Skip to main content
  1. Tech
  2. Gadgets & Tech
  3. Tech Gear

Six ways to make your smartphone smarter

See also

If you started the New Year with a new iPhone 5 or maybe a new Android smartphone, you’ve probably got the hang of it by now. So maybe’s it’s time to shift into second gear with some great new accessories and apps to make this thing really swing.

More Photos

PhotoFast i-FlashDrive HD

The i-FlashDrive HD is the one gadget you’ll need to easily move content from PC to iPhone to Android phone and back. Doesn’t matter if it’s an iPhone 30 pin connector or Lightning connector. Doesn’t matter if you need standard USB for your laptop or micro USB for your Android. The i-FlashDrive HD has them ALL. Simply slip apart the various sections and insert the proper connector.

In capacities from 8 GB to 64 GB, this will carry your movies or songs without maxing out the hard drive on your phone. Watch videos, view your photos, playback your MP3’s and backup your files and contacts. The i-FlashDrive lets your phone grow with you and makes it easy to share those files with anyone else you choose – despite their platform.

Check out their line at www.photofast.tw. Watch the video.

Capti Narrator

While only available for the iPhone and iPad presently, this is a wonderful, free tool for listening to web content while driving, biking, exercising – whatever. It converts articles, blogposts, PDF’s or unprotected eBooks to speech and reads the content to you. Best part – Capti is smart enough to read just the content you want and leaves out all the other nonsense on the page. No menus, navigation or ads.

It also saves your content and aggregates it so you can listen when you have time – EVEN if you are off-line. For example: go to your Capti app and launch the browser. Surf to let’s say, CNN.com. Find a story you want read, hold down on the link to the story and then select “Add to Playlist” from the popup. The story has been added to your playlist and can be listened to whenever and where ever you like.

You can also add items to your playlist from Dropbox, Google Drive or your clipboard.

Want to speed up the playback? Adjust the speeds from 100 to 500 if you really want your story fast.

The app is free and comes with one female human voice included. An in-app extra purchase lets you buy one of up to 30 other voices if you like – but it’s not mandatory.

Be a sweetie and introduce your parents/grandparents to this app. For those with failing eyesight, this can be a wonder.

Check out their website at www.captivoice.com. Windows and Mac users, be patient – they are working on a version for you.

Gavio ‘Man of Steel’ Headphones

While at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, I was introduced to Gavio – an up and coming headphone manufacturer with a new licensing agreement with DC Comics. Their new Metallon Zinc headphones come in a stylish, Superman blue color with a really nice flat cable that resists kinking and getting tangled up in your bag.

The built-in microphone is compatible with iPhone and other iOS devices, Samsung, HTC, Blackberry and most Android devices. The microphone sounds very clear and blocks a lot of the background noise. It’s a pleasure to use.

Each headphone set comes with three sizes of earbud sleeves, a carrying pouch and a handy, black, metal packing tin with the Superman “S” embossed on the cover.

Check out their line of headphones, speakers and accessories at www.mygavio.com.

Boomphones Pocket Speaker

Want to share your sound instead of keeping it to yourself? Less than an inch thick, this little pocketable speaker will rock any room in your house. With 360 degree sound, you’ve got speakers facing out each side and they sound absolutely awesome. No tinny sounds with these guys. Just like the name – these Boom!

With a built-in mic, the Boomphone Pocket Speaker becomes your new hands-free phone. Available in six color combinations.

Want even more sound – get two and pair them wirelessly at the same time.

Recharging is easy enough with a micro USB cable. When charged, they babies will last up to eight hours.

Check out their headphones, speakers and accessories at www.boomphones.com. Watch their video.

Nomad Chargekey

Why is it always hard to find the charging cable for your phone? I’m not sure, but there seems to be some law of nature that hides it when you need it most. Never again with this new product – Chargekey. Slip it on your key ring and you’ll always have a backup charging method for your iPhone 5 family of devices or with the Micro-USB model for your Samsung and Android devices.

Just the same size as a typical key, this thing is flexible and will easily plug your device into a USB charging port on a laptop.

Don’t drive? Got no keys? The check out the other HelloNomad product – the Chargecard. Same principle but different design – this one is shaped like a credit card and slips into your wallet or purse.

Check out their line at www.hellonomad.com . Watch their video.

G-Form Case

Lastly, what good are all these cool gadgets if you drop and kill your phone? Better make sure it’s protected. What may be the best protection going is a new technology from a company called G-Form.

What they refer to a Reactive Protection technology, basically means that your phone case stays soft and flexible until impact and then immediately becomes a rock hard barrier, protecting all its delicate electronic components. Bottom line – it’s a molecular tech that hardens just when needed. Pretty cool.

Their cases are available for a range of laptops, tablets and phones. They also make protective pads for all types of extreme sports.

Check out their whole line at www.g-form.com. Watch their video.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at travel.dougbardwell@gmail.com with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.

Advertisement