Love the Quantified Self movement but wish there was a device to help take your strength training to the next level? The PUSH Band, an app-enabled wearable fitness tracker, is here to help. PUSH, launching later this summer, is the world’s first fitness tracker that also tracks metrics on strength training by logging your workouts and visualizing your results. PUSH keeps track of your reps, sets, force, power, speed and strength, and makes sure you don’t over-exert yourself by going over your weight limit. All this data can be viewed on PUSH’s companion app, which lets you review every rep and is designed to help you track your workouts, optimize your training, review your session and share your results with friends, teammates, personal trainers and coaches. The PUSH app even has a “live view” that lets you compare your training with your friends to see which of you is in the best shape. The PUSH Band is available for pre-order now for $149 at PushStrength.com and will ship in August.
Amazon recently unveiled its long-awaited smartphone, the Fire Phone. Built around the Amazon Prime experience, the Fire Phone runs the same heavily tweaked version of Android found on the Kindle Fire –that means it has a lot of apps, but not every app in Google Play – most notably no Snapchat or YouTube. The phone’s “Firefly” feature is one of its most innovative aspect, and lets you point the phone at just about any product to find it instantly on Amazon. Firefly can also scan text like phone numbers, restaurant signs and QR codes, then identify that text to make calls, create contacts and more. The phone’s other standout feature are the four cameras at each corner of its screen, which help create a custom sensor system that responds to the way you hold your phone. The phone is fine, but it’s not a must-own. It’s too heavy, too awkward, and too late. If you’re an Amazon fanatic who’s gotta have it, the phone will be available exclusively on AT&T on July 25.
Comcast recently launched a program that will turn each of its residential customers’ Xfinity routers into a public hotspot. Starting a few weeks ago in Houston, Comcast says the program will make its way to millions of homes across the country by the end of the year. The program lets any Comcast customer access any other Comcast customer’s Wi-Fi after first authenticating their Xfinity account. That means Comcast customers gained access to free, high-speed internet in a whole lot more places. Worried this means people will tap into your Wi-Fi and slow down your network? Comcast says don’t worry – only five people can log onto a single home network at once, and its network was designed to handle that stress. Whether or not that’s true remains to be seen. Comcast is automatically enrolling every customer with a new Xfinity router into the program. If you want to opt out, and keep your Wi-Fi private, secure and all to yourself, all it takes is a phone call to Comcast.
What if your house knew you were on your way home after a long day at work? And what if your house could then turn on the air conditioning so you always returned to the perfect climate? That’s the goal behind Honeywell’s new smart thermostat Lyric. Unlike Nest’s smart thermostat, which learns your habits to raise or lower the temperature, the Honeywell Lyric uses geo-fences to set the temperature of your home. The Lyric tracks your cell phone to see how far away you are, and adjusts temperature accordingly. On your way home? Lyric can optimize for comfort. On your way out? Lyric goes into energy saving mode. You can tell Lyric to start optimizing for comfort when you’re a couple miles away from home, or when you’re right outside. Lyric also has humidity sensors that can keep your home cool without turning the air conditioning on. Got a separate add-on humidifier? Lyric can control that, too. If you like the sound of Lyric, it’ll be available this August for $279.
If people know that you’re good with technology, you’re bound to be asked time and time again, “Hey could you help me with…” whatever the current problem your friend or loved one is having with their computer. Sometimes the problem is an easy fix, but sometimes … not so much. But what remains true of almost any problem is that you can probably fix it quicker yourself than you can by describing the fix to them. Google is here to help, as it recently added a remote desktop feature to Google+ Hangouts. Now, instead of trying to guess where your friend or loved one is clicking and becoming more and more frustrated, you can take control of their desktop and sort their issue out yourself. This cool new feature is hidden away under the “Hangout Apps” section, so once you get permission from the other user to access their computer, you’re free to fix their problem and get on with the rest of your day.
