Chargers/Batteries Music

HiFi-Skyn combination case, battery, and amplifier leaves tunes silky smooth

If high-resolution music wasn’t on anyone’s mind last year, it sure will be this year with the onslaught of products aimed directly at the seemingly growing market, like the Pono Music Player and Sprout. It’s a great idea. Who wouldn’t want music to sound its absolute best? However, audio quality requires costly equipment to get the best sound.

This is doubly true for smartphones as none have the capability to do just that, leaving music lacking oomph even with the best quality headphone connected. The HiFi-Skyn wants to outfit all those sorry iPhone 5s, 5Ss, 6s, and iPod Touch 5Gs with the proper equipment. The product is a combination polycarbonate phone case, 12-hour spare battery, and high resolution amplifier. The amplifier routes all audio through proprietary technology and turns it into a powerful, clear signal a range of headphones can really take advantage of. A switch customizes the product to certain, popular headphones on the market to make the most important thing nothing but the music.

Unfortunately, the product’s ergonomics are a bit awkward-looking. Early birds can grab the product for $199, $200 off its expected retail price. A successful $12,000 Indiegogo campaign will have the product shipped by March 2015.

Technology Wearables

Timer Smart Ring unlocks doors, phones and hearts

Fitness tends to be the main application featured in smart wearable devices. But the maker of the Timer Smart Ring is focusing on other uses for its device, including the ability to use the ring to open intelligent door locks, unlock mobile phone screens, or pass along digital business cards to other mobile phones using NFC technology.

The ring supports most intelligent door locks on the market that use 13.56 MHz, including locks made by Samsung. Users can set the ring to unlock the screen of select mobile phones, whether or not the phone already uses other unlocking systems, such as a gesture code or password. The ring is compatible with Android and Windows smartphones, but not iOS. As shown in the campaign’s somewhat corny video, the ring can also be used to make romantic connections in public places by taking advantage of the device’s NFC. The ring designed for male customers is made with titanium, while the female version is made of 18K rose gold. Its maker is looking to raise €39,000 (~$48,600). Backers who pledge €39 (~$49) will get a ring in a choice of black or white.

Unlike similar products such as the Arcus fitness ring, the Timer Smart Ring actually looks similar to a fairly standard metal ring.  That, and its reasonable price, will make it especially appealing to some male consumers who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing some of the other smart rings on the market that seem to be designed only for female users. But the device’s unmemorable, and even downright strange, name stands to make it a tough sell. An even bigger challenge, however, is its lack of iOS support.