Spotify launches its first hardware device, a touchscreen player for your car called the “Car Thing”

While its name probably makes it sound like something an executive at Spotify thought of overnight, the Spotify ‘Car Thing’ has been in the works for years. It honestly makes sense, considering every one of Spotify’s competitors is in the hardware space too – Apple has the HomePod Mini and the AirPods complementing its Apple Music, and Amazon has the Echo series of smart speakers tying in with Prime Music. The Car Thing helps Spotify enter the hardware space too, and solidify its position in the one area where the market still remains untapped, and where honestly people require music/radio/podcasts the most… the car.

Picture this… you’ve got a long, 30-minute drive to work. A decade ago, you’d switch the radio on and listen to the news or some music. Now, you’re most likely to tune into your favorite podcast episode, or play music from a playlist on your streaming service. The software has evolved, although the hardware’s still playing catch-up. Not every car comes with a smart dashboard, and it can be a nuisance to constantly lift up your phone and unlock it to pick a song or a podcast episode… especially when you’re driving. That’s where the Car Thing comes in.

Issued as a limited release, Spotify’s Car Thing provides a bridge between your car’s speaker system and your favorite online streaming service. Available for free to a select group of applicants (you can sign up on Spotify’s Car Thing microsite), the Car Thing is a nifty little dashboard that brings Spotify to life in your automobile. It runs a version of the streaming company’s Car View, a simple interface that’s easy to use and navigate while driving, and while the device DOES have a touchscreen, it comes with physical dials and buttons that you can instinctively operate with your hand as you keep your eyes on the road.

The Spotify Car Thing is built to be compatible with vehicles regardless of make or model and displays a home screen with a touch-sensitive navigation dial slightly overlapping the screen to make the device look visually dramatic. The device comes with voice-controlled search too, and you can simply summon songs, artists, and playlists by using the command “Hey Spotify” before your query. Alternatively, you could rotate the dial to navigate the dashboard, increase or decrease volume, or press it to select songs or play/pause music. A button right below the dial lets you go back to the home screen, and 4 preset buttons on the top let you instantly play songs, stations, podcasts, or playlists of your choice.

Ultimately, the Car Thing works as a bridge between your phone and your car’s speaker system. It doesn’t sport a speaker of its own, instead, it connects to your car’s built-in speaker system either via Bluetooth or an aux cable. It still requires your smartphone too, given that it can’t connect to the internet independently. Sure, that sounds like a bit of a drag, but what Spotify is betting on is a much more intuitive and easy-to-use interface that lets you listen to your favorite talk shows and music without fiddling with your phone as you drive. The Car Thing ships with three mounting accessories for connecting it to a vent, the dashboard, or the CD player, and can be powered either by the USB port in your car, or a USB adapter that fits into the lighter socket. Sadly, the Car Thing isn’t quite available to the general public yet. You need to sign up on the Car Thing website and Spotify states that the device will only be available to “select” Spotify Premium members. To make up for that, the company is giving the Car Thing away at a 100% discount on its $79.99 price-tag. All you really need to pay is a nominal $6.99 shipping fee.

Designer: Spotify

The Car Thing sports a 4-inch touchscreen, with a durable construction and matte-textured rubber controls that are responsive and easy to use.

A rotating dial lets you quickly cycle through elements on your interface, and you can simply push the dial to select an item within your menu or press the home button below to go back to your home screen.

The upper edge of the Car Thing spots 5 buttons – 4 for dedicated presets, and a recessed button on the extreme right lets you either quick/mute a song, or access your settings. The device even comes with 4 microphones on the top, laid out in between each of the buttons, that run Spotify’s adaptive interference cancellation technology to help tune out the background noise and focus on your voice commands.

Each Spotify Car Thing ships in a kit that includes a USB cable to power the device, a 12V adapter for your car’s lighter socket, 3 different mounts to choose from, and a rubber cover for extending the primary dial’s lifespan.

Honeywell and rapper Will.i.am just debuted a futuristic face-mask with built-in wireless earphones





I’ll be honest, nothing about that title is even remotely predictable. In fact, it gets progressively weirder with every subsequent word. You wouldn’t expect Will.i.am to release a medical product, more so, partner with Honeywell over it… but together the rapper and the OEM conglomerate collaborated over a mask that combines the best of both parties. Titled the XUPERMASK, the $299 face-mask comes with dual three-speed fans and HEPA filters, but also packs Bluetooth earphones with noise canceling audio and 7-hour battery life. I’ll be honest, the association with Will.i.am aside, the mask really looks pretty futuristic (it comes co-designed by Hollywood costume-designer Jose Fernandez, who also designed the SpaceX astronaut suits). The fact that it’s built by Honeywell lends it a good amount of credibility, and I can’t believe I’m saying this but I could actually see myself wearing one of these.

The XUPERMASK attempts at turning face-masks into a bit of a pop-culture item. It surely isn’t fluff… the mask is awaiting FDA approval, and it comes fitted with replaceable HEPA filters made by Honeywell – a company that’s built itself on designing the world’s greatest HVAC systems. The pop-culture element comes from rapper and Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am, who aims to turn the XUPERMASK into a renegade pair of wireless earphones too.

As far as the face-mask part of the design is concerned, the XUPERMASK sports a universal fit, thanks to a silicone face-seal and a high-performance elastic strap that wraps around your head. The mask is outfitted with dual-fans that work at 3-speed settings to deliver purified air directly to your face as you breathe. Air is pushed through a set of pleated HEPA filters manufactured by Honeywell, and the filters are designed to be replaced every 30 days for optimal performance. The fans themselves run for an impressive 7 hours on a full charge, providing enough usage to get you through most of your day… and to seal the deal, the mask even sports glowing LED rings around each fan for that futuristic appeal.

Aside from being just a face-mask, the XUPERMASK (pronounced Supermask, if you’re still wondering) also packs a pair of wireless earphones too. The earphones emerge from the sides of the mask, and can be docked on the mask itself on designated magnetic panels. When you want to wear them, just pop the earphones off and place them in your ear. The earphones come with Bluetooth 5.0, pairing seamlessly with any smart-device. They come with active noise-canceling (pretty impressive for a face-mask), and even house an integrated noise-reduction microphone for things like answering calls or sending voice-messages. There’s no indication of where this microphone is located, but I’d be thoroughly impressed if it was within the mask’s enclosure itself. It would essentially mean you could talk while wearing the mask and not have your voice get muffled.

The XUPERMASK comes in two colors for now – one in pure black, and another in a white + orange combination. Just visually, it does look pretty impressive. The LED rings, metallic fan covers, and those magnetic earbuds, all set the XUPERMASK apart. The mask even comes with a set of controls built on either side, allowing you to toggle fan speed, the LED light, switch on/off the ANC feature, and do basic things like answer calls or play-pause music. Off the top of my head, a fan-powered face-mask with earphones does sound like a crazy idea that might just work, and with the XUPERMASK, Honeywell and Will.i.am are betting on a future where masks will still be a common outdoor face-accessory… in which case, having wireless earphones built into your face-mask just sounds a tad bit more sensible. The XUPERMASK is currently available in two sizes, and for a retail price of $299. The mask comes as a part of a XUPERKIT (I’m guessing the nomenclature was Will.i.am’s idea), which includes a carry-case, 3 months worth of replaceable HEPA filters, a USB charging cable, and replaceable earphone tips for different ear-sizes. The XUPERMASK hasn’t received FDA approval yet, but it has been granted authorization for emergency use.

Designers: will.i.am & Jose I. Fernandez in partnership with Honeywell

Razer’s new ‘gaming glasses’ have blue-light blocking properties and built-in earphones!

The product development team at Razer must be working overtime! The company, which recently revealed their reusable straw has also released a pair of eyewear, and while a stainless steel straw seems like a rather odd product for a gaming-tech company to launch, the Razer Ansu glasses fit more into their wheelhouse.

The Razer Ansu is a little more than your average pair of glasses. Styled rather fashionably (and available in wayfarer-style round and rectangular frames), these glasses are designed to be lightweight, comfortable, and perfect for wearing in front of screens or out in the sun. Armed with interchangeable lenses, the frames let you swap in and swap out eyepieces, choosing between blue-light filtering lenses (for excessive screen-time) or polarized UV-blocking lenses (for wearing outdoors)… but that isn’t all. The frames come outfitted with ope-ear audio drivers too, which lets them double as earphones when you wear them. 16mm drivers carefully located within the temple stems fire audio directly into your ears, creating a personal, earphone-like listening experience without needing to wear earphones. The Ansu pair with devices via Bluetooth 5.1, letting you listen to music or podcasts from your phone, or even wear them while gaming (instead of slipping on those thick headsets). Sure, there are microphones built into the Ansu too, and a touch-sensitive area on the spectacles let you do stuff like control playback or activate your phone’s voice assistant. The Ansu comes with 5 hours of battery (and it powers off when you ‘close’ the glasses), and is even built to be IPX4 water-resistant, so a little rain shouldn’t really deter you from wearing the specs outdoors. The Ansu come in two shapes (rounded and rectangular) across two sizes, and ship with a chic leather carrying case. Additionally, Razer has partnered with Lensabl to extend 15% off prescription lenses for Anzu buyers who require corrective lenses.

Designer: Razer

Skullcandy’s $25 ‘affordable’ TWS earphones are going to be an absolute disaster for our environment

What can you buy for $25? A great bottle of wine? Two large pizzas? A pair of TWS earphones? No, not those cheap ones off of AliBaba, I’m talking a real pair of TWS earphones from a bonafide audio company. Earlier today, Skullcandy launched Dime, a pair of budget wireless earbuds. They come with a 12-hour battery life (with the case), are IPX4 water-resistant, and cost 1/10th the price of the AirPods. At a price of $24.99, the Dime might be the cheapest pair of TWS earphones from a reputed audio brand.

“Dime breaks down all barriers formerly associated with true wireless,” says Jeff Hutchings, Skullcandy’s chief product officer, in a press release, “Offering stellar sound and unmatched simplicity at a price that makes it possible to throw a pair in every bag.” The TWS earphones come with a plastic construction and in 4 colours – Black, Gray, Green, and Blue. At their ‘throwaway’ price, the earphones really cut corners in a few places. They come with a 3.5 hour battery life, extended to half a day when charged in the case. The Dime doesn’t sport ANC (or any noise cancellation for that matter) or wireless charging. In fact, the earbuds don’t even come with touch-sensitive controls. They do, however, come with actual buttons (one on each earbud) that let you control volume, answer/reject calls, or cycle through music. Other than that, they’re just a pair of solid earphones with a secure fit and an IPX4 water-resistance rating, making them perfect for wearing while going on a jog or while at the beach. As far as sound-quality is concerned, $25 bucks will only get you so far… but given this is coming from a company as big as Skullcandy, they should sound pretty good for their price.

While this is a story about consumer-friendly innovation and how one company managed to make good TWS tech accessible to a large group of people by bringing the price down, it’s also a story of the environmental aftermath of such decisions. The earphones come made from plastic, although there’s really no indication of whether the plastic’s recycled or not (my money is on ‘No’). However, that’s just a small part of the Dime’s critique. The most important part about these earphones really is their price tag and the ‘throwaway’ culture that tag really feeds into, intentionally or unintentionally. At $25, there’s no way these earphones are designed to be repaired (repairing them may actually be more expensive), which means if and when they ever get spoilt, Skullcandy just expects you to throw out the old pair out and buy a new one instead. Given their size, and how ridiculously tiny the components within them are, chances are they’ll never be recycled for parts either… and once thrown, the Dime will just end up in a landfill or the ocean, resulting in plastic pollution, e-waste, and millions of tiny lithium-ion batteries entering our soil or waterways. Skullcandy? More like Skull-and-cross-bones…

Designer: Skullcandy

Audiophile-approved speaker designs to elevate and upgrade your music experience!

Owning a great speaker is always essential, not only to blast out some groovy music at your parties but also for those days when you want to sing along to your favorite tunes at the top of your lungs, in the privacy of your room! Whatever may be the requirement, having a clear, distortion-free, handy, and interactive speaker is necessary. There are a lot of innovative speakers out there in the market, so picking the right one that meets all your needs can be a task, especially since we all tend to have different audio requirements. Hence, we’ve curated a collection of functional, creative, and exciting speaker designs for you! There’s a unique speaker for everyone in here. We hope you can find the one that’s meant for you!





Kintsugi is the art of mending broken ceramics using gold to seal the cracks… but what if the cracks were celebrated as a design detail instead? What if the cracks revealed something even beautiful underneath? The Teno lamp + speaker’s reveal is as poetic as life emerging from behind cracked egg-shells. The lamp-speaker uses a cracked exterior that gently separates into two. As the crack widens, you begin to the signs of life underneath as the lamp below is revealed, shining through the cracks with its life-affirming message of hope… but Teno isn’t just a lamp, it’s a Bluetooth speaker too! Designed to look more artistic and sculpturally beautiful than any lamp or Bluetooth speaker you’ve ever seen, Teno is truly about the beauty within. The outer surface comes in the shape of a hemisphere with a crack running through its center (the crack’s even edge-painted gold for added flair). Separate the two halves of the hemisphere, and a lamp within automatically switches on, creating perhaps one of the most unusually pleasing interactions of all time. Pull the halves further apart, and you switch on the Bluetooth speaker within, allowing your light to come to life with sound too!

This new Dieter Rams-inspired Bluetooth speaker design encourages you to click the lock button and stow the phone away if only for a song. The design’s concept is visually approachable and inviting, with a single speaker on the product design’s right-hand side, a roomier pocket for your phone on the left, and self-explanatory player controls on top. While the visual and compartmental design makes the music device easily portable, it also motivates you to end the constant scrolling and just enjoy the music. Since the speaker works with Bluetooth, the space to stow away your phone is more of a light suggestion than a prerequisite for operation. However, if you do decide to use the suggested space for your phone, the product’s design becomes user-adjustable. Since the speaker’s screen, which encases your phone, is transparent, that means you can transform your screen into a compact cassette or any other background, invoking your favorite musical memory within any room.

The motive for Ben Lorimore’s Sound Tool was to have a speaker whose operation relies upon physical intuition, leading it to be emotionally stimulating! The main source of inspiration comes from the eccentric movement of a Conductor; as the volume of the orchestra increases, as too does the Conductors physical presence. This has been beautifully translated into Sound Tool by encouraging the user to increase the volume of the music by grabbing each end of the speaker and pulling them apart! To increase the volume of Sound Tool, grab it and make it bigger. To decrease the volume, compress it. Fully collapse it to pause, Sound Tool will not play at 0% volume. It’s welcoming to see a product that encourages tangible interactions!

