Will Luton’s Pixel Miner is a Mobile Game so Mobile, You Can’t Play it on a Phone, but on Pebble

Will Luton’s Pixel Miner is a Mobile Game so Mobile, You Can’t Play it on a Phone, but on Pebble

Jul 7, 2014

Taking out a phone to play a mobile game? That’s so 2013. Playing a game on your smartwatch? Now that’s the future. Mobile gaming industry veteran Will Luton has released Pixel Miner for the Pebble watch. Help a miner dig as far as possible, interacting with him on your watch occasionally to help him get better mining equipment and dig for glory! The game can be installed on the Pebble from the Pebble app for Android. Also read this piece on the game and Will Luton from PGbiz.

KickStarter Spotlight: Vachen

KickStarter Spotlight: Vachen

May 15, 2013

One of the next big (or small) things in tech is bound to be smart watches, and all thanks can be directed toward the KickStarter darling; the Pebble ePaper Watch. With rumors of Apple and others stepping into the ring this is one product category that is bound to get serious. As is usually the case, small developers are a step ahead of their larger, corporate counterparts and a slew of smart watches are starting to appear across the internet. Pebble set the look with its big, friendly design and ePaper display and it was only a matter of time before a higher end, fashion oriented competitor emerged. Correctly assuming that the most stylish members of society would probably be repulsed by adorning their wrists with a hunk of plastic, Won Rhee of San Ramon, California has come out with the first smart watch that looks more like a Breitling than a Medical Alert bracelet.

The watch, named Vachen, breathes class in its KickStarter video, promo photos, and quality of construction materials. This is definitely a watch for that lawyer uncle that already has a tie for every occasion and a head cover for every club. But, moving past the varied, and classic visuals; when looking at the Vachen’s software it is obvious that it has borrowed heavily from Apple’s older square iPod Nano in making each icon big and leaving the screen as clutter-free as possible. The main draw here, unlike with Pebble, is that Vachen is supposed to be a watch first and foremost, albeit a watch that can change faces at a beckoning tap. This is to ensure that no matter what situation the wearer finds themselves in their watch will always look appropriate and aptly accent any outfit. Behind the watch face, however, is a plethora of pre-installed apps that display notifications from a connected phone, a stop watch and alarm, and even a compass.

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Like most smart products nowadays there will be an open app store which means that the uses for the Vachen smart watch are practically limitless. It might not be in everyones budget but I have no doubt that a consumer niche does exist and they will surely be enough to make this a successful product for years to come, and it will be interesting to see if Vachen can grow their brand to rival established fashion juggernauts.

Kickstarter-Funded Pebble Watch Starts Shipping; Android App Now Available

Kickstarter-Funded Pebble Watch Starts Shipping; Android App Now Available

Jan 24, 2013

Remember Pebble, the e-ink watch that could interface with a smartphone that got over $10 million in funding on Kickstarter? Well, it’s taken a while – the extraordinary demand caused supply chain issues – but the watches are finally shipping out and the Android app that can be used to control them is now available. The app allows for many aspects of the Pebble watch to be controlled. The custom watch faces that are part of the Pebble’s unique feature set and can provide extra functionality can be downloaded and installed through the app. Software updates for the Pebble itself can also be installed here. It can also be used to test the Pebble by sending test messages and providing troubleshooting. The SDK is available for developers who want their apps to interface with Pebble, which communicates with the phone over Bluetooth. The app is available now, and Kickstarter backers are starting to receive the first wave of Pebble watches.

KickStarter Spotlight: Podprop

KickStarter Spotlight: Podprop

May 2, 2012

One often mocked feature of my HTC EVO 4G is its convenient kickstand. People just love to comment on that flimsy piece of plastic that allows me to prop my phone precariously on its side calling it ‘excessive’ and ‘worthless’. However, for the few times I watch movies or display clocks, (such as the previously reviewed DoubleTwist Alarm) the ability to stand my phone on its side is an overlooked convenience. Most phones, however, do not come with this inherent feature, and for those who read from them at night or just want to keep notifications in view at a desk are left wanting. A recent KickStarter project has an almost stupidly simple design that delivers a consistent and flexible hold for basically any device while still allowing for charging. Podprop is a stand for any electronic device, be it an tiny iPod Nano to a gargantuan PSP and anything in-between.

Made out of a durable polyurethane foam this stand can be placed on any surface, flat or not. The stand has two grooves in its central well to allow for portrait and landscape display, and it is encased in a durable vinyl coating that firmly grabs onto anything that does not fit in the well; allowing for viewing at any angle and greater device compatibility. At the bottom of the well is a hole that allows chargers and cords to be inserted through a small channel that runs along the base so the Podprop stays flat on the ground even while charging.

The Podprop is debuting in four colors and will be exclusively be made in America. A bonus for fans of a previous blog post about the Pebble E-Paper watch; the Podprop was specially designed with that product in mind. So, help give the Podprop a chance, retailing for around $15 this is a cheap buy that is only possible with the aide of the internet.

Kickstarter Spotlight: Pebble

Kickstarter Spotlight: Pebble

Apr 18, 2012

Unlike most of the past Kickstarter projects that we have featured here on Android Rundown, the amazing Pebble watch is in no way in need of more financial support. In fact, if the project closed today, the Palo-Alto-based Pebble Technology would be awarded nearly $3.5 million more than their initial goal. The more astounding part is that this is merely just the beginning; the project still has almost a month remaining. It little less than a week, the Pebble watch has become the highest ever earning project on Kickstarter. To be fair, it helps that Pebble already has a working model in the wild for BlackBerry which has built a solid fan base with plenty of envious friends just waiting for the inevitable announcement of a model for Android and iOS.

For those who aren’t aware and don’t feel like reading the Kickstarter project page; Pebble is a watch that, through bluetooth, connects to any Android or iPhone and can be customized through downloadable apps that do anything from controlling music to display pace data for that morning jog. The advantage is that instead of reaching for a phone, all this information is instantly available at a glade on the user’s wrist. This is huge for runners and bikers, because instead of fumbling around for a phone and fidgeting with unlocking it a quick glance at the wrist displays time elapsed, distance travelled, and average speed. Also, other features that one would expect such as text message and email alerts and previews as well as caller ID. I know personally caller ID on my watch would be an amazing luxury because I am constantly leaving my phone is different rooms and missing calls because of it. Unfortunately, this leaves no excuse for not picking up the phone.

In my opinion, Pebble’s most necessary and valuable feature might also be its most overlooked. The screen is a technology called E-Paper which is a black and white e-ink style display meaning that it is fully readable in direct sunlight, just as what is used on e-readers. This means that even on a sunny day text messages are clear and readable, which is not always the case with fingerprint-caked smartphone screens. As if there needs to be more good news, an SDK is already available; user-generated content, as shown before, is never a bad thing. For any users of the great website ifttt.com, the Pebble watch also supports those notifications and alerts.

Even though the Pebble watch won’t be going on sale for a while and the $150 price tag may be a little steep (though by supporting the Kickstarter, the watch can be had for less), there appears to be no shortage of deserved hype and excitement for this amazing little watch.