Tags Bluetooth

Bowers & Wilkins debuts Zeppelin Wireless, adding Bluetooth and power to iconic Apple speaker


Bowers & Wilkins, maker of the iconic Zeppelin speaker and its AirPlay sequel Zeppelin Air, today announced an upgraded model with even more horsepower and features: Zeppelin Wireless ($700). The original $600 Zeppelin redefined “high-end iPod speakers” at a time when Bose and Klipsch had established a $300 to $400 price ceiling, successfully upping the ante in both sound quality and industrial design.

Zeppelin Wireless retains B&W’s classic elongated football shape and five-speaker concept, but now relies entirely on wireless streaming for audio, boasting Bluetooth aptX, AirPlay, and Spotify Connect support. Backed by 150 Watts of amplifier power, a new twice-as-powerful digital signal processor upsamples all inputs to 24-bit/192kHz resolution, promising to deliver greater accuracy, lower noise, and enhanced dynamic range through an audiophile-quality DAC. The speakers and enclosure have been upgraded, as well…

On the speaker side, Zeppelin Wireless now features an upgraded 6″ subwoofer similar to the company’s high-end model A7, but with “an ultra long-throw voice coil” and reduced vibration to deliver deep, accurate bass even at high volume levels. B&W also includes two 25mm double-dome tweeters and fixed suspension transducer (FST) midrange drivers, all housed within a newly reinforced, vibration-free cabinet made with fiberglass ribs and a 50% thicker front fascia than the earlier Zeppelins.

Removed from this model is the Zeppelin’s and Zeppelin Air’s iPod/iPhone dock, leaving Zeppelin Wireless with a purely black fabric front apart from a small B&W logo on the plastic base. Controls have been simplified, and now consist of three buttons nestled on the top surface.

zeppelinwireless21 zeppelinwireless212

Zeppelin Wireless is available online today, and will hit retail stores on October 15. The AirPlay and dock-based Zeppelin Air is available as a factory-recertified model for $400, while the boxier A7 still sells for $800.

Filed under: iOS Devices, Mac Tagged: AirPlay speaker, B&W, Bluetooth, Bluetooth Speaker, Bowers & Wilkins, speaker, Spotify, Zeppelin, Zeppelin Wireless

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Jeremy Horwitz

October 8th



This foldable Bluetooth smartphone keyboard is 50% off on Amazon right now


Keyboards often get in the way, but they sure are often easier to use compared to typing on your smartphone. How about having a keyboard that has the portable size of a smartphone? You get that with the EC Technology Foldable Bluetooth Keyboard on sale for $35 and free shipping on Amazon. That's 50% off the regular price. And it's got a 4.5-star rating from 177 customer reviews.

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David Ertischek, BGR Deals Team

October 7th


Don’t miss calls with the Renny Smartphone Wireless Cell Phone Ringer

renny the original bluetooth home ringer

Cellphones are great! They have totally revolutionized the way we live, work and play. You can take a phone call atop a mountain, on the train or anywhere else you get reception. Many of us have them figuratively attached to our hips, but then we go and put them down in our house and miss a call. Well, you won't miss a phone call anymore with the Renny Original Smartphone Hub and Wireless Cell Phone Ringer for your home on sale for $89.99 and free shipping at Amazon.

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David Ertischek, BGR Deals Team

October 5th


A Millennium Falcon Speaker Is the Best Way To Blast John Williams

It’s quite possibly the most recognizable film score of all time, and without a doubt, the best way to enjoy John Williams’ Star Wars soundtrack is on iHome’s new Millennium Falcon-shaped Bluetooth Speaker.


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Andrew Liszewski

September 21st


Review: Beaconic’s iBeacon kits let any store or restaurant add Bluetooth promos for under $110


I’ve been interested in iBeacons — proximity-based wireless transmitters — ever since they were first announced by Apple alongside iOS 7 at WWDC in 2013. The idea of walking into a store, restaurant, or other public space and receiving (opt-in) wireless notifications based on proximity to a Bluetooth sensor struck me as a potentially compelling next step forward for both retailers and smartphone users. Even more exciting was the opportunity to receive incentives, such as coupons or free apps, just for being in proximity to the store. iBeacons have been added to Apple Stores, Macy’s, MLB baseball parks, and even bars, offering giveaways of free apps and magazines, as well as everything from locations of products to seating directions.