The connected home has been a kitchen staple for a while, but few gadgets have truly changed the way we think about cooking. A new smart kitchen scale, Drop, looks to do just that. Drop, which pairs with a companion iOS app, completely changes the process of cooking. Instead of a traditional list of ingredients and steps, Drop’s recipes divide the ingredients into blocks. Every recipe is built around the scale, which adapts to how much of each ingredient you have. Baking cookies and a little bit light on flour? Drop can scale back the recipe to make sure the batch still turns out right. Drop’s recipes are far more visual than traditional recipes, and each step has an accompanying video to make sure you know exactly what you need to do. This significantly lowers the entry bar for new cooks, and also ensures veteran chefs are nailing each step along the way. If Drop sounds like a gadget you’ve got to have in your kitchen, you can pre-order one now for $99.
Netflix recently signed deals with Comcast and Verizon to improve streaming quality for its customers. There’s still work to be done, though, and streaming quality can often be shaky. Netflix wants you to know what’s wrong if you have a less-than-good stream, which is why it updates its monthly speed index to show off the best and worst ISPs for streaming. But did you know you can also test your Netflix performance in real time? There’s an 11-minute video on Netflix, called Example Short, that’s made up of a series of unconnected clips. To test your connection, start this video and keep your eye on the numbers in the top left-hand corner of the screen. These numbers represent the bit rate and resolution of the video in real time. The numbers will start out low, but should gradually get better as the stream buffers. The higher and steadier these numbers are, the better your Netflix performance is. Unfortunately, if the numbers aren’t up to your standards, there’s little you can do – other than change internet providers.
Your Amazon Prime subscription just got even more bang for its buck. Amazon recently launched its music streaming service, Prime Music. Included in an Amazon Prime subscription, Prime Music includes access to more than one million songs, as well as playlists based around artists, genres, moods and activities. Prime Music also lets you create your own playlists and save tracks to listen to offline. Amazon was already a major digital music player with Amazon mp3 and its cloud music storage, but Prime Music is Amazon’s first attempt at a music subscription service. The service pales in comparison to Spotify and its more than 25 million tracks, but a rivalry was never the point. Amazon says it launched Prime Music to give the annual Prime membership more value, which offers free two-day shipping, the Amazon Instant Video library and the Amazon Kindle Lending Library for $99 per year. Prime Music is now available to Prime members for free. If you don’t pay for Prime, you can try out Prime Music for 30 days for free.
If you have an iPhone, you probably know a lot of what Siri can do. But there are still a couple tricks Siri has up its sleeve that most iOS users may not know about. If you’ve got World Cup fever, Siri may be your best friend over the next few weeks. Siri is able to tap into all sorts of information about the World Cup. You can ask, “When is the United States playing Germany?” and Siri will answer. You can also quickly get scores of past games as well as the current standings. Siri also makes it easy to quickly change just about any setting on your phone. You can have Siri turn on your Wi-Fi, adjust screen brightness and more. If you’re going to the movies, you can ask a question like, “How good is 22 Jump Street?” and Siri will display the latest reviews from Rotten Tomatoes. And, if you want to catch some shuteye before you leave, you can even tell Siri to wake you up in half an hour.
If you find yourself misplacing things like your bags or keys all the time, Tile is here to help. Tile, a crowdfunding sensation last year, is a lost-item finder that you activate with your iPhone then attach to just about anything. Powered by Bluetooth, Tile “sings” to you when you’re looking for your lost item. To find your misplaced item, open up the Tile app, tap the Tile you’re looking for, then tap “Find.” That’s when Title plays its tune, helping you locate exactly where it wound up. Tile’s range is less than 150 feet, which is why its “Community Find” feature is so important. Community Find uses the power of every other Tile user to help find your missing item, even if you’re nowhere near it. You can also mark your Tile as “lost,” which means you’ll get a push notification if anyone else finds it. If you want to keep better tabs on your things, Tile is available to order through its website today for $19.95.