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The Battle for Wireless Charging is Over and the Winner is Qi

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Wireless Power Consortium Qi StandardIt’s always a pleasure to speak with John at the Wireless Power Consortium booth and see the advancements that Qi wireless technology is making year over year. We’ve been fond of this technology from the very beginning and it’s been great watching it take off right in front of our eyes.

The consortium is proud to say that Qi has now been adopted into the mainstream of technology. It’s available in hotel rooms and lobbies worldwide, as well as fast food restaurants and stadiums. Consumer adoption has been quite impressive with over 60 million new users per year and over 200 million phones in the last 12 months that include wireless charging. There are many new players coming into the market with over 900 registered products for numerous different applications.

One of the most impressive areas of growth has been in the auto industry. The number of cars with wireless technology went from 15 last year to over 60 currently. Most major car companies have included Qi wireless charging as either standard equipment or as an option. This technology in vehicles has almost limitless possibilities. We look forward to the day that we adjust our personal settings in the Qi app and when we enter our vehicle and insert our phone into the charging station, everything gets automatically set to our preferences, such as seat position, lighting, music and so much more. We can also be automatically connected to the most important features on our phones without removing them from the charger through either the car’s steering wheel or via voice command. It’s so exciting to know that this type of synergy exists between our phones and our electronics with bigger and better applications on the horizon.

Check out some of our favorite Qi Wireless products at Amazon.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

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A Safe, Simple and Inexpensive Smart Home System

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Merkury Innovations GeeniSmart home systems have taken the country by storm, and every year there are more and more companies entering the arena. It gets to the point that you start to feel that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But Geeni by Merkury Innovations made us do a double take for sure.

Their smart home components are much simpler to use and compared to most other systems out there as they do not require hubs and they don’t break the bank. They are the perfect way to enter into this type of technology. You can get started with one or a few of pieces or you can build an entire system for your home. Either way, you access the components via one easy to use app and control everything from your smartphone or even with the Amazon Echo.

The product line starts with single wall plugs that fit into your standard wall outlets that allow you to turn your existing appliances on/off remotely. There are also surge protectors that allow each plug to be controlled independently. All you have to do is plug these in and they will quickly and automatically connect to your home’s Wi-Fi and be available on the app. Next up are the line of smart lights that have all of the energy saving features of current LED bulbs with the added bonus of smart connectivity through the app. The bulbs range in size to easily replace all of the bulbs that you currently use and come in white or fun changeable colors.

Another amazing addition is the line of home security cameras. Color choices are white and grey and come in both 720P or 1080P High Definition models that all record to SD cards. Monitoring is a breeze with the sharp and clear images. You’ll also get alerts to your phone whenever any motion is captured on the cameras. You can access the Geeni app and live stream whatever is happening in the home at any time of the day or night. And you can set the sensitivity to fit the specific needs of your household. The app offers snapshots on a timeline so you can easily choose the scenes that you want to watch without having to sort through hours of footage. Set up is easy as well. You can place cameras anywhere in a room: flat surfaces, the wall, or even the ceiling. Multiple cameras can be added and they will all work together on the same Geeni app.

We’re really excited to see where this company goes from here. The products will begin rolling out at the end of the 1st quarter with some coming in the 2nd. Prices for the light bulbs range from $25 to $35, the plugs range from $25 to $20 and the cameras start at $69.99. To get more information and to purchase, visit their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
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Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
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Make Your Home More Awesome with Griffin

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Griffin TechnologiesGriffin is widely known for their lines of cases, cables, adapters and mounts for Apple and Samsung smart devices. We love their style and the many conveniences that they offer. We also rely upon their quality and look forward to new additions to the product lines. Their latest tech, however, is not so much about them just supporting our smart devices. It’s more about them diving right into the tech itself and in a really interesting way.

Introducing Griffin Home, a new line of smart, app powered appliances that are designed to help simplify and enhance our everyday routines. We can all use a little extra help to make our mornings run a more smoothly, especially those of us with very active families. And we all have our own preferences that so many times do not match the preference of anyone in the house. That’s where Griffin is coming onto the scene. Their new app is designed to not only remember everyone’s specific preferences but also assist in the follow through.

