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Cloud-based universal remote control app

With the Apple or Android device you already own, you can control your entertainment system or other office and household items, saving hundreds on universal remotes – and it’s all done in the cloud.



Control your electronics with an app

With the iRule app, anyone can use their iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android smartphone or Android tablet to control any remote controlled object in the home or office from theater electronics to sound equipment, curtains, tv, dvd player and the like.

The company says it is simple to set up and maintain through the online application, iRule Builder which helps customize your remote and configure your devices, including custom images, and the sharing of devices with other users. There is a large device database to support most IR (infrared) based consumer electronics equipment. Most systems will require a hardware gateway to control consumer electronics devices that don’t support direct network control.

iRule’s roots

iRule is based in Detroit and was recently named the top Value Added Reseller (VAR) by Global Cache, the leading independent manufacturer of IP and WiFi connectivity products for the control and automation market. The company seeks to save consumers money, sometimes hundreds over traditional universal remote systems, while offering custom menus.

Led by founder Itai Ben-Gal, iRule has grown from a small basement startup to completing their Round A financing and moving to downtown Detroit to take advantage of the city’s creative and IT community, receiving funding from Compuware Ventures LLC to help grow the company.

User reviews

In the Android Market and in iTunes, most reviewers give the app top ratings. One said, “It takes time… a lot of it. But it can produce tremendous results when you are finished. I would easily have spent 200 on the builder alone for what it accomplished in my house. Integrated multiple ir and ip devices in a remote room for distribution all throughout the house. Has more features than you can imagine.”

Another reviewer noted, “This is a wonderful app for anybody who wants to remove the clutter of remotes from your drawing room. The online builder tool is very easy to use to make customizable UIs for all of your entertainment systems. Once downloaded to my Atrix within minutes I was able to connect and control all my devices with the help of my GC12 gateway. The most interesting features are multiple commands on single button click for different devices and feedback’s.Navigation of the App UI is centralized to a menu. No need to search around, changing UI screens are a little slow if you have lot of controls on a screen.Response on device controls work as same as that of a hardware remote. Another great feature is the backup and restore of your connection settings. This saves a lot of reconfiguration time and errors if your are playing with the app for the first time and also can be used as a safe backup of your config for future phones and tablets.”

Lastly, constructive notes come from one reviewer who said, “This is a great remote and I was eagerly waiting waiting for it to hit the Android platform. The Online builder is good enough, a bit clunky at times, overall pretty good. The biggest down fall is when your device goes to sleep and the screen turns off. It causes the connections to your gateways(devices) to turn off until you unlock your android device. It would be Ok if it reconnected very quickly, but it doesn’t. Imagine wanting to skip forward, pause, change volume, or change the lights, and you have to wait 15 seconds to do anything. It has an option to use a wakelock (override system lock) but the screen is WAY too bright in a dark room. This problem makes the app pretty much unusable, Im hoping an update comes very soon. Until then it makes the “Builder license fee hard to swallow.”

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.


LG G Flex will have a curved display: why it even matters

The LG G Flex is exciting as it is curved, but there are much deeper implications of this announcement that your company should take note of before your competitors do.



lg g flex

lg g flex

LG G Flex to feature curved display

You may have heard that Samsung will launch a smartphone with a curved display (although they’ve so far fallen short on their plans to produce their smartphone prototype that is completely flexible), but did you know that LG is hot on their heels, with rumors of the LG G Flex launching this November?

As depicted above, what is believed to be called the LG G Flex is similar to a standard smartphone in shape, with just a slight curve, using plastic OLED screen technology

CNET reports that sources close to the project say the G Flex will have a six-inch display and November is the projected unveiling, but that could always be pushed back (although to be in time for the holiday shopping season, we suspect it will be a November launch).

Samsung will likely unveil their curved display phone this month, and there are rumors that the Galaxy Note 3 could feature a curved display as well.

Curved does not equal flexible

So why develop a curved display? Analysts point to the device actually fitting around your face naturally for making calls, and others note that it fits in a rear pocket more comfortably with a curve.

Curved does not equal flexibility, though, as the devices are still stationary, but the reason the LG G Flex being curved matters to you is that mass production of this type of technology is the precursor to what’s coming next – flexible devices.

Looking into a crystal ball

LG already introduced a curved 55-inch OLED tv panel, and was first to the finish line with the ability to mass produce fully flexible plastic screens, announced last year with their electronic paper display (EPD) product, sold overseas.

