Good vibrations for smart shoes

The latest wearable is from Ducere Technologies  under their brand Lechal  which apparently in Hindi translates as “take me there” or optionally “let’s go”. The company is of Indian origin, founded in 2011, and the product they describe as  interactive haptic footwear.

Originally developed for the visually impaired its wider application to joggers bikers and walkers was recognised and additional facilities including distance measurement and calorific burn have been incorporated.

In our words a smartphone app using Google maps links to sensors in the shoes/insole, via bluetooth, and having set a location the shoe will guide you there through vibrations to each of your feet at appropriate direction changes. Additional functionality is also incorporated.

Apparently they are due to start shipping in September this year at a cost of a bit over $100.

We are uncertain as to UK availability.

We’ll leave you with their video:


Sources: All Things D, Ducere Technologies and Lechal

Almost time for Google I/O 2014

The two day event starts later today at 5pm BST with the Conference Keynote and you can follow much of it live.

Possible features of the event commentators think might be:

  • Wearables
  • Glass
  • The Internet of Things
  • Updated Nexus tablet(s)
  • Android TV
  • Updated Android operating system release – what follows Kit Kat ? an unsponsored L with Lollipop favoured over Latte or Liquorice!
  • The Cloud
  • Apps, apps & more apps

Here’s an explanation of “the experiment”  by Ben Purdy  and we’ll leave you with his video.



Pressability – Something Old, Something New, Something Blue

PayPal in almost a relaunch yesterday announced not only a brand campaign – ”that puts people back in charge of their money” but also  a new brand expression/logo which they are banking on providing it with greater “pressability”!

Here is a laudably brief portrayal of their logo history.

But … it’s so much more than a new logo, as their words explain.

“The new brand expression better represents the growing needs of the mobile, real-world and online businesses that use PayPal and the company’s position as innovator. The look and feel are designed for a world moving from desktop and mobile today, to a future where almost any device can deliver payment.”

Four key elements deliver a new level of dynamism and impact designed to help PayPal better engage with consumers around the world and across devices:a stronger wordmark of the word PayPal set in modified Futura type, a new monogram of PayPal’s double Ps, more vibrant colors and a dynamic angle graphic.The wordmark and the monogram together lock up for PayPal’s new signature.

Elements used in the redesign emphasize:

  • Connection
  • Forwardness
  • PayPal’s position as a visionary company

Connection is a motivating principle behind the redesign – connection to money, to people and between people.

The font used features a softened edge to emphasize that PayPal is a human, approachable brand. While blue has always been used in the logo, new colors – a rich Indigo “Pay” blue and a vibrant “Pal” blue – were selected to look better in today’s high-definition world.

The Ps in the monogram overlap to emphasize the connection between people when they use PayPal. The Ps are designed to reflect PayPal’s progressive and innovative leadership, while providing more “pressability” in everyday use.

The other common theme of the redesign is forwardness; the words and letters remain in italic – like the former logo – to reflect a forward-looking, visionary company. Forwardness is also communicated through the dynamic angle graphic.”

The brand identity/new logo comes from fuseproject who reveal a few of their prototypes in their video!

Watch out for Wearables

Canalys see the “smart” sector of the wearable bands market growing as follows:

  • 2013 actual 1.8 million
  • 2014 forecast 8 million
  • 2015 forecast 23 million
  • 2017 forecast 45 million

The smart sector is where currently Samsung lead the way with their Galaxy Gear achieving 54.2% (that’s about 870k units) in the second half of 2013. Sony & Pebble are quite a way behind with 18.6% (300k units ish) and 16.2% (260k units ish).

The total market Canalys predict as being about 17 million this year.

Fitness bands dominate their basic segment with Fitbit leading the way.

Apple are likely to enter the fray this year with their iWatch and “Canalys expects Android to enter the smart band market soon in a meaningful way.” indicates their analyst Daniel Matte.

Next/Market Insights predicted in the second half of last year a total smartwatch market of over 300 million by 2019.

We think that they are nearer the mark and that the likely growth of the market will be phenomenal.

Apple iDevices (that’s iPods iPhones and iPads) have all sold over 50 million devices in a calendar year with the iPhone reaching over 150 million in 2013. The iPad in its 3rd calendar year sold over 25 million and last year was up at over 74 million.

So if Apple are serious, as we’re sure they are, and Google/android  continue to challenge them we think the 100 million level could be reached in the next 2 -3 years.

We shall wait and watch!

Top Price Gear at $299

Samsung yesterday launched their Smartwatch the Galaxy “Gear” at the Berlin IFA  which is sort of the European consumer electronics event equivalent to CES!

Their introduction was “… a Wearable Device to Enhance the Freedom of Mobile Communications

  • - 800 MHz processor
  • - 1.63 inch (41.4mm) Super AMOLED (320 x 320) display
  • - 36.8 x 56.6 x 11.1 mm, 73.8g dimensions / weight”

(display dimensions / weight words are our additions)

Click to enlarge

We’ve included their specification for completeness.

In our words (short form version) it requires the wearer to carry a smartphone (at launch limited to Galaxy Note 3 smartphone or the 10.1 2014 edition tablet – more to follow) has voice facilities, up to 10 apps (from a mnu of 70 ish), a camera/video, message/email warnings etc plus … a customisable watch face. It comes in six colours (Jet Black, Mocha Gray, Wild Orange, Oatmeal Beige, Rose Gold, and Lime Green) has a claimed battery life of 25 hours and should be available with their Note 3, they say, in 140 countries starting from 25 September.

Instant opinion is that it is unlikely to become a fashion item due to style limitations but will be popular in spite of the likely price , over there of $299 and an initially rumoured outrageous £299 over here – we wonder what the other 138 country prices might be!

If you want to see the, distinctly unimpressive, live launch of the product this is the BBC extract. of  the initial razzmatazz!

On a point of etiquette we wonder if it will be worn on the right or left wrist as many swipe with their left hand And arguably unless one is ambidextrous video and camera shots may be better controlled on the right. We shall see!

We’ll leave you with Engadget’s run-over which we thought was amongst the best

The Tile with a shelf life

A rather clever development, crowdfunded using Selfstarter, which has raised nearly $2.7 million from just under 50,000 backers and is now available for preorder throughout the EU & Australia/New Zealand (+ North America of course) using Amazon payments. They are due to ship winter 2013/14.

In a mix of our and their words it is basically an iOS compatible “lost and found” device which “keeps track of your stuff” via their app. It’s attachable, stickable, waterproof and has a speaker.

It uses Bluetooth 4.0 technology and its individual range is 50-150 feet but this is expandable through thetileapp community.

Ten tiles per account and the tiles last for a year + you will be informed when they are due to be retired so you can replace them with the latest versions.

$18.95 each + volume discounts and an Eu shipping charge of $14 – But just think how much they could save you both financially and timewise!

No plans for android, Blackberry or Windows Phone versions unless/until a while after they support Bluetooth 4.0. 

We’ll leave you with their promo video