We covered the Qblinks – an unusual smartphone remote control, notification, and alarm key fob device – during the summer last year. However, it never saw the light of day, and has since been redesigned and relaunched as the Qmote, a product now available on Kickstarter. The new version has been given a flash body, some additional features, and a lower price, but at the expense of the notification element.
The Qmote is at its heart, a Bluetooth remote control for your Android or iOS smartphone. The body is a big button, which can have up to 11 different functions programmed into it, ready to activate various features on your phone. For example, it can be used to control music playback, act as the camera’s shutter release, activate apps, or to turn on a find-my-phone alarm system.
Each function can have its own combination of button presses and holds specified, all of which are configured through an app. Additionally, the Qmote works with IFTTT, so recipes can be cooked up to control aspects of your smart home, or more complex functions on your phone.
Made from brushed aluminum, the Qmote is water resistant and has a coin-cell battery inside which should be good for a year’s worth of use. No, the notification feature isn’t included anymore, but the company is promising firmware updates to add new features over the year.
The Qmote may have lost a feature, but the price has been dropped to a more sensible $15 if you catch the early bird offer, or $19 if you miss it. You can pay more for multiple Qmotes, or to add a laser engraved message on to the body. The Qmote’s on Kickstarter now with a target of $20,000, which it has until early March to reach.
CONTINUE TO PAGE TWO FOR OUR COVERAGE OF THE ORIGINAL QBLINKS DEVICE
At first glance, the Qblinks looks like a posh remote control for opening a garage door, but don’t pass this little accessory by, because it’s a lot more clever than that. Described as a cloud-linked remote control for your smartphone, it has the potential to replace your smartwatch, while adding in the convenience – and geeky credibility – of IFTTT-style functionality.
At its most basic, the Qblinks connects to your iPhone using Bluetooth 4.0, when it can be used as a remote control. A press of the big, friendly button will activate the camera’s shutter release, bring up Siri, or change tracks in the music player. Like other similar looking gadgets, the Qblinks can be used to locate a mislaid phone, and will prompt the device to ring even in silent mode.
Things get more interesting when we move on to notifications. The button on the front of the Qblinks will light up to announce the arrival of a new message or an incoming call, and by using the QBlinks Cloud service, it can be customized to help you understand which app requires your attention. Think of it like using IFTTT’s formulas, and you’re on the right track. For example, different colors and varying flashes can be assigned to particular apps, so you don’t have to check your phone each time a notification arrives.
Ambient temperature sensor
Additionally, the Qblinks Cloud can alert other Qblinks users to your status after a certain action, such as sending a flashing alert to the Qblinks remote at home when your phone disconnects from the one at work. It’s even possible to directly “ping” another Qblinks remote as a reminder to get in touch. The company behind Qblinks says there are many other combinations and possibilities for using Qblinks Cloud, and more will be added in the future.
Finally, the little device can measure the ambient temperature, and it’ll store the result on Google Drive, tweet it out, or even add it to a global map.
Qblinks are available through a Kickstarter campaign right now, and the company is quick to point out it’s using the crowd funding website as a pre-order system only, due to the project already being funded and ready to go. A single Qblink costs $35, a pair costs $50, $100 bags you three, and $125 gets you four. For $150, you get five. The Kickstarter campaign launched this week, and must reach $35,000 to be successful.
Article first published 07-22-2014
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