In a twist, iBeacons aren’t being sold directly by Apple. The name is being used across a variety of third-party products that meet an Apple specification, and sold by different companies throughout the world. When I heard that a European developer named Beaconic was dropping its prices on iBeacons to levels any small retailer could afford — around $107 for two “Power” beacons or $141 for four “Retail” beacons, each with an unlimited software license — I reached out to the company so I could see what the retailer and customer experience was like. Here’s what I learned…

Key Details:

  • iBeacons available in two sizes, with ~160- or ~500-foot ranges.
  • Web-based setup and monitoring included with packages ranging from 95 to €180.
  • App or SDK required for guests/customers to see beacons
  • Instructions may be hard to find

Beaconic offers four different iBeacon packages containing one of two different types of iBeacons. The basic “Retail iBeacon” is a red plastic dot only slightly wider and thicker than a stack of four American quarters, shipped with a nickel-sized dot of 3M adhesive. This iBeacon contains a Bluetooth 4.0 chip that can communicate with devices at distances between 4 inches and 160 feet in open spaces, relying on a built-in battery. It’s so small that you can mount it wherever you prefer, so long as it’s not inside a box that limits its transmitting abilities.


The company also sells “Power iBeacons” that are smaller than the footprint of a business card, measuring 1.6″ by 2.7″ by 0.8″ when fully assembled. These iBeacons require you to self-supply two AA batteries, which are used to provide five years of power to a Bluetooth 4 chip capable of reaching devices within a nearly 500-foot radius. Power iBeacons can be attached to your choice of surfaces either with included screws or a larger piece of 3M adhesive; a small screwdriver is packed in to help with installation. Customers also get one Beaconic sticker (“Check our Beacon”) per iBeacon purchased, enabling the retailer to advertise the presence of the iBeacons and the app used to communicate with them.


Beaconic’s pitch is very appealing: instead of paying both a one-time hardware fee and ongoing monthly subscription costs, you pay a one-time charge for both the hardware and the software needed to set up your iBeacons, as well as Beaconic’s email-based support. Generally, I’ve found the company’s representatives to be very responsive to emailed questions, though one thing — the lack of an included manual to guide one through the initial setup process — dogged my entire testing period, despite multiple requests. My reviewer’s package consisted solely of all the iBeacon hardware, without any guidance as to how to use it.

It turns out that Beaconic’s software is primarily web-based. You create an account on the company’s site, link each of your iBeacons to the account, and then customize each iBeacon with one of three different (but substantially similar) “campaign” statuses. You can choose from Countdown, Offer, and Information, each of which can provide a photo, text, and optionally a countdown timer that offers a specific promotion for a limited period of time.


Once you’ve followed several steps to set up your campaign, you can assign it to one or more of the iBeacons, and after a short period of time, any interaction with the iBeacon will trigger the display of your campaign’s contents. To fine-tune the experience, you can also specify the notification range and notification frequency on a per-campaign basis. Campaign results can be monitored from Beaconic’s web site, providing realtime and summarized data of devices, referrers, campaigns, and beacons.


I played with a set of three iBeacons — two Retail iBeacons and one Power iBeacon — and found all three to be reliably locatable with a test iPhone 5s. They were all discoverable as expected, and once they were set up via Beaconic’s web site, each was capable of putting out an individual campaign with separate photography, text, and the like. You can label each beacon as you prefer, and name each campaign; I just used generic titles so I could easily distinguish the beacons and campaigns from one another.

IMG_6390 beaconicapp-2 IMG_6394

The trick with these iBeacons is that seeing them may depend upon your customer downloading the Beaconic app — the reason for the window stickers in the Retail Kit. (As of press time, the Beaconic app runs reliably only under iOS 8, but the company says an iOS 9 version will be released shortly.) For consumers, the app starts with a map of the country, which can be used to drill down to wherever they happen to be, showing a list of all of the beacons detected within a nearby range. Once a beacon is selected, the consumer can “unlock” the information on the beacon, as well as share it via Facebook or Twitter.

