Tag Archives: Escort

Gizmo updates from MobileCon

Escort’s macho Smokey and the Bandit-style crowd sourcing platform is finding its feminine side. Their flagship 9500 model is sporting a pearl white finish with pink trim, all in support of the Susan G. Koman Foundation. Carrie would approve.

A company spokesman wouldn’t divulge subscriber numbers except to say growth is “huge”, with some interesting channel partners in the pipeline.

DeviceAnywhere, which offers developers online test-bed access to a long list of mobile devices and operating systems, was acquired a year ago by Keynote. I took a look at their business model back in 2009, and liked it.

Hottest dev frontier: testing HTML5 across the entire mobile ecosystem. They say it’s working well enough as everyone climbs the learning curve. Their Borg Mother Ship for mobile phones is looking slicker too.

Immersion is building a market for its smart phone haptic technology, “reaching out to developers” with their new Reverb product which automatically turns audio into a tactile experience.

It builds on their original release, which accesses the vibration functions in an Android phone and exposes an API to developers which allows them to make it buzz and shake in response to other actions. Their classic demo is a guitar app – you strum a tune on the screen, and the strings tickle your fingers like the real thing.

With Reverb, developers can avoid the heavy lifting by just feeding application audio into the API and, along with a little tweaking, let the software come up with some cool shakes to match the sound. Shooter games are an obvious market, but the marquee demo app is a roller coaster ride that uses haptic feed back to enhance that sinking-pit-in-your-stomach feeling.

HeartMath turns the heart rate monitor concept on its head. HRMs are mostly used by athletes as a personal tachometer to maintain a proper level of workout intensity.

Instead, HeartMath measures what it calls heart rate variability, in other words how much and how often your heart rate is jumping around. It’s a device that ties into an iOS app. The purpose of the information is to reduce stress – it comes bundled with stress management exercises to help you find your happy place.


Smokey and the Crowdsource Bandit

Burt Reynolds made a couple of good movies and several bad ones featuring fast cars, CB radios and a determined, but dim-witted, police pursuit. A 21st Century remake of Smokey and the Bandit or Cannonball Run would feature Escort Inc’s SmartCord-enabled radar detectors, which can pull in real time radar/lidar trap information from every similarly equipped car on the road and display it on a smartphone screen.

They call it “social networking for the road”. Sheriff Buford T. Justice might call it a nationwide scofflaw conspiracy.

The SmartCord connects one of four Escort radar detector models (plus one from a second manufacturer) to an iPhone or compatible Android device by way of an automobile power adaptor. Escort’s phone app takes radar and laser readings from the detector, adds GPS tags and transmits it via the Internet to Escort’s central server.

The raw data from the road is then assessed, false alarms are scrubbed out and it’s merged into a real time, color coded tactical map, which is then displayed on the phone’s screen. The icons and color codes tell every driver in the network what kind of speed traps have been spotted, and indicates whether or not it’s a fresh sighting.

Of course, it’s all meant to promote excessive speed safe driving. The app can be configured to warn a driver when he edges over the speed limit. Why else would NASCAR wannabes law-abiding drivers buy such a thing?

Escort says that there are 2 to 3 million drivers with SmartCord-capable detectors on the road already. All they need to join the conspiracy network is a SmartCord, iPhone or Droid and $40 a year. The cowboy hat and Sally Field are what it’s all about optional.