Archive for 'Gadgets'

Dec 18

Posted by J-Ro

Posted in Clients, Gadgets, Marketing, Press, Products, Stage Two

The People People Transparent Speaker offers a clear(er) choice for music and design lovers everywhere

Last week we were pleased to help bring a great new product to the Kickstarter community. The Transparent Speaker by Stockholm, Sweden based design firm, People People.

We met People People at CES 2012 almost a year ago. Like everyone else, we had seen the design all over the web a couple of weeks before, but there it was, live and in the flesh. It was freaking gorgeous!

Talking to Per Brickstad of People People, we totally got their take on consumer electronics- “Home audio components are not all that atttractive, don’t always sound that great, and are pretty much disposable.” We have to agree.

The Transparent Speaker is designed to fit in perfectly with any decoration by presenting the drivers in a simple, iconic manner that looks great, sounds great, and allows for wireless connectivity.

The simple, iconic design seems to have found a fan in Pop Music too! A couple of weeks ago, the speaker made an appearance in the new will.i.am and Britney Spears video for “Scream and Shout”. Pretty awesome placement if you ask us.

We look forward to bringing our Swedish friends to CES again next month and letting people get their hands and ears on the Transparent Speaker. For now, jump on over to Kickstarter and pledge to be among the first to get the Transparent Speaker when it becomes available!

Engadget – “…a potent sound-pusher, but also as a highlight of industrial design.”

Wired – “…perfect for someone who wants to add some boom to their room without clunky cubes dissing their design aesthetic.”

Cool Material – “…it just looks freakin’ sweet.”

psfk – “…effortlessly blends into any environment instead of sticking out against the decor.”

VentureBeat – “…beautifully designed and sounds great, but it’s also built to last more or less forever.”

Dec 11

Posted by MCazem

Posted in Blogging, Clients, Gadgets, Press, Products, Stage Two

Swivl Unveils a New Design for Telepresence, Teleconferencing, and DSLR

Hope you’re set to bring in the holiday spirit and cheer because we certainly are! Holidays are about family and a lot of us will have to travel in the coming weeks to see our loved ones. But sometimes, travel is impossible or difficult, so families are turning to teleconferencing and telepresence. People are staying in touch using Skype and FaceTime on their iPads or Android Tablets more and more these days. Here at Stage Two, we’ve been working on launching something exciting and innovative that makes staying in touch even better. We are pleased to finally announce the newly designed Swivl!

Swivl officially launched their Kickstarter campaign today, and you can check out their live campaign page, HERE.

As the first motion platform on the market, and one of the very first to crowdfund a product with technical complexity successfully, we launched the first commercial version of Swivl in Spring of 2012. Fast-forward to today, the newest Swivl will soon be ready to bring new functionality to homes, schools, and businesses.

The new Swivl is a multi-purpose motion and tracking platform for mobile imaging, teleconferencing and more. Sporting an all new form factor and design, the new Swivl works with new and old iPads, iPhones, DSLRs and Android devices. It packs a smooth, highly adjustable pan and tilt motion system into one sleek form and automatically follows you for self-captured video. It can make your iPad your remote control for your DSLR, or it enables engaging telepresence controls with another mobile equipped Swivl.

Support the new Swivl by visiting their Kickstarter page, and check out the pledge that’s right for you. If you have an iPad, Android Tablet, or DSLR, you gotta get a Swivl!

AllThingsD: Hands free camera dock adds DSLR and iPad support

Engadget: Swivl announces two motion tracking docks with support for tablets and DSLR

Forbes: “..this is an exciting project for photographers to keep their eyes on.”

Cool Hunting: “…even better suited to time lapse photography and landscape video capturing.”

Venturebeat: “..giving users a powerful tool for use in a variety of recording applications..”

Laptop: Two new Swivls for photogs and video-conferencing

CNET: “..makes being in your own videos even easier.”

Slashgear: “..the company made some huge changes.”

VideoMaker: “..the new Swivl is a score.”

Apr 01

Posted by TeamS2

Posted in Blogging, Clients, Gadgets, Marketing, Press, Products, Stage Two

Evoz Baby Monitoring Service Covered in TechCrunch

TechCrunch posted a great article on new Stage Two client Evoz today. Robin Wauters, an expecting father himself, got a live demo of the Evoz baby monitoring service from Avishai Shoham, the founder of the firm. Robin’s thoughts?

“The verdict? It’s freaking amazing.”

Quoting from TechCrunch:

Imagine if you had an iPhone or iPod touch to spare, and that you’d simply install it in a charger in your young child’s room like you would any baby monitor.

Now imagine that an always-on application installed on the device would let you call in from anywhere in the world to hear how your baby is sleeping (or exactly how hard he or she is crying, or if you’re lucky, laughing or playing). Imagine that you could also opt to receive ‘quiet’ alerts by SMS or email whenever your kid cries for longer than, say, 5 minutes, so you can give the babysitter a quick call to see what’s up after e.g. a meeting or dinner . . . Evoz lets you do all that, and more.

