Here's a summary of the technology I talked about in my TRE Talk Radio Europe 'gadget guru' chat this afternoon:
Meizu Zero mobile phone
Chinese manufacturer Meizu has taken a recent design trend to its logical conclusion – or perhaps to its extreme. This is a phone with no sockets and no buttons, hence 'Zero'.
The phone looks like a single piece of shiny ceramic with a 6-inch display embedded in it. There’s no obvious way in except for tiny holes that are needed for the microphone – so, as you might expect, it’s protected against water and dust.
Under the screen is a fingerprint sensor for security. The screen also acts as the loudspeaker or earpiece – and there’s fast wireless charging. You press the side of the phone to adjust the volume but there aren’t any physical buttons there; there’s not even a SIM card slot because it uses an electronic eSIM.
The whole thing runs a custom version of the Android operating system and it is available to order for around a thousand pounds via crowd-funding site indiegogo.com
Moto G7 Plus mobile phone
Motorola is one of the longest-established names in mobile phones. It’s currently owned by Lenovo, the computer company, and it’s built a reputation for making straightforward no-nonsense smartphones.
Ahead of Mobile World Congress it’s announced four new models: the Moto G7 family, which consists of the G7, the G7 Play, the G7 Power and the G7 Plus.
The Moto G7 Plus is at the top of this particular range, although the lower-spec 'Power' has a better battery. Choose the Plus and you'll get an Android smartphone with a 6.2-inch full HD screen, toughened Gorilla Glass, an enhanced 16 megapixel camera on the back with optical image stabilization and a 12-megapixel camera on the front. The stereo speakers have been tuned by Dolby, it’ll recharge incredibly quickly and it’s resistant to being splashed by water.
It’s not some world-record holding top-spec smartphone with a four-figure price ticket: it’s £269 (just over €300) without a contract, which seems like a very good deal to me.
Cleansebot is, according to the manufacturers, the world’s first bacteria-killing robot. Picture the scene: you turn up at your hotel, the bed’s freshly made… but you really don’t know whether they pay as much care with their laundry as you do. Never mind, you whip the Cleansebot out of your suitcase and put it to work, killing any bacteria that might be lurking below the blankets.
Cleansebot is a circular disc, looking a bit like a fire alarm, but it contains similar technology to a robot vacuum cleaner. So you switch it on, put it on your bed and it drives around for half an hour, shining ultraviolet light to kill bacteria. The light shines underneath it and also comes out the top if the robot drives under the covers. There are 18 sensors built in to make sure it doesn’t get stuck or fall off the bed.
The device runs from rechargeable batteries that’ll give it up to 3 hours of use; each automated cleaning run is either 30 or 60 minutes depending on your preference, so there’s plenty of power.
At the moment the manufacturers are taking orders via crowd-funding site Indiegogo for a special offer price of $99 USD, which is around £77 plus shipping. Delivery is expected in April.
Squegg is an egg-shaped squeeze ball, hence the name. It’s the kind of thing you might have on your desk to help you relieve stress. Or perhaps you might want one to help strengthen your grip for sport or for physiotherapy.
What’s missing from a regular squeeze ball is technology. Squegg adds it. On the outside it’s a silicone ball but it contains a rechargeable battery, a Bluetooth transmitter and some sensors to measure your grip. As a result, it can talk to an app on your phone and track your progress. It’ll also play grip-related games with you and will even let you challenge your friends – a bit like arm-wrestling without having to be in the same room.
It’ll run for around 80 hours before it needs recharging – and if you don’t use it, standby time is over five months. US pricing is $39.99 plus shipping (around £36 / €41).