ReVault smartwatch promises wireless, wearable storage on your wrist

revault

Instead of storing your files in the cloud, an upcoming smartwatch wants to put them on your wrist.

The ReVault watch packs 32GB of storage, and connects with phones, tablets, and computers over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Users will be able to sync data to the watch from one device, and then have retrieve the data wirelessly from any other iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, or Linux device.

Of course, online storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive operate on a similar principle. The idea with ReVault is that you don’t need an Internet connection to grab your files, and don’t have to worry about the security of storing data in the cloud. (ReVault notes that only trusted devices will gain access through single- or two-factor authentication, and data is encrypted on the watch with AES-256.)

Going with a wrist-based solution does have some inherent drawbacks. You must remember to take the device with you and charge it every few days, though ReVault will support Qi Wireless charging to make that a bit simpler. And if you’re already inclined to wear another smartwatch, you’ll probably want to stuff ReVault in your pocket or wear it like a pendant with an optional neck strap.

For tech specs, ReVault is promising 32GB of storage for $199, or 128GB for $299. It has a 1.54-inch color display, Gorilla Glass 3, an accelerometer, Bluetooth 4.0, and 802.11b/g/n W-Fi. The watch case is stainless steel, and comes with a choice of tapered steel, steel mesh, or black leather bands. This is an Indiegogo project, and while estimated delivery is January 2016, these kinds of projects aren’t immune to delays ordisasters.

Why this matters: This is the kind of thing that could eventually become a smartwatch feature rather than a full-blown product. But most smartwatches these days max out at 4GB or 8GB of storage and are focused on other things besides serving up data to other devices. That makes ReVault an interesting idea for the present day—provided it becomes a real product after the crowdfunding campaign is over.

Magnetic fields make wireless charging a whole lot cooler (hands-on)

Wireless charging is one of those great technologies that’s still struggling to catch hold. A new method for charging your devices is just about ready for action.

Sometimes branded as Rezence, it uses magnetic resonance to throw a charge over a small three-dimensional space. Instead of inductive charging, where you need to place the phone or tablet directly on the pad to charge it (this is the Qi type of charging, by the way), resonance charging shoots a magnetic field up through the surface to reach your device, say a phone or wearable.

The bottom line for you: you don’t have to worry about clearing off part of your table or desk for a large charging pad. Instead, a resonance charger can be screwed or even taped underneath a surface, like a table or countertop, which means that you will be able to reclaim that space.

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How well does it work?

In the first demo (watch it in the video above), I placed a wooden block that represented a table surface on top of the plastic pad that generates charge.

Next, I placed phones and a Bluetooth device on top of that, both singly and in combination, tossing on metal objects like and paper clips and USB drives to see how that affected the charge.

Instead of the metal objects heating up as they might with an induction charger (or an induction stovetop) — or the charge stopping to keep you from handling the ultrahot metal — the devices kept on taking in current.

The second demo device converts from a flat pad into is a standup dock with a shelf to hold a tablet, in this case, one that Qualcomm made to demo this type of wireless charging. In truth, there isn’t much to these demos, but so far, so good.

It wasn’t possible in such a short time to gauge how quickly or how efficient the devices topped up, but Qualcomm says the charging rate should be comparable to a standard charger, though slower than its QuickCharge technology.

How it works

How does it all work? This type of charging, which relies on the A4WP standard of specification for wireless charging, generates a magnetic field using and antenna and coils found in both the charging station and the device. Ferrite shielding directs the magnetic field back into resonator (the antenna).

It isn’t just enough to create the charging field, though. You have to “tune” the resonator surface to make sure that it reaches far enough above to surface to power the device through a tabletop. The average conference room table is between 25 and 40 millimeters, says Qualcomm’s Mark Hunsicker, senior director of wireless power solutions.

Your device may already have it inside

Two things need to happen for this to work on your tablet or phone. First, you’ll have to install or be near a wireless charging pad of this sort. Second, the device-maker or case-maker would have to embed the right hardware, including a chip like Qualcomm’s.

