Smartwatches/Bands Technology Wearables

Colorful Miiya connects kids to physical activity

For a kids’ smartwatch to be appealing to its targeted customer base, it must accomplish a few things. On the one hand, it needs to feature all the usual technology that tracks a user’s activity, while at the same time making it fun to wear and use. The device also needs to be visually appealing enough for kids to want to wear it. Making it available in multiple colors helps.

Miiya, designed by a pair of Belgium-based brothers, has been created with those features in mind. It is being fielded in four colors: blue, orange, red and white, each featuring the same cute original Miiya character icon in a superhero cape. The smartwatch tracks the activity of its young users and they are given gold stars each day as rewards for physical activity.

A Miiya app for smartphones gives parents direct access to daily reports on their kids’ activities. The device uses Bluetooth LE to synchronize with the phones. It is already compatible with iOS (starting with the iPhone 4S) and will also be compatible with Android (expected in May) and then Windows Phone and Blackberry. The device’s “Dynamic Safety” feature enables parents to be warned if a child goes too far away from them and can indicate where the child has gone.

The Bluetooth signal range, however, is only about 200 feet. Interference can also be generated by a lot of objects, and that will reduce the signal range. The device is also waterproof and dust-resistant. Backers can buy a watch at the “super early bird” price of $75, a 40% discount off its normal price, for delivery in May. The device’s creators are looking to raise $50,000 on Indiegogo.

Miiya compares favorably to other kids’ smartwatches, including Jumpy. Miiya seems especially appealing at its $75 super early bird pricing, much less so at its regular price. Another barrier may very well be the Miiya name, which sounds uncomfortably similar to Mii, the name of the digital avatar in Nintendo’s videogame systems.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Belaycord reversible USB cable always knows which way is up

It’s easy to defend the iPhone from its critics in just about every single way imaginable… except for the charger. Think about the last time there was a pristine iPhone charger cable nearby, and it was probably when the phone was still in its box. BelayCords are fixing this problem by offering a durable charger cord with in its own sense of style and a lifetime guarantee. If that wasn’t enough, BelayCords also have a reversible USB outlet, meaning that it can be plugged in no matter which way the cable is facing. For many people, that would be cause enough to stop this write-up immediately and go buy one.

Though BelayCords were designed for the iPhone, they also have compatibility with Android, Windows, and Blackberry devices with Micro USB, meaning that even after a change of brand loyalty heart, there’s still no need to go buy a new charging cord. Designer Made In College is raising just $4,000 to make BelayCords a commercial possibility, and supporters and phone users can desperately grab one up for $30 with a November 2014 release. It bears repeating: this cord has a USB plug that can be plugged in regardless of orientation. What more is there to want in life?

Cell Phone Accessories

ALLCOM ONE pushes a rugged push-to-talk accessory for smartphones

allcomoneSmartphones seem capable of nearly any mobile application these days. Still, sometimes they are limited by their hardware design  and can wind up cumbersome instead of convenient. The ALLCOM ONE is a handheld device that can be clipped or held to enable push-to-talk walkie-talkie style communication through apps, and also function as a loudspeaker for calls or music. The ALLCOM ONE is durable, withstanding falls up to two meters, is dust-proof, and water-proof up to one meter in depth — a bit of overkill for consumers but great for public safety pros who may not need dedicated walkie-talkies. Backers who want to talk with one hand while leaving the smartphone pocketed or put away can get an ALLCOM ONE for $125 in October 2014.