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For privacy, annoyance, and iOS integration reasons, it might be too much to expect that an iPhone would just display an iBeacon notification without the user needing to specifically open an app, but the out-of-box implementation is somewhat limiting. Beaconic offers a link to download an iOS GITHUB SDK that lets developers add Beaconic iBeacon support to an existing app — handy, and arguably a necessity for major retailers — but again, documentation to go along with it is scarce. Developers may find it so easy to implement that this isn’t necessary.

From a consumer standpoint, iBeacons have a ton of potential. Despite the growth of online shopping, brick-and-mortar stores are still very compelling, and restaurants, bars, stadiums and other public gathering places aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Given the popularity of smartphones, having the ability to link proximity-specific incentives and information into a location’s environment just makes sense for businesses — the only challenge is reducing the friction needed to actually get those messages onto visitors’ screens. By pricing its solutions so aggressively, Beaconic has made it possible for even the smallest retailer to bring iBeacons into a space; its next challenges are improving the setup experience for retailers, and easing beacon discovery for visitors and customers.

€95+ / US$104+
iPad, iPhone, iPod


Filed under: iOS, iOS Devices, Reviews Tagged: Beaconic, Bluetooth, iBeacon, iBeacons

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Jeremy Horwitz

September 15th



Ultimate Ears Boom 2 Bluetooth Speaker: The best gets better

UE-Boom-2-JBL-Charge-Bose-Soundlink Mini

One of my absolute favorite Bluetooth speakers got a huge update today. The UE Boom 2 is an upgraded version of the iconic portable Bluetooth speaker from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears division. Originally released in 2013, the Boom set a new standard for Portable Bluetooth speakers with its “cupholder friendly” and colorful design, great acoustics, and iOS/Android apps.

In recent months UE has released a much bigger, more expensive MegaBoom and a much smaller, cheaper UE Roll. Both are waterproof and extremely rugged and if you’d had to have guessed, you’d be right in assuming the Boom would get these same features.

And it has. IPX 7 waterproofing means you can not only take it with you into the shower but you can drop the Boom 2 in the pool or bathtub without damage. It is also more powerful with a 100-foot wireless range, 15 hour battery life, and 25% louder and better sound than its predecessor. The UE Boom 2 also now includes a new tap control that allows you to start, pause and skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand.

I’ve been using the UE Boom 2 for the past week and I think this speaker is a big deal…

UE Boom 2, Key Details:

  • 25 percent louder, better sound
  • Longer wireless range ~100-feet
  • Waterproof (IPX 7) design
  • 10-15 hour battery life
  • Size/shape of a water bottle, so stick it in your bike’s water bottle holder or clip it to your bag
  • tap control that allows you to start, pause and skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand
  • $199 shipped starting later this month, pre-order here

The Boom 2 comes in the same type of case as the MegaBoom which opens to reveal a “same as the previous Boom” package with a florescent yellow AC power adapter and MicroUSB cable.

Most of my gripes around the UE Boom 2 are around this cable and connection. It is square at the tip so it is a little easier to pop in than a generic MicroUSB cable which is a pain in the ass. When it is charging however, you can’t stand the Boom 2 in its default upright position. There is also an AUX port on the bottom which also foils attempts to have the speaker sit upright. The keychain lock also sits on the bottom.  If any of these things are used, the speaker must be on its side and boy does it roll. Oh, and you can’t keep your phone charged with this MicroUSB outlet like you can with some other speakers.


That’s pretty much the beginning and end of the gripes, however. The package is much improved over the previous edition, which was a great piece of equipment.  I can verify that the sound is noticeably improved over the original UE Boom and more into the Bose Soundlink Mini 2 territory. The bass wasn’t all the way there but it is as close as you’ll get in a speaker of this size and weight.

There are many intangibles besides its incredible sound that make this something to consider.  The Boom 2 is both waterproof after a few dips in pools and sinks and rugged after surviving a few falls from 4-5 feet. Its wireless range is far improved but nowhere near the 100 feet advertised. I would lose connection at around 50 feet with both an iPhone 6 and a Moto X. Like almost all Bluetooth speaker manufacturers, they’ve also embellished on the battery capacity a little bit. I’d give this about 10 hours of loud play – which is still extremely solid. I didn’t play too much with the tap control feature but it worked in limited reps I gave it.

I love the Logitech UE Boom app which still allows you to see battery indicator, set music alarms, and pair multiple speakers in better than stereo but not quite as robust as Sonos type configurations.


