It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s . . . your smartphone. Superheroes come in all forms, including the smartphone in your pocket. We already know how awesome this invention is for making calls, checking email, and surfing the web, but today’s innovators have kicked it up a notch with some super-cool developments. Check out four of the hottest new smartphones on the market today.
Image via Flickr JD Hancock
The Amazon Fire can’t see through you, but it uses X-Ray technology to help you learn more about what you’re seeing. The phone’s X-Ray for Movies and TV Shows feature “senses” what entertainment a user is experiencing and provides a wealth of instant information about it. This feature is accessed through the phone’s unique Firefly button, which also suggests movie and song playlists based on users’ personal tastes.
Purchase of the phone comes with freebies, including a no-cost Amazon Prime membership. This membership, normally priced at $99, offers unlimited movie and music streaming and access to books from a free Kindle lending library. Fire owners also get unlimited storage for their photos and videos in Amazon Cloud Drive.
Another outstanding feature is the Fire’s ability to deliver streamed media with crisp, clear surround sound. Part of Amazon’s mission is to sell media products, so it makes sense that their first phone would aspire to the highest sound quality possible.
Photography buffs who dream a phone camera equal to their favorite point-and-shoot device will love the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom. According to tech product reviewer CNET, the optical zoom on this smartphone yields a “more flexible camera” than any other smartphone on the market. In exchange for its fantastic photography, the Zoom has a few quirks that some might consider drawbacks: the phone is bulkier and heavier than other slim phone designs, making a Bluetooth headset almost mandatory for longer calls.
The Samsung Galaxy S5 does something no other smartphone can do: it measures your heart rate. Simply hold your finger to the sensor and, with lightning speed, the phone’s LED light senses the blood flow in your finger and converts it into biomedical data. This super-sensing technology isn’t altogether new, but it’s the first time a smartphone has offered it.
The Galaxy S5, now available on the T-Mobile network, delivers other standout features as well, like the finger print scanner that allows you to unlock it without a password, the impressive 5.1-inch display, and the dimply-soft back that feels velvety smooth in your hand.
Harvard biomedical engineer Dr. David Edwards wanted to find a way for people to send scented text messages, so he developed the oPhone with the help of his French corporation, Le Laboratoire. Edwards’ oPhone is set for release in mid-July. Owners will be able to send and receive scented text messages with the help of a free app.
The hardware behind this phone’s odorific ability is called the “oChip.” The oChip will allow users to combine various basic scents to create up to 356 send-able odors. Both sender and receiver will need an app-enabled phone to exchange messages.
Edwards said the motto behind his invention is, “An aroma tells a thousand pictures.” Indeed, research suggests that the human sense of smell is strongly linked to memory and emotion. Edwards and his partners hope this technology will elevate our digital communication experience to the next exciting level.
If you’re intrigued by the oPhone, you might first want to try the Scentee Plugin for your current phone. This plugin allows you to program “smell notifications” to occur when you get a new text or notification. An alarm-clock bell, for example, could be paired with a coffee aroma, allowing you to literally “wake up and smell the coffee.”
What’s your superpower? If you answered, “My smartphone,” you just might be the owner of one of the potent new devices mentioned above. These innovative gadgets won’t take you to infinity and beyond, but for now, they’re definitely the best at what they do.
Author: Joe Fortunato is a freelance writer who loves all things tech. He enjoys surfing the web, finding new gadgets to incorporate into his hobbies, and spending time on the water. You can find more of his work by checking out his Twittter, @joey_fort.