Push notifications on your smartphone or tablet can let you know each time you receive a new email, text, Facebook message and more, but wouldn’t it be simpler if you could view all your updates in one place? San Jose-based company WOWFii Inc. demonstrated such a solution at CES 2012.
The Feedair Friend is a $50 USB-powered speech bubble-shaped piece of hardware about the size of an alarm clock. In addition to looking pretty on your desk, it displays ticker-style alerts for your latest messages, along with news updates and notifications from stores and banks, for example.
Feedair also developed a software-based version of its mobile notification service. An Android/iPhone app also manages and delivers your notifications, and it breaks them down into 20 different categories, called fidgets, such as social networking, personal interests and retail services. Users can download and configure the fidgets that are most relevant to them, which allows for a truly customized experience. Both the physical and app versions of Feedair went on sale in March.
The market for smart devices that simplify users’ lives by streamlining news and notifications isn’t brand new; take products such as the Karotz rabbit from French company Violet. But while the Karotz delivers spoken-aloud RSS and social networking updates as an afterthought, the Feedair is devoted to this task. Consequently, the user experience is much more seamless.
WOWFii CEO Simon Milner told us that Feedair can provide helpful safety alerts in addition to less-urgent updates. For example, if a user leaves the house after putting food in the oven, a check-in feature on the Feedair’s cookbook fidget will provide an alert so the user gets home before dinner is burnt. Milner mentioned another possible use: Orthodox Jews, who cannot turn on electric devices during the Sabbath, can glance at the Feedair device because it was turned on ahead of time.
Based on our hands-on time with the device and app plus the innumerable ways this service could make your life easier, we have high hopes for the Feedair. We can imagine people using multiple Feedairs throughout their home to be keyed in to important information no matter what room they’re in.
Employees: 12Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.