Adults on board
Teens aren’t the only ones on board with smartphone and tablet technology, according to a recent online survey by The Harris Poll. About 52 percent of U.S. adults own or use smartphones, while 33 percent own or use tablets. These ownership figures rise for parents of children under 18: 69 percent own smartphones and 44 percent use tablets. Indeed, smartphone and tablet technologies are becoming a parenting tool for some: For parents with children under 18, 47 percent surveyed admitted to using a smartphone – and 44 percent a tablet – to keep their children entertained. Nearly 18 percent have used a standard mobile phone and 17 percent an eReader. About 20 percent claim to have not used any device to occupy their children. At the same time, parents with children under 18 appear to be more likely to use their smartphones or tablets for:

  • Mapping or navigation functions
  • Social media
  • Locating restaurants
  • Watching videos
  • Purchasing goods or services.

Not your loss
Tired of travel hassles? You’re not alone, according to Vanguard ID Systems, which notes that some 26 million bags go missing at airports every year. In response, the company has introduced its E-Ink based ViewTag® with a display that changes via the traveler’s phone. The tag acts like a digital license plate, allowing fliers to control the process of checking bags at home by using their cell phone through the tag’s QR Code or embedded NFC module. Fliers are notified via text message where their bags are located throughout their trip. Fully customizable to include logos and personalized artwork, the ViewTag® reportedly is created with an environmentally safe material and currently holds numerous RFID (radio-frequency identification) related patents for RFID Tags.

Smokin’ alarm
Miniature smoke alarm First Alert® Atom™ was recently named a 2013 Chicago Innovation Award winner. The alarm measures 1.5 inches in diameter and weighs less than two ounces, and is available in a number of decorative finishes.

Smart sharing
Fasetto LLC, an application developer, announced Pretty Darn Quick, its new family of patent pending applications designed to enable fast, secure file sharing across any device, anytime online or off. PDQ breaks down all manufacturer, carrier and platform file transferring walls, such that files of all sizes can be sent in seconds to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Users can share videos, pictures and files (reportedly without compromising the file quality) and send them securely in seconds across all platforms. A strong data or Internet signal is not necessary to send the file, and users do not use their data plan. PDQ also enables users to send secured transmissions, texts, phone calls, files, pictures and videos without a SIM card or Internet service.

Facebook, anytime
American smartphone users may have to wait awhile, but users in Africa can now access Facebook on any mobile phone, without Internet or data connectivity, using Facebook USSD, from Singapore-based mobile technology startup U2opia Mobile. Availability of the service with MTN Nigeria is said to have brought U2opia Mobile’s African footprint to nearly 100 percent.

Mind games
Personal Neuro Devices Inc., a developer of mobile neuro applications, has launched Neuronauts, a free online multiplayer game powered by neurofeedback. The game is designed to combine a 1950s science fiction look with modern gameplay. In addition to touch and tilt controls, the game relies on neurofeedback, with a Bluetooth headset that picks up a player’s neural activity, enabling players to control the speed and actions of their space ships with the power of their minds. Neuronauts has three gameplay modes: Solo, Local Multiplayer and Online Multiplayer. Local Multiplayer mode allows two players to compete with each other on the same mobile device, using two Bluetooth headsets. To download Neuronauts from Google Play, visit

Picture perfect
The Polaroid iM1836 Android™-powered compact interchangeable-lens smart camera, launched at CES 2013, is now available exclusively at Walmart and Amazon.com. The camera reportedly features D-SLR quality and flexibility and point-and-shoot camera technology, and allows users to share photos instantly to any social media network. The Polaroid iM1836 Android™ includes a 3.5-inch touch screen LCD display and comes standard with a 10-30mm optical zoom lens. At press time, an additional 500mm telephoto lens was expected to be available in November, and a 50mm lens was expected to be available in early 2014.

Huawei, a global information and communications technology solutions provider, announced the launch of its one-stop, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) mobile office solution. The company’s BYOD solution offers one-stop services and products for enterprise network, security and devices, as well as management platforms. It is said to facilitate flexibility and consistency among enterprise customers.

Home entertainment
Polk recently announced two new wireless speaker offerings – the Camden Square and Woodbourne – from its Heritage Collection of personal and portable audio. The Camden Square features a 24-hour battery life and DJ stream app (compatible with iOS and Android devices), which permits music to stream through the speaker from multiple sources. The DJ Stream app is free for download, and the Camden Square speaker costs $299.95. The Woodbourne, which utilizes Bluetooth® and AirPlay® capabilities, costs $699.95 and features 180 watts of wireless audio, and optical and analog inputs.

Wakeup call
Could there be a more relaxing way to start the day than to the blare of an alarm clock? Phillips believes so. The company recently introduced its Wake-up Light, designed to simulate the sunrise for a more natural wake-up experience. The Wake-up Light is available in four different models, ranging from $69.99 – $169.99. Each model can serve as a bedside lamp, with 10-20 different light settings.

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