samsung displayed a working OLED screen the size of a smartphone that could bend like a sheet of paper without affecting the quality of the image. Another prototype showed how the display could be stretched along the sides of a device, which would allow content to flow around the sides (in the form of a ticker) if the phone is lying face down.
The benefits of this technology is not limited to better portability but also better damage resistance. Because the screen isn’t rigid, flexible screens will be almost indestructible when faced with drops and scratches.
While Samsung made no indication as to when the flexible displays or curved screens will be available on devices, Gizbot has revealed there are rumours Samsung may unveil a smartphone with the flexible screen technology (dubbed Galaxy Q GT-B9150) at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona being held in late February this year.
To give the audience a better idea of the possibilities this new screen technology presents, Samsung showcased a large phone screen that folded in two, like a wallet and a small column-shaped device that transformed into a screen with a press of a button.
You can view the video here:
What do you get when you combine an e-reader with a smartphone? The YotaPhone!
For most, the concept of a dual-screen smartphone, one of which being an electronic paper display, will sound gimmicky. However, for power uses who are continually frustrated by the limitations of battery life, the YotaPhone actually has the potential to improve the smartphone experience.
The e-ink display on the back of the Android powered YotaPhone can mirror anything displayed on the high resolution LCD main screen, whether it be a web page, a to do list, an email, a map or directions. The beauty of an e-ink display is that you can have nearly anything displayed constantly without affecting the phone’s battery life. E-ink screens do not draw power from the battery, which means even if your phone dies, you can still access important information.
In terms of how the transferral of data between the two screens works, there are currently two ways to do this. The first way is via a customised app (made either by Yota or by a third party using their open APK), which allows you to tap a symbol at the top right hand corner that will send currently displayed items across to the back. The other way, is to swipe down using two finger anywhere on the LCD display to bring up a replica of the current screen in E Ink.
At present, though the YotaPhone is a bit rough around the edges, being only a prototype, the developers will be making another appearance at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year in Barcelona, hopefully with a more polished demo model.
In terms of specs, the YotaPhone prototype features:
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- 720 X 1280, 4.3inch LCD display
- Dual core 1.5GHz Snapdragon S4 Processor
- 2GB RAM
- 12 Megapixel rear-facing camera
Check out the interview below with Vlad Martynov and Lau Geckler, the people behind the YotaPhone courtesy of Engadget:
Control Your Locks With Your Smartphone
Smartphones and tablets are becoming the new universal remote, so why not extend that capability to your home security?
While keys have helped us to protect our homes for centuries, Lockitron is aiming to bring this age old security measure into the future by allowing you to unlock and lock your home using your smartphone.
The Lockitron is simply a device that fits over any deadbolt (even deadbolt’s already fitted to doors), using its built-in wi-fi and a dedicated app developed for both Android and iOS, to allow you to not only remotely lock and unlock your door, but also know when someone else has unlocked a door in your house (either via Lockitron or a key).
If you’re an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 user, Lockitron gives you keyless entry using Bluetooth 4.0. This is one very handy feature when you’re juggling groceries, kids, pets and coffee, as all you need is your smartphone in your pocket for the Lockitron to detect the presence of bluetooth 4.0, unlocking the door before you reach it (similar to keyless entry for cars).
The device can even detect and notify you of knocks on your door, with the first knock activating the vibration sensor, and the second knock sending a notification to the owner’s phone. The other great feature of the Lockitron, is the ability to share access to your Lockitron with anyone via the app, allowing your guests access to your house while you’re not there. You can also revoke access to anyone at anytime using the app.
To see the Lockitron in action check out the video below!
Triple-strength Gorilla Glass 3
Corning have already made a name for themselves in the mobile device industry, with its Gorilla Glass technology taking damage resistant glass to a whole new level.
First unveiled in 2007 in the original iPhone, Corning has continuously improved their Gorilla Glass technology with every version.
Gorilla Glass chemically strengthens its glass via a process called ion exchange, which involves the untreated glass being immersed in hot molten salt at around 400°C, which then causes smaller sodium ions to be replaced by larger potassium ions. As the glass cools, a layer of compressive stress is formed on the surface that gives it increased resistance to scratches and drops. This technology increases the glass’ resistance to scratches and other damage to the glass, with Corning claiming that Gorilla Glass 3 is three times more damage-resistant than its predecessor — a feature it’s calling Native Damage Resistance (NDR).
See Gorilla Glass 3 put to the test in this video from their CES 2013 booth courtesy of Android Central: