California startup Color Tiger has a new Kickstarter campaign designed to help clean up the remote control mess on your living room table. Through its little coaster-shaped hub, the AnyMote Home (and a dedicated app), the company aims to transform your smartphone into a power-packed universal remote with access to more than 800,000 different supported devices.
Not only does AnyMote Home promise easy control of devices like your TV, stereo, and streaming device, it also offers the ability to create macros via its Smart IR Remote app that’s included for free (normally $7 through the Google Play store). For example, one could create a “Workout Mode” that, when executed, powers on your TV, flips to a fitness network, sends a favorite Spotify station to your speakers, and even sets your fan to the highest setting. If all of this sounds a bit ambitious, it’s because it is.
We were intrigued with a similar concept revealed by Flyover Innovations at CES 2014, called Blumoo. The device employs a high-powered infrared sensor and a smartphone app to control all of your home theater gear. Once we got our mitts on it, though, we found Blumoo to have significant delays in command execution, a lack of device compatibility, and other issues with its Bluetooth-based communication system. Blumoo offers many of the same features that AnyMote is touting, such as the ability to create custom macros, but in the end it didn’t quite deliver as well as we’d hoped.
AnyMote appears to go about automating and universalizing in many of the same ways. Like Blumoo, Color Tiger uses Bluetooth to command full control over infrared-controllable electronics such as TVs, Blu-ray players, amplifiers, air conditioners, and even IR-controlled power plugs. But one of the biggest differences is that the Blumoo only offered remote codes for 200,000 TVs, cable provider boxes, home audio systems, etc. AnyMote boasts more than four times that number, with a broader pool of devices.
It’s a significant advantage, but will it equal out to a device that actually works well? It’s tough to say for sure until we give it a whirl ourselves. It should also be mentioned that it appears the AnyMote is battery powered, which comes with its own headaches.
The biggest issue, however, may again come down to speed of communication as the system attempts to deliver commands to each component. Bluetooth has inherent delay, and the question as to whether it will work seamlessly enough to use is perhaps our biggest concern.
However, it’s available for just a $70 Kickstarter pledge, so it won’t be too expensive to take your own for a test drive. Color Tiger is just $3,000 short of its $50,000 Kickstarter goal with 41 days to go, so unless something drastic happens, those willing to give AnyMote a shot can expect Color Tiger to begin delivering its new device in October as planned.
Updated 9/3/2014: Blumoo informed us that its device does, in fact, allow users to create macros in order to automate customized sequences of commands for home theater devices. This article has been updated to reflect the corrected information.