The market for appcessories—physical products, usually small toys, that users can control using an app on their smartphone or tablet—is exploding just in time for the holiday season. So far we’ve seen dart launchers and radio-controlled helicopters, and now thanks to Dexim’s AppSpeed, we can add monster trucks and sports cars to the list. We spent some time behind the wheel of the monster truck version of Dexim’s app for the iPad here at CTIA (the sports car is for the iPhone) and were pleasantly surprised with how easy and fun controlling the mini car crusher was.
The app communicates with the truck through a small RF transmitter that plugs into your iPad’s adapter port. Once you plug the transmitter in and download the free app from the App Store, you’re ready to roll. There’s no need to pair the devices, which is a nice touch that makes it easier for kids to set up. There are two ways to control the truck. One option allows you to slide an animated car back and forth on a short roadway to accelerate and reverse the truck, while two steering buttons let you turn it. This control set was fun, but it required us to concentrate on where the buttons were located and not on where the truck was going.
The second control option lets users steer the truck using the iPad’s built-in accelerometer. Tipping the iPad forward and back makes the truck speed up or reverse, while tipping the iPad to the left or right will turn the truck in the corresponding direction. This was far and away the best way to control the truck and is sure to be how most users play with AppSpeed.
In addition to driving options, users can also change the truck’s maximum speed from the app. So if you’re a new user, you can start the truck off slow until you get a handle on the controls and feel like burning rubber down your office’s hallway. Range on the app’s radio transmitter is limited to roughly 3o feet, depending on if you drive it around corners.
The monster truck and sports car versions of AppSeed are available now and will cost your $69.99 for the truck and $59.99 for the car. Check out our hands-on video below to see AppSpeed in action.