Compare to competition? 

To recap, the improvements to the UE Boom 2 are the following

  • Is 25 percent louder and better sound
  • Has a longer wireless range of 100-feet
  • Has a completely waterproof (IPX 7) design
  • Has a 15-hour all-day, all-night battery life
  • Is the size of a water bottle, so stick it in your bike’s water bottle holder or clip it to your bag
  • Plus, it features a new and innovative tap control that allows you to start, pause and skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand

To me, this puts the Boom at the top of the pack except for certain scenarios:

The $200 price tag is significant. If you want to spend less and get almost as great of product, grab a JBL Charge 2 for $100-$150 or a UE Roll for $100.

If you want the absolute best sound, I still like the bass in the Bose Soundlink Mini 2 which is a fine Bluetooth speaker but isn’t rugged or really built for the outdoors. On the other hand, it looks much more sophisticated than the Cherrybomb, Yeti, Phantom, GreenMachine, Tropical and BrainFreeze colors of the UE Boom.

You can grab a Boom at UE’s website now for $199.

Ultimate Ears Ups the Ante with UE BOOM 2

UE Introduces New Anywhere-You-Go-Proof Mobile Speaker

NEWARK, Calif. — Sept. 15, 2015 — Today Ultimate Ears once again dares you to take the party anywhere by adding UE BOOM 2 to its colorful lineup of beach-, snow- and anywhere-you-go-proof wireless mobile speakers. Starting first with UE BOOM and now turning things up again with UE BOOM 2, Ultimate Ears is continuing to transform the way people experience music, together, out in the world by completely redefining the Bluetooth® speaker category.

Designed to get wet, muddy and beat up, UE BOOM 2 blasts insanely great sound in every direction. Using the same high-quality materials you have come to expect from Ultimate Ears, UE BOOM 2 is waterproof (IPX 7), drop-proof (from up to five feet high), disruptive and bold, plus a whole lot of fun. It’s the size of a water bottle, so stick it in your bike’s water bottle holder or clip it to your bag, turn up life and add dimension to any moment.

Building from the award-winning UE BOOM 360-degree speaker that Ultimate Ears introduced in 2013, UE BOOM 2 is 25 percent louder with a longer wireless range of 100-feet and a completely waterproof design, so your music can be shared no matter where you are or what you’re doing. It has a 15-hour all-day, all-night battery life, plus, new and innovative tap control that allows you to skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand.

“Music is about making good moments great moments,” said Rory Dooley, general manager of Ultimate Ears. “And by taking your music with you, those great moments are now shareable, anywhere. That’s why every speaker Ultimate Ears designs is durable and adventure-proof with 360-degree sound, including UE BOOM 2. We’ve been leading the category in a new direction, and we’re breaking the mold yet again with UE BOOM 2.”

Plus, UE BOOM 2 gets better with time. Using the UE BOOM 2 app for iOS® and Android™, you can double the sound by pairing UE BOOM 2 with any other Ultimate Ears speaker, remotely turn the speaker on from your phone and even wake up to your favorite music. New updates are sent to UE speakers wirelessly through the app, so you can easily continue to expand features, making each speaker future-proof and even more awesome over time.

UE BOOM 2 comes in six new vibrant color variations: Cherrybomb, Yeti, Phantom, GreenMachine, Tropical and BrainFreeze.

Pricing and Availability

UE BOOM 2 is expected to be available in the U.S. and in select countries in Europe and Asia in September 2015, for a suggested retail price of $199.99. For more information, please visit www.ultimateears.com.

About Ultimate Ears

Ultimate Ears is transforming the way people experience music, together, out in the world. UE first revolutionized the way artists interact with their concert audiences by reinventing the on-stage monitor, turning it into a custom-fitted earphone. Today, Ultimate Ears continues stronger than ever with its award-winning family of wireless speakers that are designed for people, their friends and wherever life takes them. And with new features and experiences regularly released through free software updates, UE speakers just keep getting better. For more information, please visit www.ultimateears.com. #MakeMusicSocial



  • Diameter: 67mm or 2 3/4 inches
  • Height: 180mm or 7 1/8 inches
  • Weight: 548g or 1.2lbs


  • IPX7 rated: UE BOOM 2 can be immersed in liquid up to 1m for up to 30 minutes.