The most impressive piece in the lineup is their Connected Mirror. This item will make a great addition to anybody’s morning. It has a digital display built in and will offer information that can help us get our day started, such as the time and weather. It can easily be customized with the Griffin Home App and also connects to your Wi-Fi network to allow the notifications from your phone to appear in the digital display. You’ll be able to stay connected to the things that you find most important without disrupting your morning routine.

And that’s not all: they have also developed Connected appliances, including a toaster and coffee machine. Using the same phone app, everyone in the home can create a profile to customize their personal toast and coffee preferences. This way, you always get your items cooked exactly the way you like them, without having to worry about who may have changed the settings on the appliances to their favorites. You will also get notifications on your cell phone when your toast and coffee are ready. And in case you were wondering, yes these notifications will also appear on the Connected Mirror. Other additions to the Griffin Home line are the PowerBlock Beacon and the PowerJolt Beacon which remind users to plug in and charge before they run out of power.

The Blocks and Appliances will be available in Q2 with prices ranging from $29.99 to $99.99. The Connected Mirror will run $999.99 and be available in late 2017. Find out more and sign up for launch updates on their website.

You can also check out their line of accessories on Amazon.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
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Home Security that is Easy and Affordable

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Polaroid Hoop SecurityPolaroid is very well known for their fun point and shoot cameras that instantly print out the pictures. Nowadays, this company is so much more than that. The latest creation to be introduced is their new home security camera. The Hoop is a wireless 1080p intelligent home camera with a cool, funky design, just like the name suggests. Two way audio is built in, so through the accompanying app, you are able to speak with the people (or pets) that are in view. They are also weatherproof making them perfect for indoor and outdoor use. Other features include night vision, motion detection and you can pair as many units together as you would like. The auto pairing is very simple via the app and your Wi-Fi connection.

The Hoop really gives everybody the chance to add security cameras to their home. They could not be more simple to use. Set up takes just three easy steps: 1) turn the camera on, 2) download the app, 3) pair the camera to the app. And there’s no tricky wiring and mounting process. They can sit on a shelf or table, or be quickly attached to the wall with the two prongs on the base. The battery packs last approximately 5-6 months, depending upon actually recording time, and only takes six hours to charge back up.

Want to personalize your settings for your specific household needs? No problem. The settings are easy to adjust and you can even set up several “zones” inside of one camera angle. This allows you to customize the recording based upon the dynamics in your home. For example, if you want the camera to record when the door opens, you can also set the specific zone that will still allow your pets to move around the house freely without triggering the camera to record. And let’s not forget the smart features. They actually learn your ways and patterns and adapt to ensure you get the performance from them that you want. To top it all off, they will sort the recorded files based upon the type of setting or activity in them so that you won’t have to sift through hours and hours of video to find something specific. They are also compatible with all other smart home devices. For instance, if you already have Alexa in your home, you don’t need to worry about having to change anything out or add a second system to the mix.

The Hoop will be available at retailers in the spring with an expected price of $199.99. For more information and to check out their other great products, you can visit their website here.

Interview by Marissa Schiereck of The New Product Launchpad for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV

Now Kids Can Print All of the Things They Want with Polaroid

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Polaroid 3D Pens and PrintersWhen it comes right down to it, we’re really just big kids here at PLuGHiTz Live. Some of the products that we encounter are so much fun. So of course we had a blast at the Polaroid booth this year at CES. Some of the fun that is being unveiled this year are the 3D Pens and Printers.

The 3D Pens, designed for kids 13 and up, have a very lightweight and comfortable ergonomic design that make them very easy to use, especially with the precision nozzles and variable speed controls. There is also an automatic feed feature that is perfect for extended use. Safety features include an automatic shut off and ceramic tip, as well as other heat reducing features. The DRW100 is corded, while the DRW101 is the cordless version. There are various types and colors of filament available so your kids can create toys, animals, jewelry: anything their imagination can envision. There are also multiple stencils available to download from their website.

