If you are like most people, you have a busy life. Between your job, kids and family, pets, hobbies and interests, your day is likely filled with all sorts of activity. There are many different options for keeping organized on your BlackBerry but, until now, none of these have been able to help when you’re in a hurry and run out the door and leave your BlackBerry on the counter. Phone Halo, which launched today at DEMO Spring 2010, is a simple device designed to do just that.
So how does Phone Halo work exactly? The development team covered four main points with this product: Protect, Find, Locate, Share.
- Protect: Attach the Phone Halo device to anything you use often that you are likely to forget, for example your keys, purse, laptop bag, etc. The Phone Halo application connects via Bluetooth to the halo’d item and the software tracks the distance between the halo’d item and phone. When either one becomes separated beyond a user defined distance, both ring. This alerts you that you are about to lose either item. It’s simple loss prevention.
- Find: Can’t find your keys before work? Simply hit the find button on your phone and your halo’d keys will ring. This works the other way around as well. If you have your halo’d keys, press the button on the halo sensor to cause your phone to ring.
- Locate: Phone Halo is integrated with GPS and Google Maps so you can find your stuff after you lose it. Once your phone or halo’d item has been left behind, the GPS location of where you left your item will be automatically recorded and uploaded.
- Share: Have the Google map of where you lost your halo’d belongings or phone text messaged, emailed, and even posted to your social networks such as Twitter.
I received a demo unit of Phone Halo a few weeks ago and was very excited to try it. I’m not the most organized person, and it seems like I am always forgetting something. I really need something to help me keep track of my things. I eagerly opened the Phone Halo packaging and inside was a small black device on a key ring, a USB cable, and an instruction card for set-up. The Phone Halo device charges via USB, so I plugged it into my laptop and read over the simple instructions. Using my BlackBerry browser, I headed over to the Phone Halo website to download the software. Once the Phone Halo device was charged and the software installed, setting up the application is simple as it is easy to navigate and very intuitive to use. After I got the device paired to my BlackBerry, I did some testing to see how well the notifications work. I have to say I am pretty impressed! The audio notifications turn on within seconds of your BlackBerry and the Phone Halo device exceeding the range you determined at set-up, and if you choose for a text or email to be sent on your behalf to one of your contacts, it also is sent right away. As far as the audio notifications go, you can choose to have your phone ring with any ringtone or audio file on your BlackBerry. An added feature that I thought was a nice touch: you can set the application to lock your phone if it has been out of range of the Phone Halo device for an amount of time that you determine. So if you have actually lost your BlackBerry somewhere, you have added piece of mind that no one will be able to gain access to your information.
All-in-all Phone Halo is an exciting new addition to BlackBerry accessories that I’m sure many people will find to be a savior on a daily basis.
Phone Halo supports most BlackBerry models, including Curve, Pearl, Tour, Bold, and 8800 and can be purchased directly from their website. It will set you back $59.99, but in the long run, I feel this device has the potential to pay for itself rather quickly if you consider all the headache you can save yourself and peace of mind you gain knowing your stuff is always nearby.
I also wanted to note, Phone Halo is this team’s first project. They are recent graduates of UCSB and have worked hard to develop and produce this product. I hope to see more from them, as I feel they are creative and obviously have a desire to enhance the smartphone community.
Halo Bluetooth Device, Hardware Features:
- Size: 1.85 x 1.1 x 0.59 inches
- Lithium Ion Polymer Rechargeable Battery
- Battery life: Over 1 week
- Recharging method: Micro USB via provided cable
- Maximum Device Alarm Volume: 95dB
- Class 2, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
- Range: ~30 ft / 10 m max.
- Multi-functional button used to silence the device alert, silence phone alert, and cause the phone to ring