  • Maximum Sound Level: 90dBA
  • Frequency Range: 90Hz – 20kHz
  • Drivers: two 45mm (1 3/4″) active drivers and two 45mm X 80mm (1 3/4″ x 3″) passive radiators.


  • Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery for up to 15 hours of battery life between Micro USB charges. Actual battery life will vary with use, settings and environmental conditions.
  • Charge time: 2.5 hours


  • Pair up to 8 Bluetooth ® enabled devices – Connect up to two source devices at the same time.
  • Wirelessly play (stream) to 2 UE BOOM 2s from one source.
  • Mobile range of play is up to 33m (100 ft).
  • NFC (passive) enabled – (works with active NFC enabled source devices * Android Jellybean and higher).


  • For Audio Playback – Smartphones, tablets and other devices that support Bluetooth® wireless audio profile [Advanced Audio Distribution Profile (A2DP)] or 3.5 mm audio output.
  • Phone Calls: Phones that support Bluetooth® Hands-Free Profile (HFP1.5)


The UE BOOM 2 Apple iOS APP Android app on Google Play



Filed under: AAPL Company Tagged: Android (operating system), Bluetooth, boom 2, iOS, iPhone, Logitech, UE, Ultimate Ears, Waterproofing

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Seth Weintraub

September 15th



Onkyo’s New Wireless Earbuds Look Hilariously Huge

Onkyo is best known for its strong tradition of audiophile-grade home theater gear. But the legendary Japanese hi-fi company is branching out, and just unveiled a massive-looking set of completely wireless earbuds at IFA in Berlin. They probably sound great, but like home theater components, you probably couldn’t go jogging with them.


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Adam Clark Estes

September 3rd


TomTom Is Bringing Tunes to Its Newest Fitness Watches

TomTom’s first running watch was a great first step two years ago. Last year it got even better , with an integrated heart rate monitor. For this year’s watches, TomTom is adding full activity tracker capabilities and the ability to stream music to Bluetooth headphones, all for a pretty reasonable price.


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brent rose

September 3rd


Opinion: With Apple Music launched, it’s time for Apple to show AirPlay some love


I love AirPlay. It’s simple and elegant. It also means that my elderly but much-loved B&O Ouverture hifi system (with BeoLab 6000 speakers) – which is actually so old that it has a cassette deck – needed only a low-cost WiFi audio receiver to allow it to wirelessly stream music from my MacBook Pro. One $40 add-on and a 20-year-old hifi became bang up to date in its capabilities.

With my particular setup, AirPlay does exactly what we expect of Apple products: It Just Works. I open iTunes, select ‘B&O’ from the speaker output menu, and anything I play in iTunes – whether from my own music library or streamed from Apple Music – plays through the hifi, while system sounds continue to play through the Mac speakers. My partner can stream her own music from her iPad or iPhone just as readily.

I’d previously tried a Bluetooth audio receiver, and the difference between that and AirPlay is night and day. No pairing. No worries about distance. No interference when someone walks between the Mac and hifi. No system sounds emerging at deafening volumes though my hifi speakers.

But despite my own happy experience of it, AirPlay is not without its problems … 

First, cost. Go looking on apple.com for speakers (not as easy as it used to be since the online store lost its menu item), filter connections by AirPlay and you’re offered only three speakers, ranging in price from $400 to $2700. (Curiously, the two B&W offerings only show up if you search via iPad accessories.)

Things look superficially better if you search on Amazon – but take a closer look, and almost all the decent-quality AirPlay speakers at affordable prices are discontinued models. There’s an iHome iW1 for $85, for example, but the original price was $300 – a pretty steep price for a mid-range portable unit.

Look at anything current, and most models start at $200 and head upwards pretty rapidly from there. Which is fine if it’s the audio quality you’re paying for, but that often doesn’t appear to be the case. Take Logitech as an example. I bought a couple of the early BoomBoxes for the bedroom and bathroom. These streamed music from iTunes via Logitech’s own protocol. When the company launched the AirPlay equivalent, they were almost twice the price.

Whether that cost premium is due to Apple’s licensing terms, or it was just that not enough people know about AirPlay to get production costs down, I don’t know – but it has certainly created a downward spiral. Few mass-market consumers know that AirPlay exists, and the high cost of AirPlay hardware means that the standard has never really taken off in the way it deserves to.