You’ve heard of 2.1 audio, 5.1 audio, even perhaps 7.1 audio… but have you ever heard of 12.1 surround sound? That’s what the Actinia speaker is about. Inspired by the tree-shaped sea anemone, the Actinia Speaker has 12 tweeters on its radially symmetric top, and a woofer right at the base. With a gradient-tinted glass body, the Actinia is virtually see-through, bringing an element of transparency to the uniquely shaped organic speaker body, almost reminiscent of how curvy Harman Kardon’s Soundsticks were, back in the day. I don’t imagine the Actinia has smart-speaker abilities, but with 12.1 audio, I doubt you’d really choose to hear Alexa’s voice over some good old, immersive Hans Zimmer or Ramin Djawadi soundtracks… am I right?

A relatively small, hockey-puck-sized gizmo, Humbird has the ability to transform surfaces into speakers. Place it on a coffee table and the table begins to transmit audio, creating a rich sound that you can hear all around your room. Attach it to the body of your acoustic guitar and you’re treated to a different, more airy sound, thanks to the guitar’s hollow acoustic-resonation box. The speaker doesn’t transmit sound waves through the air, but rather relies on a vibrating unit that delivers sound via vibrations through an external medium. It’s easy to be fooled by Humbird’s incredibly small size, but the truth is that the Humbird’s sound is as big as the object you rest it against. Just by simple contact, you can turn entire dining tables, doors, or window-panels into vibrating speaker units that emanate sound through the room.

These sleek and futuristic headphones have a hidden secret – they transform into a speaker! Usually, once you’re done listening to your favorite tunes, you simply place your headphones on your desk or any other preferred spot, however, Helix’s soft headband and ball joint arm, allow you to easily twist and mold the headphones, enabling them to transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. In their speaker form, the headphones also look like a cool little sculpture, something you can place in your room, and are sure to be asked questions about! The headphones come amped with an accessible dial that allows you to control the volume, and change the songs, by lightly adjusting the dial. The dial also works perfectly when Helix is in its speaker form.

Crafted from a mixture of rough concrete and wood, Hevi is a 360-degree modular speaker, with a warm and rustic aesthetic. With a glossy plastic plate stuck right in the middle of it, a surreal modern contrast is created to the otherwise homely materials, which are wood and concrete. What makes Hevi even more interesting is that it dissociates into two speakers! The top portion of Hevi consists of a mid-high frequency speaker, whereas the lower portion is a mid-low frequency speaker. The two can be detached, allowing you to carry either of the speakers wherever you wish. The compact upper speaker is, of course, the more portable option, something you could even carry for your outdoor adventures! When combined, both the speakers create a resounding high-quality sound.

Portable speakers don’t usually have intriguing aesthetics, so Seda was created with the intention of blending both visuals and technology to make it stand out. Its physical form radiates a zen feeling while also having a multifunctional appeal. Seda isn’t just smart, it was made to be intelligent. Seda has a pen holder in the center which also acts as a small space organizer. It features an embedded light bar in its external body which works as a desk light and it also has a dim ambient light – to be honest, this speaker is more lit than the playlist I made for it. It almost looks like an accent interior piece for your home than a portable speaker.

Boasting 360 degrees 3D sound, the BALMUDA Portable Speaker upgrades and amplifies your audio quality! It’s a compact and portable speaker that you can easily carry with you wherever you go. It also provides you with hours of usage, so you don’t have to worry about the speaker dying off, midway through your favorite song! BALMUDA’s unique design enables the sound to travel upwards, rather than horizontally, so it doesn’t matter where you place the speaker, you’ll be able to hear your favorite tunes clearly from any angle or spot.  The 77 m full range speaker emits clear and distortion-free audio, even in large spaces!

With a retro name and a personality to match, the Xiaomi Elvis Atomic is adorably small and is styled to look like a miniature memento or trophy, rather than a Bluetooth speaker. Its design pulls inspiration from the turntable and looks like it belongs somewhere in Fallout 76, according to Mike Chua. The tiny yet powerful speaker comes in military olive green and has a speaker grille where vinyl would be. Armed with a simple on/off switch, a knob for volume control, and 7 hours of playback, this CES Innovation Award winner is cute, capable, and memorable all wrapped into one package!

Bang & Olufsen’s new $499 wireless headphones deliver a knockout blow to the Airpods Max





Some could say that these headphones really deliver a ‘Bang’ for their buck!

At $499, the B&O Beoplay HX aren’t cheap headphones. They carry the Bang & Olufsen tag (which does account for a slightly inflated price), but then again, the Beoplay HX are a solid piece of gear. They’re over-ear, active noise-canceling, have 40mm audio drivers, and come with an impressive 35-hour battery life. If you delve down into the details, they sport metallic accents too (although the body is primarily plastic), and even have a much better-looking protective case than the AirPods Max. Feature-for-feature, the Beoplay HX seem like they were designed to compete with the AirPods Max… and probably even win.