The LG EPD is not just flexible, allowing the screen to bend up to 40 degrees from its center, it is a 6 inch, 1024 x 768 e-ink plastic screen. The technology used mimics the way traditional ink appears on paper, which many prefer over the backlit flat panel displays of tablets and computers. The EPD is only 0.7mm thick, weighs 14 grams (that’s 1/33 of a pound) and is said to be scratch resistant when dropped.

Flexibility is next, and it is relevant for your brand not just for the novelty of having a flexible device, but because the way people interact with your website or app could be changing sooner than you might suspect.

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iPhone 6 concepts beginning to emerge

With all the hub-bub about iOS 7 and iPhone 5, several iPhone 6 concepts have emerged. The most prominent feature is the wrap around screen.



iphone 6 lapdock


Looking into the future

Whether you are an Android lover or an Apple fanatic, people love to fantasize about what the newest phone release will bring, from hologram keyboards, an added projector, and so forth. As for the iPhone 6, the most common feature designers and fans think it will have is the wrap around screen. AGBeat has featured this concept several times, and while it has yet to become reality, there seems to be high hope for the iPhone 6 release.

Dribble users have designed and shared several concept models, all of which have the wrap around screen, also known as the infinity screen. This design allows a more engaged user experience, by removing the side casing. The sides have a flat, touch-responsive volume control and a much thinner design overall. And some additional revisions (based upon Cladio Guglieri’s original) have included wifi, Bluetooth, do not disturb, airplane mode, and rotation lock icons, right on the side.

These additions give you instant access to your most used controls, without the need to tap through to gain access to the settings screen. Also, with the extra features, the opposite side of the phone shows your message status, emails, and music controls. DeviantArt also has multiple postings of the infinity screen design. This is absolutely amazing to me because there is so much information in such a limited amount of space. The thickness of the phone in the concept states 0.30 inches; it is really hard to believe an email icon can fit and be legible, but it does.

Other futuristic possibilities

There are also several versions that include aluminum plus carbon fiber casing, in many different variations. Although most still remove the edges from the iPhone 5 design. Behance users have also created several examples of this design concept. With touch sensors wrapping the display edge, concept designers believe no borders means nothing between your hands and the display. And they hope accidental gestures can be prevented with the sensors, although this is just a concept. You certainly would not want to pick the phone up to answer a call from your boss and accidentally start your iTunes playlist.

The only problem I see with this beautiful design is protecting the edges, despite designers touting the durability of the new technologies. As someone who frequently drops their phone, and attempts to keep it safe by using a protective case, I wonder how you can utilize the edges, but still keep the phone safe. Also, I would be interested to see, how often holding the phone triggers the side sensors. Otherwise, I think the wrap around design is both beautifully functional and a long overdue, welcome feature.



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Contacts+ app adds productivity to any Android

Android users: Contacts+ is a great new way to manage your contacts, making a potentially frustrating process simple and streamlined, adding productivity to your phone.





Contacts+ is more than a contact manager

Contacts+ is more than just a contact manager though, it is also a dialer app and combines photos with information from all your connected services: WhatsApp, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. Contacts+ is a welcome alternative to the Andriod favorite Smartr. Since Smartr was recently acquired by Yahoo!, Contacts+ could not have come at a better time.

You can send free and regular messages without switching apps, sync pictures to your contacts, including cover photos, from Facebook and get birthday reminders.

How the app works

With optimization for both Android phone and tablets, you have the ability to sort your contacts in a variety of ways without worrying if you will be able to see all the data. You can sort by groups, favorites, smart contact (prioritization by frequency or A-Z), and search message history of your contact from one place. If you happen to have the same contact in your phone more than once, Contacts+ will sync them together to save you any confusion.

One tap opens a contact card, and then you can tap again to make calls or email them. Once the contact card is open, you can also catch up on their social media life. Leo from Contacts+ writes, “they have a sync process with Facebook and Google+, essentially users connect their accounts (authentication is performed securely through the respective service) and once an account is connected, Contacts+ links and syncs contacts based on unique identifiable information, enabling them to automatically connect your contacts and their identities.”.

New features have been added

The newest features include high res picture sync, a new black theme, T9 search in the call log, Dialer+ shortcut that can be opened over your call log/contacts screen, the ability to call back directly from the incoming message pop up and ignore accents improvements.

The only drawback is that some of the “sorting” features are a bit harder to find. You will need to tap through a couple of different options to find the ability to sort by last name, for example. But, once you get used to it, it really is a nice way to manage your contacts. Contacts+ is free in the Google Play store.

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