The price of AirPlay speakers looks particularly steep when compared to the mass of Bluetooth speakers out there.


Second, reliability. While my own experience, and that of many others, has been excellent, you don’t have to look at many AirPlay speaker reviews to see that not everyone has enjoyed the same flawless experience. The most common complaint is intermittent connectivity dropouts.

I connected and paired them easily enough and they sounded ok when they would work. The problem is that the signal would drop out for minutes at a time […]

The speakers simply do not work consistently, from the iMac or any remote device. This is more than an occassional drop out, which I could learn to live with […]

Others report lengthy delays in speakers responding when switching tracks.

These types of complaint can be found against AirPlay speakers at all price levels, and my colleague Jeremy Horwitz – who has reviewed more than his fair share of them – said that some companies even resorted to sending out WiFi routers with their review units simply because they’d found ones that were known to work well with AirPlay. A protocol that requires particular routers to work reliably is more than enough evidence that AirPlay needs more work.


Third, AirPlay gets clunky when it comes to anything but the simplest of multi-room setups. There are a variety of approaches you can take, ranging from attaching an Airport Express or Apple TV to each speaker/set, through a number of third-party apps for both Mac and iOS devices. But the famed ease of use of AirPlay often disappears in this kind of setup.

Most multi-room audio systems – like those offered by Sonos, Yamaha and others – use proprietary systems that lock you into the company’s own hardware and apps. AirPlay, in contrast, is vendor-independent.

There’s a huge opportunity here for Apple to take on these companies by matching the simplicity they offer when it comes to multi-room speaker systems. Using the Apple TV as the hub would seem an obvious move, especially given the newly-expanded role of the device as a HomeKit hub.


You don’t have to take my word for it that AirPlay needs some love: just go searching for newly-launched AirPlay speaker systems. The only company we could find showing one at CES this year was Moshi (watch out for a review by Zac Hall shortly).

Whether it’s manufacturers deciding that AirPlay is too unreliable to invest, or consumers unwilling to pay the price premium for a protocol that doesn’t give them everything they want, clearly there’s an issue. Apple needs to fix the reliability issues that appear to stem from flaws in the protocol itself, license it to manufacturers at a reasonable price and then give it enough PR that mass-market consumers get to know about it.

Apple might object to the idea of reduced license fees, but frankly, AirPlay is dying. Better to get a smaller cut of a growing market than a large slice of a diminishing one. And if Apple wants to make more money from AirPlay, it can do so from its own hardware: along with its purchase of Beats Music, it got a free audio company in Beats Electronics. (Actually, given the relative revenues, it got a free streaming music service with its acquisition of the audio company, but let’s not quibble.)

AirPlay is too good a system to be allowed to wander off quietly into the night. It is infinitely superior to Bluetooth, and doesn’t lock you into a single manufacturer for your audio hardware. With a little love from Apple, it could have a long and profitable future.

As always, take our poll and let us know your own views in the comments.

Images: Bowers & Wilkins

Filed under: AAPL Company, Apple Music, Opinion Tagged: AirPlay, Apple Music, audio, Bluetooth, iTunes, Music, protocol, Sound, speakers, Wi-Fi

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Ben Lovejoy

August 26th



Want connected car features without splashing out on a new car? That’ll be $15/mo …


If you feel a tinge of tech envy over the connected car features offered by many recent cars, but not enough to splash out on a new one (or you’re holding out for an Apple Car), Verizon’s $15/month Hum service could plug the gap.

Subscribers simply install hum through an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled device that is clipped to the visor. The monthly subscription also includes a smartphone app allowing subscribers to monitor their vehicle health, contact help, and manage maintenance needs, even when they are not behind the wheel.

If the system detects an accident, it will automatically contact a response center, which will use the Bluetooth speakerphone unit to ask you to confirm that you need help. If you do, or you fail to respond, help will be dispatched to your location, which is obtained from the GPS in the OBD dongle. A panic button also allows you to call 911, and help is additionally available for mechanical breakdowns, with roadside assistance included in the monthly fee.

To make breakdowns less likely, the ODB dongle checks for error codes and reports them to an iPhone or Android app, complete with recommended repairs and even an estimate of the likely cost. Finally, if your car is stolen, the on-board GPS can transmit its location to police.

