Music Networking

Nativ networked music system boasts high fidelity, large capacity

There are so many streaming music systems on the market that it’s hard to tell many of them apart outside of the industry-leading Sonos products.

Nativ, however, is a high-resolution music system with a distinctive design that adds video streaming to the mix. It’s made up of two separate devices with audiophile components: Nativ Vita, an 11.6-inch, touchscreen music player that provides a whopping 4 TB of music storage, access to a streaming service and whole home audio; and Nativ Wave, a digital-to-analog converter that connects Vita or any other digital device to an amplifier or AV receiver. Wave comes with a headphone amp for connection to a set of headphones (not included).

Vita resembles a tablet and can also be used without Wave to stream music directly to wireless speakers and headphones. It can also be attached to a TV via HDMI or wirelessly via Google Cast to view music videos. The built-in multi-directional microphone enables voice control to tell Vita what music to play, adjust the volume or skip to the next song.


Cast lets you share your streams with your favorite cast of characters

Google Cast has become a fairly popular way to play –- or “cast” –- video content from mobile devices and computers to TVs wirelessly. After all, it enables users to watch the same content on a big-screen TV that they start viewing on a tiny smartphone screen.

Cast takes the Google Cast concept a couple of steps further, incorporating social media functionality. The new community viewing hub seamlessly connects all the devices in one’s home into one wireless video system, according to its Kickstarter campaign. The standout feature is that it allows users to live stream entertainment that they are watching on their TVs to family and friends via an app for Android and iOS smartphones or tablets, making it kind of like a reverse version of Google Cast. Therefore, if the Cast owner is streaming a movie on a TV via a Netflix account, that person could use Cast to mirror the movie on a friend’s smartphone or tablet even if that friend doesn’t have a Netflix account. That’s in theory anyway because Netflix and other service providers may raise legal objections.

Cast will ship in September 2016 at $299 — barring any delays caused by legal or other issues — although early bird backers can get one via pledges that start at $99. Its makers are out to raise $50,000 by Jan. 9.

Music Television

Electric Jukebox streaming device delivers tunes from the TV

The modern age has gotten rid of that communal feeling inherent in the jukebox, a cultural relic rarely experienced and as a result underappreciated. Nowadays, music lives on smart devices which can make the act of listening to music a singular one.

The team behind the Electric Jukebox is eager to tap into the spirit of yesteryear with their plug-and-play music streaming device. By requiring only an HDMI-enabled television and broadband connection, Electric Jukebox is hoping to make the idea of accessing absolutely any song at a moment’s notice a reality — no smartphone or laptop necessary.

Connected Objects Music

Aivvy Q streaming headphones provides the soundtrack to your life even if you lose signal

Streaming services like Spotify helped lay groundwork for the recent influx of new streaming services, including Apple’s upcoming Beats service and Jay Z’s Tidal venture. While on-demand music streaming is great and can conveniently work across a host of devices, most streaming services require an Internet connection to work, sometimes resulting in a subpar listening experience.

Aivvy Q is a wireless Bluetooth headphone set which can provide up to 40 hours of continuous music playback, all without needing an Internet connection. Touted as headphones capable of tapping into the “Internet of Things”, Aivvy Q is essentially a self-learning music player: a user can swipe its side to skip a track, tap to favorite a track, or rotate the channel ring in order to change the genre or playlist. Sensors within the product learn which tracks are preferred, thereby making sure the music being played is always relevant and enjoyable.

Displays Music

Portable Flicks lets you watch flicks, listen to music anywhere

It would be convenient when having a party if the same portable electronic device could be used to show movies and other videos, as well as listen to music wirelessly.

Flicks does exactly that, combining a Bluetooth-enabled audio system with a 720p HD LED projector in one box. Music can be streamed from a smartphone or tablet, while movies can be watched via an HDMI connection from media devices including Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast and Roku streaming sticks. The projector’s lens displays a 100-inch image at just over eight feet away. The full-color RGB LEDs provide solid image quality with strong color saturation and 700-lume brightness using Texas Instruments DLP technology.

The creators are fielding two SKUs: Flicks at $599, offering up to four hours of movie-viewing or up to 28 hours of Bluetooth music, and Flicks Range at $699, offering up to eight hours of movie-viewing or up to 56 hours of music. Its makers are hoping to raise $50,000 in funding. They will ship the product in May-June 2015.

Flicks holds great promise, especially among home owners who frequently throw parties. The alternate target audience of consumers making business presentations seems a bit more of a stretch because they likely won’t be looking for a projector that offers Bluetooth music streaming as well.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries Connected Objects

PERI Duo case is a combination battery case, wireless speaker, style statement

Bluetooth speakers have exploded on the scene and readjusted just what consumers expect from their audio companions. Although features like weight and long-lasting battery for maximum portability are on the top of the list, a dead iPhone battery will render any speaker completely useless. Luckily, the PERI Duo case solves both problems with a single, compact solution.

The case is a combination battery charger and wireless speaker that works over both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When attached, its 2500mAh battery ensures the iPod Touch or iPhone 5, 5C, or 6 is always full of juice and that the three and four watt speakers amplify any tunes a user might want to hear. When not attached, a user can stream music from the iPhone to the PERI Duo using Bluetooth, or multi-cast their audio to multiple, other speakers using the case from up to 100 feet away.