The wireless over-ear headphones have the highest battery-life in their category (with the AirPods Max falling short by 10 hours, and the Sony WH-1000XM4 by 5). They’re outfitted with ANC (active noise-canceling) on the inside, and when the feature’s switched off, the headphones last well beyond 40 hours on a single charge. The headphones come in black (with an all-white variant launching in a month), featuring a body made from recycled plastic, capped off with a radial-brushed aluminum disc. The ear-cups are made from lambskin with a memory foam interior, while the headband uses a combination of cowhide and knitted fabric… and the adjustable sliding mechanism is all-aluminum, offering low-tolerance, sleek adjustability like the AirPods Max. However, unlike the AirPods Max, the Beoplay HX are pretty traditional with their UI, with buttons on the left and right ear cup and even a touch-sensitive panel on the right side. The headphones support Bluetooth 5.1, although there’s even a 3.5mm jack if you’re a bit of a purist!

Designer: Bang & Olufsen

These sleek multifunctional headphones transform into a spiral-shaped speaker!

I love a good pair of headphones, in fact, I can’t function without my personal headphones! They’re my secret gateway from the real world, and into the world of my favorite songs and artists! I’m always on the lookout for innovative and exciting headphone designs that help me immerse myself into my own little musical realm. And during one of my headphone-seeking missions, I came across Helix by Junho Moon, and this design is as cool as it gets!

These sleek and futuristic headphones have a hidden secret – they transform into a speaker! Usually, once you’re done listening to your favorite tunes, you simply place your headphones on your desk or any other preferred spot, however, Helix’s soft headband and ball joint arm, allow you to easily twist and mold the headphones, enabling them to transform into a spiral-shaped speaker. In their speaker form, the headphones also look like a cool little sculpture, something you can place in your room, and are sure to be asked questions about! The headphones come amped with an accessible dial that allows you to control the volume, and change the songs, by lightly adjusting the dial. The dial also works perfectly when Helix is in its speaker form.

Helix is an innovative audio device that caters to all your music-hearing requirements. If you want to simply listen to music by yourself, Helix works perfectly, but if you change your mind and decide to share your tunes with the company around you, it works perfectly for that as well! In a world where our needs and demands can change any minute, multifunctional and modular products like Helix play a huge role in providing unique solutions to our unique problems – even if they are audio-based! Available in various shades like Mineral Grey, Steel Grey, and Deep Black, Helix is an uber-cool personal gadget that is portable, easy to use, and not to mention super functional!

Designer: Junho Moon

Innovative smartphone accessories that add on to and upgrade your productivity game!

Okay, I know we can all agree that the one personal gadget we absolutely cannot live without is our smartphone! As sad as it sounds, we are pretty addicted to our phones and need them to carry out a whole lot of tasks. Our daily lives would probably come to a standstill if someone confiscated all our phones. As handy, critical, and functional as phones are to us, we can always amp them up further with some useful accessories. There is a wide range of phone accessories that add to and upgrade your personal device, catering to your techy needs and requirements even more. From a pair of earbuds and its accompanying case that simply snaps onto your phone to an add-on modular camera system, we’ve curated a whole bunch of innovative and trendy designs that serve as the perfect sidekick to your precious phone!

The Snapods by Scendo are a pair of TWS Earbuds that come with a flat case that snaps right to the back of your phone. Building wonderfully on the capabilities of the MagSafe feature introduced in the latest iPhones, the Snapods make carrying earphones convenient. Just snap them to the back of your phone and you’ve got yourself a pair of earphones that are easy to store, quick to access, and hard to lose. The case’s design is inspired directly by where it’s located. Made to sit against the back of your phone, the Snapods case comes with a flat, wedge-shaped profile, making it easy to slip your phone into your pocket. The slim case doesn’t just dock the earphones, it charges them too, giving you an impressive 45 hours of playtime. The earphones match (and sometimes outperform) the AirPods in almost every category. Pop them out of the case and they instantly power on and connect to your phone using Bluetooth 5.2 technology.

The +Lens modular system by Shawn Wang relies on empowering the primary camera with add-on lenses – much like the way you snap lenses onto your DSLR. Unlike most smartphone camera-lenses, Wang’s +Lens system is both exhaustive and powerful. The system consists of four add-on lenses that come in a nice, AirPods-case-shaped box along with a holder that lets them snap right onto your iPhone 12. These lenses, apart from augmenting your iPhone’s photographic abilities, come with their own focus rings, giving you precise control over how you capture the world around you.

The PhoneSoap, as its name rightfully suggests, was designed for this exact purpose. Rather than using cleaning solvents, PhoneSoap uses UV rays to kill 99.9% of the bacteria and viruses on your phone in merely 10 minutes. PhoneSoap 3 is the smallest and most powerful product in the PhoneSoap family. Designed to be like a tanning-bed for your smartphone, the PhoneSoap 3 uses high-wavelength UV-C rays on both sides to sterilize your smartphone. Its large chamber fits phones of all sizes and even allows you to charge your phone using its internal 6500mAh battery pack! Just lock your phone and pop it into the chamber and PhoneSoap 3 runs a 10-minute cycle to deep-clean your device, entering even the tough-to-reach spots like the speaker-grilles. An LED indicator on the top tells you when the cycle is over, so you can take your phone out knowing that it’s completely clean after hours of touching hands, faces, and resting on unknown surfaces.

