Cell Phone Accessories

YankCharger prevents cellphone yanking, cord breakages

Just about anybody who regularly charges a cellphone in public places knows how annoying it can be to have their device knocked off of a table while waiting for it to finish charging. Especially when the phone winds up breaking.

The YankCharger, from a Bend, Oregon inventor solves that issue. The anti-yank charging cord has a plug built into it to limit the amount of force that can be applied to a phone charging port. The cord’s reliable connection ensures that the phone will not go flying, no matter how hard the cable is yanked on. Backers who pledge $20 will get a YankCharger with microUSB connection and those who pledge $24 will get a version with lightning connection for iPhones when the device ships in April. The expected retail price of the cord isn’t known. Its inventor is trying to raise $4,500 by Jan. 27 so that he can make a minimum order of product and get the YankCharger custom-tailored to his specifications.

The charging cord has a very narrow purpose, but one that many consumers may find appealing. It’s not clear, however, if consumers will be willing to spend more than $20 just for a cord.

Tech Accessories

Cloop is a cool clip to wrangle the tangled

In the tech world of cables that are always getting tangled, it seems like someone is always trying to come up with a better way to keep them from turning into a spaghetti-like pile. Cloop is no exception to the cable-resolution dilemma. This cord management product is made of an elastic silicon band along with two strong magnetic ends. A couple of slits in the middle of the band let the user weave their cable through the holder, which helps prevent annoying tangling. Then the magnetic ends help keep the cord wrapped for storage.

This product has some potential when placed up against some of the other cable management products out there that attempt to solve the cable conundrum because of its unique design. Curious backers may also want to check out the WrapAround, BundeZe, MagClip, and Cablestop campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $15,000 by December 18, 2014. For $10, backers get one product with an expected delivery of March 2015.

Cell Phone Accessories

How the bleep do you back up your phone?

The Premise. Even as the tools safeguarding our precious data continue to evolve,  backing up remains a headache for some and a mystery to everyone else. A few things will always stay constant: the need to backup our data, and that crushing feeling when your smartphone [insert traumatic event here] while realizing you don’t have a backup.

The Product. bleep is a hybrid smartphone cable that can charge your iOS or Android phone and back it up at the same time. By condensing the charging cable with USB storage, bleep backs up your data every single time you plug it in without affecting charge time. With the data securely stored right on the cable, you’ll be able to recover relevant data to any smartphone even after losing your own. Its physicality also allows you to do all of this even without an internet connection or computer. In addition, bleep has created a mobile app on which you can manage your backups and set your own security parameters, giving users full control over how exactly their data is protected.

The Pitch. The company’s charmingly animated video does a thorough job in clearly explaining the basic ideas behind bleep, with the only downside being the lack of an actual product in action. Bright diagrams and charts both dissecting and discussing the benefits of bleep round out the rest of the campaign, which is aiming for a $50,000 goal by October 24th, 2014.

The Perks. All bleeps come in the “Luxury Green” color and there are three capacities available. Interested backers can grab the 16GB version for $40, the 32GB version for $55, and the 64GB version for $78, along with larger packages if you have lots of clumsy friends or family.

The Potential. The bleep is an innovative take on the humble charging cable. Similar products focus solely on on-the-go charging, like Lifelink or the popular Mophie cases. bleep intelligently adds utility to the charging cable while remaining unobtrusive. It would be nice to see more color choices and there’s some legitimate concern that a cable is often easier to lose than a phone itself. But the extra premium that bleep commands seems with it in terms of convenience and piece of mind.

Tech Accessories

Miclip hangs around so mic headphone cords behave

Miclip  9bf8108f057df98aa8319d35211da4f9_large[1]There are many cord wraps out there, but they don’t all do the best job of letting you use your earbuds while keeping them partially wound to pick up the slack. That’s why there’s Miclip. The wooden or acrylic gadget attaches to the cord so you don’t lose it, and uses its natural tension to stretch it out and keep it attached. Miclip also works with cords that don’t have a mic headset. For $6 a backer gets the wooden version, or choose the acrylic for $8. Expected delivery is July 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories

KERO keeps your iPhone cable from moving around the aluminum block

KERO Cable Weight  9998a221511bfe129f2252d045740ce4_large[1] Aarrgh! There goes my iPhone cable again! Seems like those things are always falling onto the floor, flying away like a spastic snake. The good news is that Kero Cable Weight easily converts an iPhone 5 cable into a weighted doc. The  aluminum quasi-dock block has slots for the iPhone connector and its attached cord that allow the iPhone to sit upright at most any dedicated charging area and mobile work station. The iPhone Lightning cable remains anchored, docked and incapable of sailing off into the sunset — or falling onto the floor. One concern: because it is fitted so precisely to Apple cable specifications, third-party cables may not work. A pledge of $18 gets a backer a KERO Cable Weight in their choice of black or silver, with an expected delivery date of June 2014.





Cell Phone Accessories

ComboZip zips together USB cables for on-the-go charging, syncing

The Premise. People use their smart phones all day and everyday because they’re convenient. They become inconvenient when the battery dies or when the memory becomes full. Because of this, it is necessary to keep USB cables and even memory cards close at hand to avoid losing important information.

The Product. ComboZip is a bracelet with a built-in USB charger cable and microUSB cable for Android phones. The USB cable has a microSD card inside of it that allows for OTG file transfers on the Android. The bracelet looks like a giant zipper and comes in five vibrant colors: black, blue, pink, yellow and white. But the benefits of the zipper literally extends beyond aesthetics or wearable utility, enabling the cable to join source and target up 40 cm apart. The exterior of the bracelet is made with plastic silicone for a durable, splash-proof product.

