Shanghai now has its very own MWC, so we hopped over to see what it was all about.
Guess what! We came across quite a few nifty little doodads that we hope will soon make their way over to India.
Wireless speakers might be the best thing to happen to music in quite a while. And the Bento takes things further with what can only be described as a ‘wireless-less’ connection. Place your phone on the top tray, push play and let its electromagnetic induction sensors and passive bass radiators work their magic. Yup, no Bluetooth required – the Bento takes the sound from your speakers and pumps it up.
The iRist is a standalone device – you can tether it to your phone via Bluetooth, but there's no need to. That's 'cos it has a 3G SIM facility built in. Make calls, send emails and even browse the web on the iRist. As for the hardware, you get a 1.5in, 240x240 IPS display with sapphire glass, a dual core processor, 512MB RAM and 4GB storage (expandable by 32GB). You also get IP65 water resistance (in effect, rain proof), Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi and a 5MP camera. Wish you were a suave secret agent? This is what you need.
Fitness trackers are old hat. So what’s next? The chaps behind the FitKat Ultimo think they’ve hit upon it. The Ultimo includes the usual step counting and sleep tracking, but adds in a few new features – an SOS alarm, water consumption tracking and a pill reminder that alerts you when it’s time to take your medication. Frankly, that actually makes so much sense, we’re surprised no one thought of adding it earlier.
Air pollution’s a drag, man. All those decrepit old trucks, spewing black smoke that leaves you with nasty allergies – it’s enough to make you want to up sticks and head for the hills. But we’re made of sterner stuff. That’s why we’d like to get one of these. Place the Foobot in your room and it monitors a number of air quality parameters – from particulate matter and carbon monoxide to humidity and scary organic compounds. So now we’ll know when to bust out those Army surplus gas masks.
High-res LCD screens, gorgeous as they are, gulp down power like a competitive eater at a buffet. That’s where the InkCase comes in. It adds an eInk display to your iPhone, giving you a second screen that sips power like a dieter presented with a meal he hates anyway. Receive notifications, check news and weather updates, and read eBooks over Bluetooth 4.0 – all without turning on that greedy IPS screen of your phone!
“There’s a tracker for that” seemed to be the mantra for MWC Shanghai. Case in point: the Oaxis Vita smart bottle. It’ll alert you via a smartphone app when it’s time for your next sip. And it even has a display showing the water temperature. Okay, we realise it makes a lot of sense, if you think about it. And we’re also wondering if the Vita works with beer as well? Can’t wait to find out...
The biggest drawback of wearing an activity tracker is that it probably looks as dull as a rainy Monday. Either that, or it makes you look like an Olympic athlete who’s been slacking off on his training. If you’re with us on this, you might like the ZeBracelet2. With curvy-yet-sleek looks, this is one tasty tracker indeed. But it’s no mere pretty face: You get all the features you could want – sleep and step tracking, notifications, health goals, reminders and alerts...
United Object Smart Beam Laser Projector
Pocket-sized projectors are one of those things that seem better on paper than in the flesh. Until now. The United Object Smart Beam Laser projector uses laser diodes for powering a 720p, 60 lumens display over a wireless connection – AirPlay, DLNA and Miracast are supported. A 4200mAh battery gives you 2 hours of screen time, and the itsy-bitsy form factor means you can easily tuck it into your laptop bag.
XYZ Printing da Vinci Jr
Want to try your hand at the brave new world of 3D printing, but have all the technical ability of a 14th-century monk? The da Vinci Jr might be what you need. It’s as plug-and-play as can be – no need to waste time calibrating or cleaning it. All you have to do is load it up, connect it to your PC and start printing away coasters for your new bachelor pad.
WhiteLynx Encrypted Headset
The pesky spooks at the NSA will never figure out your plans for the big date over the weekend as long as you’re using WhiteLynx’s Bluetooth headsets. Get a pair of these and revel in the fact that hardware, military-grade encryption keeps your communications a complete secret – and you can also send photos and other files securely using the app. Neat. Now all you need is a black suit and dark shades to walk around like a secret service operative.
This global roaming chat-only SIM lets you stay in touch with friends and family back home even when you’re backpacking through Peru. Apps supported include BBM, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Tango... €10 a year gets you unlimited chatting. Or you could always upgrade to the €25 a year plan that lets you make VoiP calls as well.