The CLIP is a wireless power bank designed to snap onto the back of your phone either using MagSafe (for newer iPhone models) or using an adhesive clip (for older iPhones and Android devices). In doing so, the device aligns with the smartphone’s wireless charging coil, allowing it to charge the phone’s battery on the fly, without any cables. However, the CLIP doesn’t just add an extra external battery to the back of your phone, it also adds a kickstand that can be used in both landscape and portable formats. A metal component (shaped sort of like a carabiner clip) wraps around the power-bank and can be opened out to let you prop your phone vertically or horizontally while it’s charging. Now that’s a mighty clever use of the MagSafe feature if you ask me. In fact, if you could extend the size of the power-bank and add slots to dock/charge your AirPods, this would be absolutely perfect.

Combining two of Monica Geller’s favorite things, cooking + cleaning, this neat toaster actually is a smart appliance that disinfects your phone. This conceptual toaster was designed to make disinfecting your phones a little easier and, honestly, more fun! Instead of the usual wipe down, this turns the task into a small interaction with the product that leaves you with a nice feeling instead of “I have to wipe my phone 25 times a day because there is a pandemic”. It aims to make the interaction between products and people more playful. The toaster also charges your phone while disinfecting it which is a nice way to reduce your screen time, I mean your phone is being “toasted” so you can’t take it out till it’s done! While the concept is still being developed, I assume it uses UV light to disinfect and sanitize the phone while wirelessly charging it.

The Waving Multifunctional Speaker is a perfect example of how form and function can help redefine a product’s design. The speaker isn’t just designed to act as an audio-playing device. It’s mindful of the objects and spaces associated with it. Given that wireless speakers are almost always used with smartphones, the Waving Multifunctional Speaker even doubles as a dock/stand for your mobile, allowing you to watch videos on it while the three mid-range audio drivers on the front pump sound out. The Waving Multifunctional Speaker even comes with a distinct wave-texture on its top which serves as a nifty area to rest stationery. Aware of the fact that most speakers find themselves placed on work desks, the Waving Multifunctional Speaker integrates a clever and convenient solution, allowing you to rest your pens and pencils on it while you work.

The TalkSocket looks exactly like a regular PopSocket-style phone-holder. It’s about the same size and shape, and it attaches to the back of your phone, allowing you to grip it better. However, it’s more than that… With a microphone on the inside and a nifty Echo-inspired LED ring on the outside, the TalkSocket is actually a miniature smart-speaker that allows Alexa and Google Assistant (which for the most part exist within homes) to actually be with you in your pocket wherever you go. The socket connects to and communicates directly with the Alexa or Google app on your phone. Talk to it as you would talk to a smart speaker and it instantly responds, without needing you to tap buttons or even unlock your phone. More importantly, though, it lets you override your phone’s existing voice AI for something you use every day, so if you’re more used to talking to Alexa at home (and you have all the Alexa-enabled smart-home devices configured already), you can just override the iPhone’s Siri and communicate with your favorite voice AI instead, telling it to order toilet paper for you, or shut the garage door as you leave the house.

Forget about individual speakers, you can now turn your smartphone into one, using this ceramic acoustic amplifier. Designed by Miguel Mojica, Wave Live is an acoustic amplifier that promises to pump up all your parties! At first glance, it looks like a simple decorative bowl, something you might place on your nightstand. However, once you place your smartphone in it, it translates and amplifies waves of music to create some powerful and resounding output. Featuring a surreal marble base, available in white and black, as well as in an intriguing striped pattern, the ceramic bowl showcases soft and minimal aesthetics. In fact, the amplifier even comes with a 30-day warranty! So, if you’re dissatisfied with the product, you can send it back, as long as it’s not chipped nor damaged!

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In comes the NILS, a small USB-based charging cable that was designed to be more than utilitarian. Sitting around your wrist, the NILS looks like a stylish bracelet, with its braided-leather design, but it conceals within it, a Kevlar-based charging cable. Made to be a fashion accessory with a strong functional purpose, the NILS is a bracelet when you want, and a charging cable when you need it. The USB and charger jacks dock into one another, forming a metal pendant of sorts at one end of the bracelet. Pull them apart, and the bracelet turns into a cable that you can use to either transfer data, or to juice your smartphone. Available in a variety of colors, the NILS uses vegan leather around its exterior, giving it waterproof/water resistant properties (so you could step out in the rain with your NILS bracelet and that wouldn’t be a problem). The USB buckle uses a magnetic closure to hold it in place, while the cable itself comes with a Kevlar weave, making it practically indestructible.

iQiki is a notification indicator that does exactly what it sounds like it does! It utilizes LED-based lighting to notify you of any calls, messages, emails, updates, or any other notifications that you may be receiving. You can easily place it in your pocket, clip it onto your jacket or shirt sleeve, place it on your work desk, and the 12-led based lights will notify you when you’ve received a notification! It allows you to focus on whatever you’re doing without having to consistently check your phone screen for any important updates.

