When Apple announced the iPhone 5s, with gold as one of the color choices, and the many colors of the iPhone 5c, many naysayers commented that when you resort to color choices to differentiate your product, you've lost. Still, demand for the gold model outstripped supply, and sales of the iPhone 5c, while not as popular as the iPhone 5s, would be the envy of most Android handset makers. So it's interesting to see what LG has announced to differentiate their latest Android phone.
Amazon may have stumbled with the Kindle Fire Phone, due to pricing missteps and other issues, but they're not done innovating and working on integrating their technology into our daily lives. Today, Amazon preannounced the Echo, an unassuming speaker that does a lot more than play music. The cylindrical device sits in your home and is always listening for verbal commands. Similar to Siri, you can ask Echo for weather reports, to play music, etc. The gadget has omni-directional speakers and microphones that can listen to commands even if they come from far away.
I get pitched a lot of Kickstarter projects for "the slimmest portable charger ever," but I'm hesitant to recommend Kickstarter projects that might never see the light of day. Fortunately, today at Stan Lee's Comikaze, I was able to try the Slimz by MobileJuice.com. This is a credit card size charger with a twist. Many such chargers offer a USB port and expect you to add a Lightning or microUSB cable. The Slimz includes a pull out microUSB cable and a tiny converter that turns the microUSB port into a Lightning port.
If you're a fan of comics and/or superhero movies, you owe a lot to Stan Lee. Lee is the creative genius behind most of the Marvel superheroes like Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Hulk, and the Fantastic Four. All of which have contributed greatly to Hollywood's bottom line lately, and the U.S. Economy for that matter. Marvel may be owned by Disney now, but the nonagenarian (I had to look up what a 91-year-old is called!) isn't slowing down. He just held his annual Stan Lee's Comikaze (put on with Elvira) and I had a front row seat. Still full of energy and enthusiasm, Mr. Lee launched his new blog site and a contest, in partnership with LiveJournal.
The iPhone 6 is beautiful, but you probably want to protect it without adding too much bulk. The Crusta case from Amzer ($45) might be the solution. Thanks to a robust set of color choices, you can have a unique design combination, 42 combinations in all. Plus, you can still show off that gold iPhone 6, thanks to the tempered glass back. They also have a tempered glass screen protector as an option. The effect makes the Crusta look and feel like just a bumper, but it provides all around coverage with six-foot drop protection and dust proof connections.
I need a Lightning cable in my car, as well as a microUSB cable. My iPhone might be in a battery case that uses microUSB to charge, and I also have some Android devices. I keep a cheap no-contract phone in my car, for emergencies, just to dial 911 if needed. So I like to have Lightning and microUSB options.
As I prepare for a week of travel, I'm trying to pack as light as possible. I know I'll need a Lightning cable or two, for my iPhone and iPad, so one of those cables will be the Kero Nomad ($24.99). It's a tiny little thing, at about three inches long. There's a removable cap that can fit on a keyring. I was worried that the cap might come off, and I'd lose the cable, but the cap connection is quite sturdy, so that concern was alleviated. There are other cables that are about as small, but they are usually quite stiff. This makes it hard to connect an iPhone to a wall plug, and you have to prop up the phone to make a good connection. Fortunately, the Kero Nomad is flexible and that concern also goes away.
It's hard to find one case that meets all your needs, but the ibattz mojo REFUEL ARMOR S Removable Battery Case comes close. First off, it is a rugged, splash-resistant case. It accommodates the Touch ID fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5s through a rubberized flap that normally covers the home button but pulls down to reveal the sensor. There's a screen protector built in as well.
I attended Stan Lee's Comikaze convention this weekend, in Los Angeles, and Mr. Lee has already made some news. In partnership with Madefire, Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment will be creating new characters and stories for Madefire's Motion Books interactive multimedia platform. Stan Lee is the co-creator of just about every character in the Marvel Universe, most notably Spider-Man. He's also made appearances in the assortment of Marvel movies made over the past decade and those cameos are one of the things I look forward to with each movie.
I don't like to recommend Kickstarter projects too much, because I've been burned and I hate to let others down. But once in a while a project comes along, like the Pebble watch I backed on Kickstarter, that makes it worth it. That was an example of an existing smartwatch firm, with a good design, and experience, and enough money already raised to make the product a reality (eventually.) There's another project, the Pronto power pack, from a group who has experience in the field, the backing of Shark Tank's Mark Cuban, and way more than the $50,000 they sought already raised. So the signs are good.