You will, though, need to sign up for a two-year contract. Full details in the press release below, and you can sign up at hum.com.

Verizon Announces the Availability of hum, Creating a Smart, Connected Driving Experience for more than 150 Million Vehicles

New Service Modernizes Roadside Assistance by Bringing Together Diagnostics and Expert Care, Delivering Ultimate Peace-of-Mind Behind the Wheel

Creating a Smart, Connected Driving Experience for more than 150 Million Vehicles

ATLANTA, Aug. 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Verizon Telematics today announced the commercial availability of hum, an aftermarket vehicle technology and subscription service that enables drivers on the road to make their car smarter through a simple solution regardless of their wireless service provider.

First announced in January at the North American International Auto Show as Verizon Vehicle, hum provides subscribers with a self-installed solution that helps predict potential issues, prevents breakdowns and offers protection when problems do arise. At the simple press of a button, drivers receive diagnostic information, pinpoint roadside assistance and live consultation with ASE-certified mechanics and emergency personnel on-demand.

Hum is an important service, one that we feel passionately will help save lives and keep drivers and their loved ones protected whether they are traveling across town or across the country,” said Andrés Irlando, CEO at Verizon Telematics. “This service equips drivers on the road today with the same level of information about their vehicles that fitness wearables deliver about our health. Simply put, hum democratizes the safety and convenience of vehicle connectivity.”

Powered by Verizon Telematics technology deployed to some of the world’s most prominent automakers, insurance companies and fleet managers for more than a decade – as the telematics service provider’s first direct-to-consumer offering – hum is compatible with more than 150 million passenger vehicles on the road today. 

How hum works
Subscribers simply install hum through an onboard diagnostic (OBD) reader that is plugged into the vehicle’s OBD port, and a Bluetooth-enabled device that is clipped to the visor. The monthly subscription also includes a smartphone app allowing subscribers to monitor their vehicle health, contact help, and manage maintenance needs, even when they are not behind the wheel.

Through GPS-based technology, hum helps accurately dispatch advanced roadside assistance, alerts emergency personnel of a car’s location if a crash is detected, and assists authorities in locating a vehicle that has been reported stolen.

“By modernizing traditional ‘roadside assistance,’ hum is designed to deliver ultimate peace-of-mind behind the wheel,” Irlando added. “Now, in addition to being protected with live help and emergency services, drivers will know what their check engine light means and will be empowered with information and knowledge on how to get the problem fixed and what it may cost.”

Specific features include:

  • Pinpoint Roadside Assistance for breakdowns, flat tires, overheating, dead battery or virtually anything else that might require towing or roadside assistance.
  • Incident Alert & Emergency Assistance notifies the hum emergency response center if the system detects an incident. Help will be dispatched to the vehicle’s GPS location if an accident is confirmed or if there is no response from the driver for additional support. Drivers can also initiate a call at the push of a button to speak with a trained, live agent.
  • Auto Health & Diagnostics helps predict and prevent mechanical issues before they become bigger problems by giving subscribers’ insights into their car’s health via the hum web portal and smartphone app.
  • Mechanic’s Hotline connects subscribers with ASE Certified Mechanics providing personalized, immediate and unbiased consultation related to their vehicle’s repair and maintenance issues.
  • Parking & Meter Tools help drivers find where they left their vehicle — using the hum smartphone app — while also keeping tabs on how much time is left on the meter.
  • Maintenance Reminders and Alerts can be set for oil changes, tire rotations and more. Additionally, hum will automatically alert customers to vehicle troubles and general manufacturer recalls.
  • Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance is available at the subscriber’s request – hum can provide information to authorities in order to help locate the stolen vehicle.
  • Travel & Repair Discounts include hotels, vehicle rentals, related travel expenses, and auto maintenance.

Two year subscription plans start at $14.99 per month plus taxes, fees and equipment for the first vehicle (including the hardware, valued at $120) with the option to add other vehicles for less. For more information and to purchase hum, visit hum.com.

Filed under: Tech Industry Tagged: Bluetooth, Connected car, Global Positioning System, Hum, Verizon, Verizon Hum

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Ben Lovejoy

August 26th


October 2015
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