As both Stage Two founders are recent parents themselves, they know the value of a state of the art baby monitoring service. “I have wanted digital baby monitoring since I had my first kid,” said Jeremy Toeman. “RF baby monitors have been outdated since the 70’s. I’m already using this in my house with my newborn.”

We are proud to work with Avishai and the entire Evoz team.

Parents with children under 18 months old and 2 iOS devices are encouraged to sign up for the Beta here.

Apr 01

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Clients, Gadgets, Marketing, Products, Stage Two

Orbotix Expands Product Line – Introduces Cubo

Orbotix has been a client for six months now and we are thrilled to be working with their talented product team. They debuted Sphero at CES and – more recently – took the little sphere on the road at SXSW. We are excited that Sphero will ship this fall and can’t wait to share its special sense of play with the world.

The Sphero team is really cranking on all cylinders these days, and it never ceases to amaze us the speed at which they innovate in this growing space. They started with Sphero and now, with the introduction of Cubo, will bring two solutions to the market this fall.

Congrats to the entire Orbotix team! They are really thinking outside the box with this one.

Mar 25

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Gadgets, Marketing, Products, Stage Two, UI/UX

Why Usability Matters: A Nokia Post Mortem

Andrew Orlowski has a detailed article in The Register that looks at why Nokia’s mobile ecosystem failed. It wasn’t because their Symbian software was faulty (the article states that Symbian devices actually performed better than others in terms of signal strength and battery life). According to the article, Symbian died because it lacked usability. Quoting from the page:

Nokia’s phones were considered uncompetitive in the marketplace, because new products from Apple and Android had raised the bar for ease of use, particularly for new data applications, and Nokia’s user experience was awful.

The UX matters: it’s the first thing potential customers see when a friend passes them their new phone in the pub. A well-designed UX is consistent, forgiving and rewarding; Nokia’s user experience was inconsistent, unforgiving and hostile.

This last point is especially salient. Apple’s focus on usability and user experience is one of the reasons they have been so successful with devices like the iPad 2. In order to succeed, device makers must deliver well designed products with great UX.

GigaOm delivered their own Symbian autopsy in which ex-Nokia designer Adam Greenfield stated that the cause of death was lack of taste. “There’s nobody with any taste in the decision-making echelons at Nokia,” he writes. Steve Jobs has made similar comments about a lack of taste in the tech sector in the past. Tasteful design and desirable user experiences matter more to consumers than hardware specs and processing power.

While UX is certainly a critical component of successful product development, we see another key factor that led to Nokia abandoning their mobile ecosystem – the rise of 3G and constantly connected devices. In our opinion, Nokia (and Palm, for that matter) got into trouble early in the 3G adoption curve. The company built a bevy of brilliant feature phones up until the 3G paradigm shift, but once technologies like email and mobile web arrived, Nokia failed to adapt in the ways consumers wanted. Its operating system could not handle these newer features and the entire platform stagnated. Eventually, the OS fell too far behind the rest of the market to save it. When people examine the end of the Symbian ecosystem, usability issues will certainly come up.

Great usability must work in concert with a nimble, adaptive corporation that can respond to (and hopefully initiate) tech trends. And this – by the way – is how Apple could one day fail. If a paradigm shift occurs outside Cupertino and Apple fails to pay attention to it, they could move quickly from market leader to tech laggard. As a final aside, placing widgets on homescreens is not something we consider a paradigm shift (hint, hint, Android). When a real computing sea change happens, the winners will be the companies that recognize it and react swiftly.

Mar 25

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Gadgets, Products, UI/UX

Why the HP TouchPad, BlackBerry PlayBook and Motorola Xoom are DOA

I was recently asked to do a Xoom review and I have to say that I am pained just picking up the device. And apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. The Motorola Xoom recently launched to tepid reviews and slow sales. Engadget said “there isn’t much here for consumers right now,” and there are already rumors that Motorola is cutting production of their Android tablet.

When the HP TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook are released, there is no doubt in my mind that they will suffer the same fate as the Xoom: lackluster sales, middling reviews and generally regarded as also-rans in the tablet kingdom.

Since the iPad 2 came out (and sold a million units over a single weekend), the writing is officially on the wall. The tablet space is Apple’s game to lose.

So here is the message for HP, RIM and every other company developing a tablet computer right now: stop the presses. There is nothing to be gained by releasing these devices as they are now. Unless these firms have extremely small unit goals for their devices (which they don’t), they need to reevaluate how they can compete in the tablet space. And they won’t compete by launching tablets that look kind of like the iPad that are aimed at current iPad owners. Apple competitors need to innovate and differentiate themselves if they want to win.

Let’s be clear. There are markets for these products – I outlined a few of them in this earlier tablet post:

Here are a few sectors that present real opportunities for non-Apple tablets.