It’s slim profile is pretty attractive even if there is no iPhone 6+ nor any Android compatibility at the moment. Backers can take advantage of an early bird special of $79, a price that will rise to $99 after initial supply is sold. A successful $100,000 campaign will see the case expected to shipped in April 2015.

Automotive Input

App Your Car wireless lets you keep your hands at ten and two

For the most part, a lot of the powerful smartphone and tablet features used on a daily basis become impossible the moment people hop into a car. Solutions exist that try to connect the phone to the car but they end up providing minimal interaction, usually focusing on music and calls at the most. With or without these solutions, though, it’s always pretty dangerous to use a smart device that requires drivers to take their view off the road. Voice-controlled options have offered a hands-free approach, but even those can be limited.

To maintain a driver’s tactile connection to their smart device and keep their eyes on the road, App Your Car was created. The in-car smart device input system is compatible with both iOS and Android, and features a wireless controller and a dashboard mount. The wireless controller features buttons on its front and back that can be used to access categories of apps and maneuver through them, all the while still keeping a driver’s hands on the wheel. The dashboard mount is meant to be placed within a driver’s field of view, providing strong magnets that keep a device in place, wirelessly charging devices, and facilitating the use of Bluetooth to stream music and audio. Its companion app makes selecting apps easier. For $99, backers can obtain their own App Your Car system with an expected ship date of June 2015. The campaign is looking for $40,000.

The company behind App Your Car claim they had safety on their mind while designing the product, but it seems a bit haphazard to focus on a physical device while driving to access and move through apps. Granted, it has its uses in music playing apps and navigating through calendars, but such small type on a smart device will make it more of a hassle. The real star of the show is the dashboard mount that wirelessly charges devices, something that can be combined with the more powerful voice features of a, say, Moto X. A focus on voice rather than physical control would’ve made the product reach much farther than it does.


AirTame lets you get your mobile device onto the big screen

Streaming content from a laptop or a computer to a TV is a great way to share presentations at work or photos and video with family. Unfortunately, for many people, setting it up is still as complicated as it was to set up a projector slideshow or hook a camcorder to the TV decades ago.

AirTame takes advantage of modern technology to remove this headache quickly and easily. By simply plugging the device into a monitor’s HDMI port and using the USB cable to power it up, any computer or smartphone with the Airtame app installed can quickly stream its display to any configured Airtames nearby. This creates a combination hardware/software solution to streaming video that takes only seconds to achieve once it has been set up.

Airtame is flexible as well, in that it does not simply mirror the display, it can also be used to extend it, creating a multiple display setup in any location without installing drivers or pulling out and connecting cables. The Airtame functions over standard Wi-Fi, and works on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, and Windows phones, so there are no complex network or compatibility issues to resolve either. It’s going to take $160,000 to make Airtame a reality, and anyone that can use one can grab one for $134 in January 2015.

Airtame takes a process that should be as simple as plug-and-play and makes it just that. As long as there is a monitor with a free HDMI port and an Airtame available, using that display to share, present, or collaborate on content is a snap. This is certainly a handy tool to keep on hand no matter where it could be used.


Imaging Wearables

Get your GoPro extreme video on your wrist with the Removu P1

GoPro has established itself as the de-facto action camera brand on the market. As such, it is the first choice for many extreme sports enthusiasts. One of their most recent products, the GoPro LCD BacPac, gives users a touchscreen LCD that allows control and playback of photos and videos directly from the GoPro camera itself. The downside to this is that it isn’t happening on the fly, limiting how much control you have over the final product.

The Removu P1 addresses this problem by being a Wi-Fi mount for the GoPro BacPac, facilitating a live view from the GoPro to the device on your wrist. Since its display is also touch, it doubles as a remote control from the GoPro itself, giving you additional control over what your final video will look like. With a three hour video capacity, there’ll be a lot of decisions to make when it comes to editing, but luckily you can do so from the Removu P1 itself.

The product will no doubt be useful but those who would want something like this will probably be in the minority. The Removu P1 is currently $69 during their $30,000 campaign, with an estimated delivery date of January 2015.

Connected Objects Music

Wayit combines an app and gadget to let you listen to others’ jams

We’re in an age where sharing pretty much anything is a possibility, giving rise to an entirely new class of devices taking advantage of the technology that allows us to do so. With that in mind, Wayit is letting users share not only music playlists like other services but also exactly what they’re listening to at the moment. The iOS/Android app itself works by syncing to whatever you’re listening to at the moment, making it available to others wanting to jump into the groove with you.

Their Indiegogo campaign is not about the app, though. What Wayit is looking to do is raise $250,000 to complete the production of a companion wearable device that allows users to benefit from proximity to other Wayit users. GPS and proximity sensors would allow friends or strangers to be alerted to other users in their presence, let them listen in to their music, and even have those tunes be influenced by the emotional status of the person listening, possibly facilitating some spontaneous friendships in the process.

The device’s retail price will be $45, but for now backers can grab one for $30. And while that low price may convince some to ignore needing to buy a separate device solely for this feature, it ultimately won’t fly as an extra device on top of everything else we carry has to really be something special and Wayit isn’t that device. Backers can expect their Wayit in April of 2015.