Leaked AirPods 3 images show earbuds with curved stems, like in the Apple AirPods Pro

When you’re a trillion-dollar company with wildly successful products, it’s kinda difficult to keep things under wraps. With the global supply chain for Apple being spread across multiple countries and multiple continents, a leak from some rogue employee is bound to happen, and happened, it has! Images of the new AirPods 3 have been circulating on the Chinese social network Weibo, with the folks at GizmoChina even jumping on the gun to create renders that show what the third generation of the company’s consumer-grade TWS earbuds will look like.

At a first glance, the AirPods 3 look like a hybrid between the regular AirPods and the AirPods Pro. They feature the same earbud style as the AirPods, but come with a smaller, slightly angled stem, found in the pro-version. This relatively smaller design also translates to changes in the case design, which is definitely shorter and stouter, resembling the kind of case you’d get with the AirPods Pro. Apple’s slated to announce the AirPods 3 sometime this month. They officially called off their March event, but that hasn’t stopped the company from launching products along with press releases. Little is known about how the AirPods 3 will measure up in the specs/performance department, but credible leakers have mentioned that the earbuds may come with AirPods Pro-style active noise canceling.

Designer: Apple

Images via GizmoChina and LeaksApplePro

Innovative personal gadgets that promise to improve your modern millennial life!

There are certain personal gadgets that you’ll always find on my person and in my handbag! These include my personal mobile phone and my Airpods for sure. They’re the gadgets that I simply cannot live without, and they make my life better in multiple ways. I’m sure there are a few of these on your list as well, and you’re always ready to add more! Hence, we’ve curated a collection of handy and super functional personal gadgets, that promise to make your daily life easier, simpler and efficient. They’re super easy to carry around and just organize your life much more. From ergonomic earphones that double up as a jewelry piece to super-fast SSDs, this range of versatile personal gadgets will make your modern and fast life easier to manage!

Being an audiophile means you take the audio quality and ergonomic fit of your earphones pretty seriously. If you get one that is stylish too, then you are in for a jackpot. Having a pair of earbuds that come with a snug fit, boast style statement and the reassurance of not being misplaced is something you just can’t ignore. We are talking about these earphones that are designed to double up as a jewelry piece. Designed by Yibai Science & Technology from Shenzen, these are called the “Jade Culture Earphone Jue 20.” That’s a bit odd name but everything else about these conceptual wireless earbuds listed on iF Design Award 2020 is super cool. When not in use, the earbuds magnetically lock together to take the form of a necklace pendant that’s suspended by the tethering wire. Then again, when you want to listen to your favorite tunes, simply separate the pendant and get groovy. Picture this scenario – your buddy compliments, “This pendant looks so cool, bud”, and you’ll detach them and plug-in into your ears to their amazement, “It’s my pair of earbuds, mate!” Added bonus – you surely won’t lose one of the earbuds as there is no accidentally falling down- speaking to you AirPods!

Compatible with most USB-C devices, the HybridDrive offsets your need for multiple hubs, dongles, and drives. With a multiport on one end, and an SSD on another, and a USB-C interface connecting the two, the HybridDrive bridges the gap between your portable devices (laptop/tablet/phone) and your desktop – in the sense that it gives you extra ports and expandable storage… something most desktops have in common. The multiport setup comprises a 4K 60Hz HDMI port, two USB-A ports with 10Gbps data transfer, a MicroSD card reader, an SD card reader, and a USB-C which supports 100W of power output along with high-speed video and data transferring. On the other end of the HybridDrive is an SSD that comes in 4 sizes, starting from 128Gb and going all the up to a whopping 2Tb.

OPPO has teamed up with Japanese design studio nendo (founded by Oki Sato) to present a radical three-fold phone concept at the 4th China International Industrial Design Expo (CIIDE) that has this year’s theme as “New Designs, New Trends, New Momentum.” Dubbed as the slide-phone, the motive of the design is to pursue “a comfortable relationship between people and their products through a human-centric approach to design.” Adapting a caterpillar-like moniker for the folding mechanism, the concept phone unfolds to a 7-inch screen with a slim profile, that’s wider screen real estate than most we’ve seen so far. When unfolded to the first fold it reveals the 1.5-inch screen area for basic notifications or functions like music player controls, call history, or more. The second fold reveals the 3.15-inch screen space for clicking photos, video calls, or playing games. Third and the final fold reveals the full widescreen for multitasking, taking panoramic photos, or playing games with an on-screen controller on each side. It even comes with a stylus for professionals, like the one on the Galaxy Note 20 series.

The Pixel smartphone went onto redefine what a pure Android experience could look like, becoming the gold standard in the Android OS experience. James Tsai’s Google Pixel Smartwatch concept does the same for the Android Wear OS. Embodying Google’s playful-serious aesthetic, the Pixel Smartwatch concept comes in a traditional round format, and in a variety of quirkily named colors. The Android Wear OS logo displays clearly on the always-on display of the watch, transforming into a colorful set of watch hands every time you look at it to read the time. The watch comes with Google’s top-notch voice AI, all of Google’s native apps, and a heart-rate monitor on the back, which ties in well with Google’s plan of acquiring Fitbit and their entire fitness-tech ecosystem. I wouldn’t be surprised if this wearable concept were entirely waterproof too, just to fire shots at Apple!