Medicine

We are quickly approaching a world where medical records and information will be displayed on tablets. Windows and Android devices could thrive in this vertical.

The Military

Someone is going to sell the Pentagon a lot of secure, battle ready tablets. Smart manufacturers should keep an eye on this space.

Kids

A “cheap,” sturdy tablet for kids is a no-brainer. Part coloring book, part media player, part game center- think LeapPad on steroids.

It’s time that the consumer electronics industry takes a hard look at the iPad’s strengths and comes up with a few interesting alternatives for these specific market segments.

Instapaper founder Marco Arment has a post that talks about the iPad abandoning office productivity apps and moving more toward “casual media creation.” Since the iPad’s role “doesn’t include office productivity for most of us,” there is an opportunity for an enterprise tablet built for business needs. If someone other than Apple made an amazing office tablet, people would love it- they would just love it differently than they love the iPad. HP could own this enterprise tablet market. It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where people absolutely adore their HP work tablet. In order to thrive, though, these devices must be inspiring, not merely functional. There is an opportunity here to connect with people and improve their working lives (and maybe surprise and delight them in the process). HP (and others) just need to seize it.

RIM, HP, Motorola and others can’t deliver products that are a little better than the iPad. Their offerings need to be far superior or far different to the iPad in order to succeed. They need to create a user experience that people love. The fact is that the PlayBook and TouchPad – as they are designed and marketed now – won’t capture people’s emotions the way the iPad has. Which is why they should not be brought to market.

Mar 22

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Apps, Gadgets, Smart TV, Stage Two, UI/UX

10 Rules for Connected TV App Development

We recently ran across the following presentation that covers “10 Rules for Connected TV App Development.

Javier Lasa’s deck inspired us to post our own 10 rules for building Smart TV Apps (we will get it done by the end of next week). For more good reading, check out Stage Two’s ten essential tips for making a great Google TV site, and ten commandments for building an amazing Boxee Box App.

Mar 16

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Blogging, Gadgets, Products, Stage Two

The Ultimate Xoom Ad

After seeing this commercial for the Motorola Xoom (in which a man picks up a tablet and literally takes off in a space ship), I was struck by a number of thoughts.

The first was, “Man, I love spaceships.”

The second thought was, “They seem to be targeting young men.”

The third thought was, “And they are doing a rather poor job.”

My last thought was more of a daydream that I will share with you all here – to the best of my ability. It was something along the lines of “How could Motorola make the ultimate Xoom ad? What other cool things could they put in a Xoom commercial to attract the coveted 18 – 34 year old male demographic? ” Here is what I came up with.

- Beer

Cold, refreshing Motorola Xoom.

- These Shoes

Those are shoes. That's right, shoes.

- A Fairy Princess Wedding

Err . . . no.

- Explosions (The Bigger The Better)

KAPOW!

- Bacon Wrapped Bacon

It's BACON!

- Robocop on a Unicorn

Nothing screams "buy a tablet" like the robotic energy of this image.

- Dinosaurs with Lasers

Armored, laser-fighting dinos would be ultimate.

The above Xoom video focuses too much attention on the tablet’s technical specifications. Motorola should be telling people less about spaceships and more about the benefits of the device. Outside of the tech world (where most tablet customers live) users don’t really care about the Xoom’s dual-core “gyroscope” or one-point-twenty-one gigawatts of processing power. They want to know what the device does that helps them in real world situations. Look at Apple’s iPad commercial. There isn’t a single spec in it- not one. The entire video shows different applications for the tablet that people can imagine themselves doing. So, Motorola – either deliver a Xoom ad that shows people all the interesting and fun things your tablet does, or make with the Dino-lasers.

If you have any ideas for Ultimate Xoom ads, let us know in the comments.

Mar 14

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Gadgets, Marketing, Products

iPad 2 Sells 1 Million Units – Over the Weekend

It took the first iPad 28 days to sell a million units. It took the Verizon iPhone two weeks. The iPad 2 sold around one million units in a single weekend.

Reuters is reporting that some stores ran out of Apple tablets in 10 minutes. Quoting from the piece:

Wedbush Securities analyst Scott Sutherland said: “We would not be surprised to see Apple sell closer to 1 million iPad 2’s in the opening weekend.”

The article also mentions the impending tablet bubble that we blogged about recently. “The iPad 2’s early success is a warning sign of a global tablet bubble, where supply could outpace demand for tablets,” says Wall Street analyst Mark Moscowitz.

PC makers need to innovate – and quickly – if they want to compete in the tablet space.

Mar 14

Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese

Posted in Gadgets, Products, Stage Two

RIP Microsoft Zune

It seems that Microsoft is finally taking our advice and killing off its Zune media player. Dan Frommer is reporting that the “Zune is finally dead.” Quoting from his article:

Microsoft will continue to sell existing versions of the Zune, Bloomberg reports, but will not introduce new ones.

Building hardware is hard. Hopefully Redmond will continue to take our advice and build an innovative tablet that competes with the iPad 2.

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