Notification centers, Bluetooth speakers, and wireless charging docks are nothing new – but the concepts find a common place in the Glowdeck, a project that combines all three functionalities in one package – and a single price tag.
Glowdeck Press:As you can see in the video, the press coverage of Glowdeck has been unbelievable. Literally – I sometimes have to do a double take to realize that the reviews I’m reading are about our product.
But it’s not just the press that’s talking. The stuff you guys (our incredible backers) have been saying on social media (and in our comments section) is what really energizes us to deliver for you. And to show you we mean it, we’ve started putting some of your publicly-posted comments up alongside reviews from the press at the top of our campaign page.
And Glowdeck Press… :When we set out to design Glowdeck, we wanted it to contain cutting-edge technologies, but not to look or feel like a technological gadget. And nothing says “tech gadget” like a swarm of plastic buttons on a product. Our answer? Make the whole thing a button. You can press (or hold) the left, front, and right sides of the box, and Glowdeck will respond by doing what we think you’d want it to do in different contexts.
- Playing music? Press left/right to lower/raise the volume, or front to toggle play/pause.
- Looking at your Streams? Left navigates back; right navigates forward; and front dismisses the currently displayed Stream (along with any light notification it may have triggered).
- Need to activate the voice assistant? Press and hold the front for 2 seconds and you’re ready to speak a voice command.
- Alarm going off? Press front to snooze, and hold front to dismiss the alarm.
What is it?
The Glowdeck is a wood-based box that packs in speakers, microphone, wireless charging copper coils, LED display and lights, USB port, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The idea is that once you have the Glowdeck connected to your local network, you can receive all your phone’s notifications without ever touching the phone while it’s charging.
Because you can pair your smartphone to the Glowdeck via Bluetooth 4.0, the device can read the phone’s battery percentage to stop charging once it reaches 100 percent. Should the battery level drop (say, while you are sleeping overnight), it will recognize when the charge depletes and begin juicing up again.
“This method allows us to preserve the battery life of your phone, unlike most chargers out there that keep adding charge as long as the device is plugged in,” Kaufman explains.
Once paired, the Glowdeck can notify via colored lights or sound to denote new text messages, emails, or alarms. Pressing the Glowdeck also enables voice command via Siri or Google Voice. Since the deck is equipped with a microphone, you can also use it for handsfree phone conversations.
How well does it work?
In our hands-on testing, we tried charging with an iPhone 5c, 5s, and a Samsung Galaxy S4. Most Qi-compliant phones will wirelessly charge without any add-ons; those that do not (such as the three we tested) can easily become Qi-ready by using an adapter or specially-designed phone case.
It takes a few seconds for the Glowdeck to recognize the device on the surface before it begins charging, but once it does, it works like a charm.
On the speaker front, this thing can get pretty loud. It’s not as portable as a Jambox, but it’s a great device for playing music in a social setting without rapidly depleting your phone’s battery life. If you really want to get fancy, the Glowdeck can also sync with the music and display light shows to match the rhythm of the tunes.
Kaufman and the Glowdeck team are currently working on an accompanying app that will allow users to customize the LED display, news streams, and light notifications. Just like you could change light colors to denote different notifications with the Philips Hue smart bulbs, you can set the Glowdeck to blink in different shades.
His project, currently aimed at beta testers, invites developers to play with the open-source hardware to make Glowdeck a true “companion to your smartphone.” At the time of publish, the project has nearly tripled its initial goal with three more weeks to go.