The Pitch. ComboZip’s campaign kicks off with a straightforward video of the creator, Gary Lap Kei Tao, talking about what ComboZip is and how to use it. He states several times how fun and fashionable his product is,. but that probably applies only to pre-teens. The rest of the campaign shows the prototyping process, the several different ways to wear ComboZip and the materials used to create the battery-bridging bangle. Gary and his two partners (pictured in unenthusiastic photos) seek  a relatively low £2,000 after canceling a first campaign attempt seeking thrice that amount.

The Perks. For £8, early-bird backers will receive a ComboZip that has only charge/sync functions. For £10, early-bird backers get the ComboZip that has OTG file transfer capabilities. Later backers pay a little more for each version; £10 for the charge/sync ComboZip and £12 for the OTG ComboZip. Estimated delivery is currently set at April 2014.

The Potential. ComboZip makes sense for students and businesspeople who run around all the time with their phones and laptops. Sometimes, it is entirely necessary to recharge or back up important files throughout the day. ComboZip provides a way to carry around a charging/memory cable without it getting all tangled up. As a fashion statement, it’s doubtful that many will want to actually wear ComboZip because it’s a bit clunky and gaudy, though the campaign states it can easily be kept in a bag or clipped onto a backpack. Indeed, it faces plenty of competition from other compact cables such as the most stylish popcord, versatile Torso or jigsaw puzzle piece-like LifeLink as well as many commodity retractables. Younger users into colorful plastic bing may not appreciate ComboZip’s OTG file transfer feature and card reading capability, but its place on a wrist should make it worthy of a Snapchat photo from the mall food court.

Automotive Cell Phone Accessories Organization

MOS Spring, MOS Menos attack car cable chaos

editors-choiceThe Premise.  You have a cable connecting your music player to your car’s stereo.  The fear that it will somehow manage to electrocute you has become intolerable, yet you refuse to replace it because the amount of dough you’ve coughed up for aux cables has already reached unacceptable levels.  No more shall be spent on another just for it to become lost or ruined like those before it!  Just jiggle it a little, sound quality be damned!

The Product.  The MOS Spring is a high-quality audio cable meant to be a permanent replacement to all those cheap cables.  It has woven cotton­ shrouding, and a coiled metal wire where the cable meets the jack, just like you would find on a pro-grade audio cable.  The MOS Menos is a discreet base for keeping your Mos Spring cable safe and at hand.  It mounts to your car, and employs strong magnets to keep any wayward cables in check.

 The Pitch.  The combined practicality of the Spring and MOS Menos are demonstrated with a video depicting the standard cable drama: cable lost in car, guy damages cable while retrieving, guy plugs in his phone to hear music, music rendered inaudible by cable’s crappiness.  The day is saved by the Spring, with its woven cotton, anodized aluminum and electroplated steel construction, its black, red, or teal color options, and its lifetime warranty.  The MOS Menos lends its super strong neodymium magnet,  satin body, and options of permanent adhesive, or semi-permanent suction mountings to the fray. It is also worth mentioning that the MOS Menos is the scaled-down version of the original MOS, which Kickstarted in Winter ’12 and is now selling in Apple stores.

 The Perks.  The Spring and Mos Menos are slated for availability in late March ‘14.  Sold individually, they are moderately priced at 10 dollars, or a mere 15 bucks (just 11 for early backers!) for the combo.

 The Potential.  While there are other woven cables out there for as little as 99 cents, they can also range as high as $40.  Moreover, one is hard pressed to find cables that have the Spring’s coiled wire joint reinforcement.  So combined, the Mos Spring and Menos can relieve all your electrical apprehensions, musical frustrations, and organizational headaches, for what you might spend on any other decent-quality cable.  Take the Spring’s lifetime warranty into account, and you find a sound audio investment.

Cell Phone Accessories

Pocketable Torso helps your smartphone to charge, pose

The Premise. As smartphones have grown exponentially more powerful, battery life has been incapable of keeping up. Active smartphone users often have to charge their phone once or twice a day, and that means bringing a charger to wherever they need to go. The problem is, these chargers aren’t as portable as the devices they give life to.

The Product. A followup from the Portland team that delivered the similar Twig charging cable that gained over three times its funding goal, the Torso is the spork of charging devices. This all-in-one charging device is an extremely portable charging device for both iPhone and Android devices. At about the length of a thumb and the thickness of a Samsung Galaxy S4, the Torso can easily slide into your pocket discreetly with all your other essentials. The Torso also has moldable legs that allow it to double as a cord-wrapping device and triple as a tripod that props up the phone vertically. (And you’re not one of those folks who take vertical video, right?) Likely due to the thinness of the iPhone Lightning connector — which was not supported by the Twig — the iPhone version has a small grippy head to hold it steady; this reduces the flatness of the form factor somewhat.

The Pitch. The simple campaign video gets the point across straight away. It starts off by demonstrating the issue we’ve all faced with tangled cords and charging cables, and comparing that to the simplicity that the Torso provides.

The Perks. Backers can pick up the miroUSB verison of the Torso for Android and Windows Phones for $17, a 30-pin version for older iPhones and iPods at $17, and the Lightning version for $25, a bit of a premium over the relatively similar to the $19 price tag of the 0.5 meter charging cable from Apple. Shipment of the Torso to begin in April 2014 — a pretty decent bet considering the team was just a couple of weeks late delivering its first Kickstarter project to which the Torso is so similar.

The Potential. The Torso is a refreshing perspective of what used to be a one dimensional product.  There are cheaper and smaller on-the-go charging cables, but particularly for those up for a quick video chat, it’s a versatile bridge between a nearby USB port and your smartphone.