The 3D Printers are perfect for kids who are creative and industrious. They are all-in-one home printers with simple LCD controls and work with a mobile app. Kids can search for designs on from their phones and tablets and have them automatically sent to the printers to print out. Parents don’t have to worry about any little ones getting into the printers and getting hurt as they have a safety lock that requires a code to open the unit, also the printed items cool down right away so they can be used or played with as soon as printing has finished. Printing times vary depending upon the size of the project, and the possibilities are endless. From school and art projects to the fun of designing your own figurines, kids will have hours of fun creating on their own 3D printer.

All of these items can be preordered from their website. Pricing for the Pens start at $129 and the Printer is $399. The filament is also available online and the prices range from $14 to $34.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV

More Powerful Washer & Dryer = More Time for Fun in your Life

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Samsung FlexWash & FlexDrySome of the products presented at CES are so inventive that they receive special recognition at the show. This year Samsung received a CES Innovation Award for their new FlexWash & FlexDry washer/dryer set.

You might think, “OK, a new washer and dryer, what could be so special about that?” Well, Samsung has been a real trailblazer in this area for a few years now. And the Flex Series is no exception. The FlexWash is two independent washers in one. The upper washer is one cubic foot and is perfect for those smaller loads. The lower washer is the largest in the market at five cubic feet which can tackle extra large comforters, etc. without a problem. But that’s not all, other features include Super Speed, which cuts the wash time by 45% without cutting any of the wash performance. This enables you to run a full load of laundry in just 30 minutes.

The FlexDry isn’t any less impressive. There is an upper unit for drying delicate items and the regular large tumble dryer below for everyday items. FlexDry also has MultiSteam technology with customizable temperature zones built in to assist with taking care of those wrinkles and also refreshing/sanitizing.

The Flex Series is expected to be available for purchase in the first half of 2017. The pricing is still yet to be determined. You can get more information and even sign up for updates on their website.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
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Brilliant New TCL TVs are Amazingly Irresistible

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

TCL TelevisionsTCL is a company that manufactures an assortment of tech products across the world, such as phones, major appliances, air conditioners and more. Here in the U.S., they are the fastest growing TV company and they are set to continue with their momentum.

Their new lineup for 2017 is really exciting. For starters, the C Series brings style and design back to televisions. The series is available from moderate screen sizes all the way up to a giant 75 inch model. What sets this series apart from other televisions on the market today is the beautiful contemporary, European design and fantastic picture quality. They have full metal frames and metal legs, so the sets look good an fit into the room even when they are off. These high dynamic range sets have front firing speakers and the latest LED technology with advanced phosphors and Dolby Vision. And let’s not forget the included Roku interface with 4,500+ channels and 450,000 shows that are available to download and stream in an amazingly advanced and simple to use format.

Also new in 2017 is the P Series. This is their performance line. This is for that customer who wants a nice looking TV but performance comes first. This line includes all of the amazing tech of the C Series with the additions of contrast control zones that can control up to 72 individual zones. This offers the blackest blacks and the whitest whites on the screen at the same time. Screen sizes range from 50 inches to 65.

Both series will be available in the second quarter of 2017 and although the exact pricing has not yet been determined, prices are expected to start below $500. Once released, they will be available online here from Amazon, along with current models.

Interview by Allante Sparks of PLuGHiTz Live Special Events for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV

Vivitar’s Line of Smart Home Products are Creative and Fun

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

VivitarWhen we think Vivitar, the first thing that comes to mind are the point and shoot cameras that we all know and love. Like many other successful tech companies, they have evolved. And in a really great way.

This year at CES they have unveiled fun new additions to their line of smart home products. First up is their hero product, the Vivi Voice Assistant which works in conjunction with all of their other smart home products. This speaker has a sleek, metallic design that will fit into virtually any d├ęcor. It features Amazon Alexa technology and offers 360 degree sound with a rich bass. And it’s priced to compete with the Echo at $99.