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What’s better than one audio device? A two-in-one! No?! A three-in-one!! I’ve officially hit crazy with the Level x3 Headphones. Just like the Matryoshka dolls, these babies are one big bag of surprises. Designed to be your everything-audio solution, the Level X3 is a pair of in-ear earphones, that fit into headphones. Audio synchronization allows your headphones to continue what you were listening to on your earphones. The only way to top off that awesome idea is to step it up with the Cradle, a docking device for the headphones that not only charges them but acts as an all-in-one speaker.

A portable, wearable, air conditioner is no more a thing of futuristic TV shows. The Reon Pocket is a smartphone-controlled personal gadget that was designed to be compact and cool. It works using thermoelectric cooling and can cool the user’s body temperature by 13 degrees celsius (23 degrees Fahrenheit) and raise your temperature by about 8 degrees Celsius (about 14 degrees Fahrenheit). Reon sits on the base of your neck in a special undershirt designed for it. It uses the Peltier effect which means a temperature difference is created by applying a voltage between two electrodes connected to a sample of semiconductor material. The heat is absorbed or emitted when you pass an electrical current across a junction to either lower your temperature or increase it without bulk or noise.

One of the most common reasons for accidents on the road is people wearing headphones or earphones while they walk, ride bikes, or drive. Earphones and headphones cut out a lot of ambient noise and we often get lost in the sound which can be unsafe. Portable speakers are not something you can slip into your pocket or carry around in your hand – it is simply inconvenient. That’s when a sleek, unobtrusive, wearable speaker like the BoomBand comes into the picture to give you the best of both worlds – you don’t have to ‘carry’ it and you will still be able to hear important announcements while having your music within your reach. It has six hours of battery life (more than any wireless audio earphones or headphones can claim) so you can actually get away with forgetting your portable Bluetooth speaker at a picnic if you have the BoomBand! Tech Life has designed this personal gadget to release crisp and clear sound while keeping the form as compact as a wristwatch, you can tune it to your desired volume or raise it if you’re the DJ in your social circle. This nifty device is lightweight, comfortable, and blends with your wardrobe seamlessly.

Joel Meredith, a 22-year-old student at the University of Technology Sydney wants to radically change the way we interact with our music, making it hassle-free while being stylish. That’s his idea for an accessory good enough to go with your style quotient and still being functional. Joel calls it the Melo Ring which sits pretty on your finger, and without even lifting your arm, you can interact with your music using touch or swipe gestures via the various sensors located all over the ring. Sharing songs with other Melo Ring users is also possible with the flick of a finger on the minimalistic piece of jewelry. Not only that one can add songs to a playlist, read out song names, or change the playlist without anyone else even noticing. Being more than just an accessory that you wear every day or probably never even take it off – turning it into something functional is the main motivation for the cool idea.

Designed for speed, storage, strength, and to be the subscription-killer (I’ll explain), the ECLLPSE is poised to be the future of data storage. Simply put, the ECLLPSE is a tiny, finger-sized SSD that’s encased in a rugged, virtually unbreakable, waterproof housing. With as much as 2 Terabytes of internal storage, the ECLLPSE gives you a way to store and carry practically all your data around with you, right in your pocket. It comes with multiple adapters built right into its design, giving you the ability to connect it to ALL your devices, from your laptop to your phone, and from your DSLR to your drone, letting you seamlessly back-up, restore, and transfer files between multiple devices. Although with that much storage, comes a pretty major responsibility… transfer speed. It’s a good thing though that the ECLLPSE boasts of reading/write speeds that reach as high as 550MB/s, allowing you to transfer 8K videos in mere minutes. It also means you could use the ECLLPSE as external storage for your PS5 or Nintendo Switch and run games off it with absolutely no lag!

The WGP isn’t exactly what you’d first think of when you hear the term Smart Glasses, but that’s almost purely on Google for creating that definition. The WGP, on the other hand, are smart in the sense that they put your Truly Wireless Smart (TWS) earphones right into your spectacles’ temple-stems. Designed to be entirely modular and seamless, the stems can easily detach from the frame of the glasses and re-attach onto another pair, essentially allowing you to switch out styles without losing functionality. The WGP comes with a pretty exhaustive catalog of frame styles, from sunglasses to reading glasses, and from acetate to metal frames. Just like all glasses, they can be optimized for optical power, have the option of polarized lenses, and even anti-scratch, anti-glare, and blue-light blocking coatings. On the audio front, the WGP Smart Audio Glasses are quite like any pair of TWS earphones you’ve used. They feature a touch-sensitive surface that lets you tap to control playback, answer and reject calls, and even summon your phone’s voice assistant. There’s even a dedicated gesture to trigger WGP’s game mode, which brings audio-video latency down to as little as 50 milliseconds.