I get hundreds of pitches for new gadgets. Only a few really surprise me. Following are the newest and most interesting smartphone accessories I’ve come across recently. I’m not advocating you run out to buy them, but these are smart iterations and signs of what’s to come.
The ChargeCard $25
If you own a smartphone, you have had power anxiety: Will you make it through the day? Did you remember to bring a charging cable? The ChargeCard from BiteMyApple can help; it is an Android and iPhone (4&5) charger that fits in your wallet. It is a tiny bit thicker than a regular credit card but it handily fits in even the thinnest billfolds. One end plugs into your phone’s power port and the other goes into a USB outlet. May new cars have USB ports for power and so do computers, but if you want to plug into a socket, you’ll need a USB AC adapter.
Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Bluetooth Speaker $149
Music in the shower: it’s nice. The Moxie Bluetooth Showerhead speaker makes it very 2013. The showerhead screws onto your spigot just as any showerhead would. You charge the speaker, pair it with your phone, fire up a playlist, and then place it into the showerhead. It is fully waterproof, and when you turn on the water, the sound quality is surprisingly good. The volume is adequately loud and the acoustics of the shower make it even better. While creating a musical experience for your relatively short shower may seem over-the-top, I actually used it more to stream podcasts while I put on makeup and got dressed – kinda like a radio in the bathroom, but much more personalized content and better quality when you are actually in the shower.
[Related: How Waterproof Are Your Gadgets?]
What if you could control all of the AA battery-operated devices in your home from your smartphone? That’s the premise of the Tethercell. It’s a AA battery housing that fits over a AAA battery. Put this in place of one of the AA batteries in any AA battery-powered device, and then connect that device to an app on your phone. The use-case I imagine is inspired by my kids. Remote controlled toys keep appearing in our home. I don’t buy them (I hate them), but the kids love them, so (thanks, grandparents) they seem to miraculously materialize. The kids often (always) leave the power on, and while that offends my environmental tendencies, the real problem is that I have occasionally (often) been woken in the night to the sound of Elmo on a laughing rant or a transformer shrieking with all it’s mech-rage. With the Tethercell, I could turn them all off with the swipe of my finger. You can also create a rule where they automatically turn off each night at 7 pm. You only need one Tethercell case per device no matter how many batteries it takes.
Viiiiva Smartphone Heart rate Monitor $79
I’ve used a Timex heart rate monitor strap and watch for years. It tracks my workouts to tell me how hard I’m pushing and how many calories I’m burning. But the watch is not a great tool for tracking my metrics and analyzing them over a long period of time. Garmin and others make heart rate monitors that tie into armbands that connect to your computer and upload data. But that mandates the extra step of actually connecting the device to your computer when you get home. So the heart rate monitor that ties directly into your smartphone is a winner for me. I always run with my phone (for safety, plus it has all my music), so having an app on there that tracks my distance heart rate and calories burned makes sense. The app for the Viiiiva is still a little klugy – it pegged my 30-minute run as burning 2000 calories (I wish; “Hello, Ben & Jerry’s”), but it also ties into other fitness apps like Runkeeper, which may handle the calorie algorithm a little more conservatively (“Hello, Salad bar”).
[Related: How to Lose Weight Playing Video Games]
This review is completely independent and editorial. It is based on personal opinion and is not a paid advertisement.