Lockitron has just outed a new cellphone-controlled keyless entry system, sporting a raft of new bells and wireless whistles. The WiFi-connected product mounts over your existing deadbolt "in seconds," according to the company, and lets you or those you trust control your lock from anywhere in the world by SMS or the internet. You can also unlock your door in person without lifting a finger if you have an iPhone 4S or 5, as the Lockitron will sense your approach using Bluetooth 4.0 -- a feature that may extend to NFC and Android devices in the future, too. To top it off, the system can notify you when a friend or relative returns home, and it has a knock sensor to let you know if someone's come by to visit. Lockitron exceeded its self-imposed minimum order limit by 250 percent in less than a day, so if you'd like to pre-order one at the current $149 price and get it for March 2013, hit the source.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Samsung and SugarSync are already cozy with each other, having struck a deal to put SugarSync's cloud file sharing on Samsung's AllShare Play-equipped TVs. That relationship just got a lot closer: SugarSync will now be a mainstay for Samsung's rather successful mobile devices. Starting with the Galaxy S III, any Samsung phone or tablet that supports AllShare Play will have SugarSync built-in, whether it's for looking at files and media from back home or just to upload the phone's own photos and videos for sharing later on. The service still offers a free 5GB of storage as a baseline and will scale up to 500GB if you're willing to fork over up to $40 a month. Between this and a Dropbox deal for most carriers, Samsung has the cloud largely sewn up on its handhelds -- if you can't access it, it probably doesn't exist.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Proper home automation systems can cost upwards of $10,000, and while budget alternatives can't touch the level of integration you'll enjoy with a behemoth rig, all but the most sophisticated of homeowners can squeak by with a simple timer setup -- or the modern equivalent. Belkin's WeMo duo utilizes two types of plug-in modules paired with an iOS 5+ app, which you'll use to set macros, control lights and schedule on/off times. A Switch module can turn on and off a lamp, fan, coffee maker, television or heating appliance from a connected iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You can also set a seemingly unlimited number of detailed schedules for each device, all from the comfort of your WiFi-equipped touchscreen handheld. You can integrate the optional Motion device with a set of macros as well, configuring your lights to turn on once you step through the foyer, or your coffee maker to launch a brew as you walk through your bedroom door.
We wired up a lamp in a New York City apartment to give WeMo a go, and things generally worked as advertised. Setup is fairly straightforward -- simply plug in a module, select its corresponding SSID broadcast from iOS then launch the free app to force the device onto your home WiFi network. You'll need to repeat the process to add each gadget or sensor, but once you do, you'll be able to config and control any connected gadget from anywhere on the network, or beyond. The system theoretically supports remote access without any additional setup (modules are registered to the app) but we weren't able to power up the lamp while on 3G during multiple attempts. That detail aside, we'd be happy to welcome WeMo into our home, though the absent Android app throws in a speed bump for sure. You have two options for adding WeMo -- there's a Switch + Motion kit available for $100, which includes a power control and motion sensor, or you can opt for the Switch solo for $50. Then, simply add as many outlet controllers as you wish, at 50 bucks a pop. You can see that first combo in action in our hands-on video after the break.
Gallery: Belkin WeMo for iOS hands-on
If you wake up to find the Splashtop Streamer widget on your PC or Mac begging to be updated, then it's probably worth it -- especially if you have a new iPad lying around. Splashtop 2 has been optimized to work with the Retina display, which makes it a cinch to squeeze your entire Windows or OS X desktop onto the 10-inch screen without it looking terrible. The system has also been redesigned to avoid the need to enter IP addresses, passwords, port numbers or Google account details. Instead, you'll create a new Splashtop 2 login that should work once across all your devices. The UI seems a lot friendlier, there's a new in-app purchase to "supercharge" network performance (edit: also required for connections outside of the same WiFi network if you're a new customer, see below), plus there's improved support for fluid video streaming at up to 30fps. (Alas, there's still no fullscreen support for Windows Media Center users though.) The new streamer and iPad app are available now, while the Android update should arrive soon. Want to see it in action? Head past the break for the promo video.
Update: We didn't fully appreciate this at first, but cross-network remote desktopping is no longer free to new customers. If you're coming to Splashtop for the first time, you have to make the in-app purchase ($1 per month or $10 per year) to enable "Anywhere Access." That said, the Splashtop 2 app for iPad is currently selling for $2 -- an 80 percent discount which largely compensates for the first year of charges.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Been quietly pining for Belkin's
couch potato home automation solutions? Well, the wait is (almost) over, as the company has finally put its WeMo Switch and Motion products up for pre-order. You can reserve yours through Belkin or Amazon, with the Switch costing $49.99 and the Motion / Switch bundle setting you back a neat $99.99. Apple likes it enough to add the gear to its home-friendly repertoire in-store on the 26th, while other retailers, Verizon included, will be stocking them shortly afterwards. Rig the Switch up to your WiFi at home and you can control the flow of juice from its outlet via the WeMo iOS app (sorry, no Android love). Add in the motion detector and you can set rules for power control based on proximity triggers. Interestingly, Belkin also reports IFTTT integration, meaning the devices can be used for a lot more than the simple on / off remote commands and scheduling we originally thought. For those with iDevices, the free WeMo app is available now, not that it's particularly useful just yet. Need Mo? Check out the official PR and a promotional vid after the break.
It's nice to get a delivery, but what if your remote village could use the contents to finally talk to the rest of the world? That's what African communications company RascomStar-QAF is cooking up with a pilot network in the Congo's jungles. They're going in to villages throughout the African nation and installing 50 router-like femtocells -- normally used in homes for better cellphone access -- from UK vendor ip.access. Those devices will be connected through the ViaSat orbiting network to RascomStar's telecom gateway in the capital, Brazzaville. Since the femtocell setup is nearly automatic, anyone with limited technical knowledge could do it, rather than the team of engineers normally needed for more complex networks. The result would be a system which could be shipped in a box, connecting previously inaccessible areas to a telecom network -- a lot bigger deal than the WiFi veranda project we were thinking of. To see how it'll all come together, connect to the press release below for more details.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
Sure, it's not as revolutionary as the new automated ad skipping built into its DVRs, but Dish Network has also just revamped its Remote Access iPad app. While other pay-TV providers are proud about streaming channels to mobile devices only within the home or shifting a few recordings, Dish's tight Sling integration still provides the most video wherever the user might be, as well as DVR management, a full guide and remote control. The 3.0.3 upgrade brings an entirely new user interface that's optimized for the retina display, guide data without interrupting the video, favorite channels list, and claims to speed up the process of both loading various screens and connecting to stream live TV. Hit iTunes for the updated app or read the press release after the break for more details and let us know how it's working for you.
Gallery: Dish Network Remote Access iPad app
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