They have also added smart home security cameras to the mix. And we have to say, they are quite clever. All offer Wi-Fi and are controllable from both iOS and Android. There is a ceiling/wall mounted 360 degree camera that is uniquely designed to look like a smoke detector that will retail for approx. $149.99. Also doorbell cameras that offers night vision and the ability to speak directly through the unit that will also retail for approx. $149.99. A less conspicuous model is the new IP Camera that come in a fun rain drop shape and cool colors that offer live video streaming so you can monitor any room of the house anytime. These will retail for approx. $99.

Last but not least, there’s our personal favorite here at PLuGHiTz Live: The RoboCams. There are two models that again are controlled via iOS and Android devices which act as rover cams. The higher end model offers a telescoping camera with an articulating eye. Pricing is expected to start at $200.

We love how this new camera line intertwines practicality and just plain fun. These products are expected to be available in Q2 and you’ll be able to check them all out on their website.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV

Speakers with Wonderful Retro Feel and Cool New Tech

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

KlipschIf there’s one thing we love here at PLuGHiTz Live, it’s great audio. It was so refreshing to visit the Klipsch booth this year at CES 2017. Having been in business for 71 years, they know how to rely upon tried and true sound technology while mixing in our favorite modern features.

We also love sleek, shiny new tech, however there’s something to be said for old school craftsmanship, especially when it comes to speakers. Klipsch agrees: that’s why their new Heritage line of speakers are a throwback to the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s with nice wood grain cases, legs with modern and retro stylings combined with copper spun knobs and switches. They are a real nod to history with the feel, look and touch that can blend into your home design. But they don’t just look good. You’re getting pure Klipsch sound in every speaker from a company that is famous for engineering their own drivers and horns.

Even though these speakers are a great throwback to many years of listening to stereo and hi-fi systems, you don’t have to worry about missing out on hip new amenities. You’re also getting great modern features like Bluetooth, various inputs and wireless capabilities for semi portable use around the house.

The Heritage line has multiple speakers in varying size and capabilities. From the newly launched Demi which is a basic, entry level model that is the perfect size to sit on a desk or table for streaming music wirelessly, to the Heritage Wireless 1, 2 and 3 that each have better sound and features than the last. Then to the more traditional looking speakers, the Heritage Wireless 6’s which are a pair of wireless speakers that are amplified with superior sound quality. Last but not least, the big boys that will debut later this year… the Heritage Wireless 15’s. They are the ultimate throwback speakers that are truly reminiscent of our old stereo system speakers, but with even more impressive specs and sound.

Pricing starts out at $199 and you can get more information by visiting their website at Klipsch.com.

Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV

For Tech in the Home, Innovation is Energized to the Next Level

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

digitalSTROMdigitalSTROM is the brains behind home innovation. They are an innovative force behind software that makes various pieces of smart home technology work together. The home is actually way behind when it comes to technology, as opposed to things like automobiles. Automation in the home started many years ago with something as simple as the coffee machine and until recently, really hasn’t advanced much further from there. And although we are seeing more an more in the way of products for the smart home, for the most part they are just individual components that assist with one or two functions in the home.

digitalSTROM envisions a digital transformation in the home where everything works together and with everyone in the home, no matter their age. They want to make every device smart so that they have access to cognitive services and can learn and adapt with the users. The modern day digital home started in the living room with audio and televisions and then moved to things like lighting and now refrigerators. The next step is moving into other rooms of the house but they need companies to create devices and everyday items to work for digital operation.

They are currently working on making the software work with the young and elderly and to work with what different people may want.

digitalSTROM started in Europe and Asia and are only now moving to North and South America. This company is encouraging tech companies to create and upgrade current and future devices and machines for the future.

Interview by Daniele Mendez of The New Product Launchpad for the Tech Podcast Network.

Sponsored by:
Declare war on crappy earbuds and treat yourself to a better headphone experience with new Monster headphones.
Blast to the future with the Monster Blaster: the boombox reimagined.
Meet the Microsoft Surface family, the most productive devices on the planet.
Follow TPN on Twitter: Techpodcasts; Facebook: TPNTV; Google+: TPNTV