02.27.14 7:04 PM ET
Your Dentist Is Watching You Brush
A low-battery iPhone got you down? Good news, there’s tons of smarter technology just around the corner. From Google to Samsung, the cool kids of the tech world descended on Barcelona for the holy grail of mobile technology events this week: Mobile Congress 2014. From a NSA-resistant smartphone that self-destructs to a toothbrush that lets your dentist spy on you, here are the hip new gadgets coming soon to an Amazon near you—preferably by drone.
The Dentist Can See You Now
Oral B brushed its way into uncharted territory this week with the unveiling of a smart toothbrush that allows dentists to spy on your progress. Named the Bluetooth 4.0 Toothbrush, it connects with your iPhone to download data on your brushing schedule and send it over to your dentist. Proctor & Gamble (which owns Oral B) says their smartbrush, which is going on sale in the U.S. in June, is just the beginning of the “smart bathroom.” Next up, toilet tablet!
Google Street View Goes Polar
Polar bears are ready for their close-up. Cleverly taking advantage of International Polar Bear Day falling in the middle of Mobile World Congress, Google unveiled a series of 360-degree pictures of the burly white beasts in their natural habitat (in this case, Canada).
WhatsApp Speaks Up
Can a week where Facebook buys you for $19 million get any better? If you’re WhatsApp, apparently yes. Knocking the wind out of Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint simultaneously, the free text app announced that they will be adding a free (well, $1 a year) phone call feature this spring. With 330 million customers worldwide, the move is undoubtedly causing phone company executives to squirm. Barcelona, can you hear me now?
Take That, NSA
File this under “impeccable timing.” After more than a three year of work, Boeing Co unveiled a $600 phone with a built-in defense against the National Security Agency’s phone collecting program—which angered Americans and then some when it was exposed this year. A pro-privacy device, the Black Phone is being dubbed the most secure smartphone in existence. The phone maintains privacy by encrypting both phone calls and texting, and blocking companies like Google from collecting data. Whether or not it can prevent the NSA from collecting data remains to be seen, but any attempt to open the case will cause it to virtually self-destruct (read: make it completely inoperable). Hope they made enough for the entire RNC.
Who needs kid harnesses and leashes when you can slap a GPS on your pet and dog instead? Italian company “I’m Spas” released a waterproof bracelet that can successfully track the exact location of either your child or your pet (or both!) for just $250. If that’s not intense enough, you can create the equivalent of an invisible fence (sans shock factor) that will alert you if the trackee exits the zone. Catch you because they can.
Pictures You Can Touch And Feel
This tablet brings a whole new meaning to the phrase “hands on.” Japanese technology company Fujitsu raised the bar this week with the unveiling of their haptic “feely” tablet, which uses ultrasonic vibrations to produce different sensations to the touch. The tablet, which Fujitsu hopes to release as early as 2015, works by fluctuating the friction between your finger and the screen. Less friction, for example, can cause the screen to feel slippery (for say like, a picture of a stream).
Battle of the Smartwatches
It was a smartwatch showdown this year, as more than six companies showcased their version of a talented timepiece. With Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit, Samsung is pushing lightweight hardware with long-lasting battery life. Competing brand Sony is giving them a run for their money with a sleek SmartWear fitness band that tracks your exercise. For those who care less about the function and more about the look, Finish company Creoir debuted the Ibis Smart Watch, a beautiful crystal-stainless steel watch.