“Tap to unlock
Shanghai-based Shanda’s Geak Ring uses an NFC (near field communication) chip to identify the accessory. The firm says this can be used to unlock its range of Android smartphones by tapping the two together as an alternative to keying in a password. It aims to make the ring compatible with other manufacturers’ phones before the end of the year. In addition it says the device can trigger downloads of the owner’s photos, contact information and other data on to friends’ handsets by touching them against the ring. It adds that the device should last for 99 years and does not need to be charged. The firm has also unveiled an Android-powered watch offering a range of wrist-worn apps including weather forecasts, exercise feedback and a remote control for smartphone cameras. Shanda says it will start taking pre-orders from China-based consumers for the watch in July and the ring the following month.”
“Beyond voice, another interesting approach comes from a company called Tagstand, whose Android app, Drive Agent, helps users adapt their phones into driving mode.
When the app detects its user’s car Bluetooth system, Drive Agent launches automatically, and then automatically replies to text messages and phone calls with a pre-written “Sorry, I’m driving” message, based on preset preferences. Apple’s upcoming in-car interface will calculate commute times.
There are a bunch of other apps to help users more safely send and receive texts while driving (Bonnie Cha reviewed three of them here), but Tagstand CEO Kulveer Taggar told me that his company is working on what sounds like a smart approach to expand this sort of functionality to detect additional life contexts and adjust. It makes sense — driving is not the only time in our lives when we don’t want to be distracted.
Taggar said his startup’s yet-to-be-released app (set to be called simply “Agent”) will help users automate many more configurations for all sorts of environments inside and outside the car. It sounds a bit like another existing popular Android app called Tasker. The challenge is helping users train these apps without too much setup, and finding smart ways to help them that aren’t just silly tricks.”