Top 10 Best Appcessories
An Appcessory is the coming together of a mobile Application with a hardware accessory; commonly utilising the power of wireless technology such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to create innovative new ways of interacting with technology, improved user experience, and even Smarter use of energy to cut down on your bills. An Appcessory can be anything: from a remote controlled toy to a state of the art Wireless Sound System; a micro-sensor laden wearable fitness tracker to a Smart Thermostat. Here we bring you our round-up (in no particular order) of the Top 10 best appcessories for 2014
The thought of a Smart Thermostat might not have an immediate appeal for some readers but Nest is one of the smartest manufacturers of Appcessory products to emerge (so Smart it prompted Google to acquire the company at the start of this year for $3.2 Billion in cash with free reign and undisclosed fund to take their innovations to the next level). The brainchild of ex-Apple executive, Tony Fadell (who played an integral role in development of the iPod and iPhone), the Nest Learning Thermostat is a blend of minimalist, functional, stylish design and intuitive performance. Control heating by turning the dial up or down, and over the course of just a few days the Thermostat will learn your habits and start to programme itself automatically for more efficient use of your energy, and up to a 20% saving on your annual bills (according to Nest). Unfortunately, availability is currently limited to the US with no concrete date set for UK release so there’s no guarantee it will even be available this year. However, for those not prepared to wait there are a few alternatives currently available with Tado the top of the current crop.
How best to describe Sphero? It’s essentially a very smart robotic ball that pairs with your Smartphone or tablet for seemingly endless amount of entertainment. Use the controls to race sphero about like a ball shaped remote controlled car; let it play with pets (the blab la shell is ba;d hbfjhb so is even safe to use in the water. There are also a variety of something apps you can download for multiplayer games with Sphero.
It might not be able to compete in terms of spec when compared to Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch, or even Sony’s SW2 but Pebble is by far the best Smartwatch available. Offering a significantly longer battery life, it excels in its simplicity; acting as an intuitive companion to your Smartphone or iPhone (another bonus is the Pebble Smartwatch works with both). And with Pebble’s recently launched app-store making it easier to find compatible apps and expand its functionality. If you’re interested in the concept of a Smartwatch then Pebble is easily the most affordable and most rewarding choice to go for.
A must-have for all budding iphoneographers, instagramers, and general amateur photography enthusiasts; the Ollo-clip is the ultimate clip-on lens adaptor for your iPhone. A discreet 4-in1 lens that can be easily carried about in your pocket, and gives you convenient access to a choice of : Wide Angle, Fish-Eye, and two Macro lenses for even more creative shots. Just take a look at some of the amazing images that have been uploaded to Flickr by Olloclip users.
Sonos Play 1 Wireless Speaker
It may be small (and the cheapest Sonos speaker available) but the Play 1 offers exceptional sound quality that has seen them rack up glowing reviews from happy owners, and praiseworthy comments from the online community. Whilst there are now a number of available speakers that can be paired with and controlled by your phone or tablet, Sonos offers more than that (though just offering you the chance to stream music via the App from more or less any source, Sonos, have made good quality speakers.
Jawbone Up 24
The Samsung Gear Fit might knock it off the top spot when it’s released next month, however, the price is yet to be confirmed and at time of writing the Jawbone UP is our top choice for anyone with a penchant for keeping fit. Last year saw a wave of wearable fitness trackers come onto the market, and this year is likely to see even more brands jump on the bandwagon such as LG, Sony, and the much rumoured Apple iWatch. However, Jawbone are already onto their second and the UP24 is a marked improvement on their first, offering wireless synchronisation and now available for Android as well.
For that retro gaming experience and a neat way to decorate your home, the iCade is an ideal solution. It might be a bit of a novelty but for those who use to while away the hours of their youth in the arcade; it is likely to bring a welcome dose of nostalgia. You can read our review of the iCade here.
Philips Hue are part of the whole Smart Home movement in a vein similar to Nest aimed at improving energy efficiency and convenience. At £180 for the starter kit (which only comes with three bulbs) it is quite a lot to shell out for a lighting system; but when you consider that LEDs are the most energy-efficient lightbulbs, which can add up to real savings over the course of as little as a year. Why not use an energy saving calculator to find out how much you could save by making the switch to LED?
There has been a lot of focus on the potential for Smart technology to drive improvements in not only our health but also in healthcare. The Scanadu Scout is one such device; a sleek portable scanner packed with sensors so that anyone can check and record important physiological data easily; helping you to spot potential side effects of current medication, and relevant changes to your health that could prove useful to your Doctor in catching potential problems early. With Google working on a contact lens that can monitor glucose levels in the tears of diabetes sufferers, this is just glimpse at the potential applications of technology in the years to come.
Consisting of a bedside unit, an under the mattress sensor, and mobile application; the Withings Aura is a Smart sleep monitor, which not only records data but uses it to provide light and sound that will improve the quality of your sleep. The multicoloured LED light on the bedside device will emit a warm red or orange glow to induce melatonin (the chemical that regulates sleep) and transitions to a cool blue by the time you wake up; whilst the sounds mimic your circadian rhythm helping you to soothe and relax when drifting off and stimulate your senses upon waking. No final word on the price yet but then you can’t put a price on a good night’s sleep.