The good news is that Qualcomm is already integrating magnetic resonance charging capabilities — which it calls WiPower — into its chips, like the Snapdragon 810 processor that’s found inside the LG G Flex 2. Since WiPower is a technology that Qualcomm licenses, your device won’t automatically access WiPower; it’s something hardware-makers have to turn on.

TVs and furniture too, and coming soon

The WiPower charging I demoed isn’t only coming to mobile electronics, Qualcomm’s Hunsicker said. It’s also suited to consumer electronics like cameras, tabletop lamps and bluetooth speakers. Imagine a wall-mounted TV that’s cable-free because it draws power wirelessly, and armchair furniture that contains a surface for charging up your devices as soon as you lay them down by your side.

Magnetic resonance charging like this is on track to surface in the second half of 2015.

 

 

Samsung adds Spotify Connect support to Shape Wireless speakers

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Samsung and Spotify have teamed up to make its easy for users to listen to Spotify on Samsung speakers. The latest partnership will let more than 10 million premium Spotify users control their Samsung Shape wireless audio-multiroom speakers straight from the Spotify app.

Shape users will be able to use the native Spotify app instead of the Shape app, to queue up and play songs. In addition, users can also use the Spotify Connect feature to stream music to two or more Samsung speakers simultaneously. Samsung’s wireless audio multi room speakers can be used either standalone or with other Samsung devices including TVs, soundbars or Blu-Ray players via Wi-Fi.

“We are excited to bring Spotify’s premium streaming music service to our Wireless Audio Multiroom ecosystem. It gives our customers more options to connect to and customize their favorite music taking the listening experience to the next level.”

said Eric Jung, vice president of the visual display business at Samsung Electronics.

Launched in 2013, the speakers from Samsung such as Shape M7 and Shape M5 will get the Spotify control with the latest collaboration. The speakers are controlled from a downloadable app and facilitated through easy plug-and-play installation.

Broadcom introduces BCM59350 multi-standard wireless charging chipset for smartphones

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Broadcom has announced BCM59350, a high performance wireless charging power management unit (PMU) with support for all three leading standards organizations including the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP), Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). This has a unique Broadcom design that enables multiple devices with different power requirements such as tablets, smartphones or a smartwatch charge at the same time, without the trouble of accurate positioning or alignment.

Highlights of Broadcom BCM59350 multi-standard wireless charging SoC

  • Efficient – Up to 88 percent AC to DC efficiency
  • High Performance – Supports up to 7.5W for faster charge time than standard USB and wall chargers
  • Boost Mode – Broadcom ensures charging performance with 50 percent less voltage
  • Support for automatic selection between standards and single mode operation
  • NFC Coexistence – Broadcom’s wireless charging design ensures acceptable NFC performance
  • Implementation Flexibility – Can be designed in a smartphone motherboard or battery cover
  • Small PCB Footprint – Broadcom’s design supports multi-standards in the same size as a single standard solution
  • Low Cost – Broadcom’s solution has a minimum bill of materials cost with no external active components, excluding WICED Smart

The Broadcom BCM59350 wireless charging smartphone power management unit is now in sampling stage with select OEMs. It is not clear when we can expect smartphones with this new wireless charging chipset.

Sony Xperia Z2 Wireless Charging Cover and Charging Plate WCH10 announced

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Sony launched the Xperia Z2 in India recently that comes with a free flip cover. Today, the company hasannounced two new wireless charging accessories, the Wireless Charging Cover WCR12 and Wireless Charging Plate WCH10 that lets users charge Xperia Z2 wirelessly. The Charging cover also acts as a protective cover and a stand that offers variable viewing angle for viewing videos comfortably.

It is made of premium PU leather and offers a premium look and feel. It is compatible with any Qi certified wireless charging plate that would use electromagnetic induction. The charging cover comes in both Black and White variants.

The Sony Wireless Charging Plate WCH10 would be more suitable with the charging cover. It offers output of 5W to charge the phone quickly. It also has a light indicator that blinks when the phone is charging and a steady white light indicates you when your phone is fully charged. Since it weighs just 51 grams, it is easy to carry.

Sony has not announced the global roll out for these new accessories yet. But both Clove UK andMobilefun are talking pre-orders for these accessories priced at 69.99 GBP and 39.99 GBP respectively.