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Belkin Named as CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree



Belkin - LogoBelkin, market leader in mobile accessories, announced that it has been named a CES 2017 Innovation Awards Honoree in two categories: Portable Media Players & Accessories and Portable Power. The two products are Belkin’s Powerhouse Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone and Belkin’s Valet Charger Power Pack.

Belkin’s Powerhouse Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone offers consumers an easy 2-in-1 solution for turn-key charging. It has the following consumer benefits:

  • Built-in Apple Watch magnetic charging module with integrated lighting connector for the iPhone
  • Integrated 2-in-1 charging solution optimally charges the Apple Watch and iPhone simultaneously
  • Elevated design keeps the Apple Watch and iPhone protected and easier to see while charging
  • MFi certification ensures that this product passed rigorous mechanical, stress, and electrical tests per Apple standards

Belkin’s Valet Charger Power Pack offers consumers on the go a way to charge Apple Watch and iPhone simultaneously. The Valet Charger is more than just a powerful 6700mAh portable battery. A built-in Magnetic Charging Module offers a battery boost for the Apple Watch, while a USB port connects via Lightning cable to simultaneously charge your iPhone. With 2Amp power, this 2-in-1 portable battery delivers 1 Amp to optimally charge the Apple Watch and 1 Amp to charge your iPhone. The Valet Charger is the perfect partner to keep your devices charged, anywhere.

Belkin’s Powerhouse Charge Dock for Apple Watch + iPhone and the Valet Charger Power Pack will be displayed at CES 2017, which runs January 5-8, 2017, in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Connected crock-pot is a new WeMo-enabled device (CES)



belkin-wemo-crockpotMany of us place dinner in a slow cooker and wonder off to run errands, even go to work. For the most part, this works out well. The stew or chili is perfect when we arrive back home to eat.

But, things happen. We can get delayed in our travels, or perhaps even realize that we’ll be arriving ahead of schedule. So, while an internet-connected crock-pot may sound like a strange, or even unnecessary, idea, it actually could prove quite useful. And Belkin, through the WeMo line of home automation, is bringing you just such a thing.

“The WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is the first WeMo equipped product stemming from Belkin’s collaboration with Jarden Consumer Solutions, a family of household appliance brands. The Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is the first smartphone controllable slow cooker, which allows you to adjust the cooker’s settings from anywhere giving you greater flexibility and control over life’s unexpected moments”, the company announces.

The new crock-pot will retail for $99.99 and is available immediately.


Belkin shows WeMo Smart LED Bulb at CES



belkin-wemo-lightsHome automation has quietly become one of the big product lines at CES in Las Vegas. Many of the primary manufacturers in the field are there, showing off new devices, including Belkin.

The company, commonly thought of in the networking world, has a lineup it calls WeMo. One of the new additions to the line is a smart LED bulb, which works similar to the Philips Hue. “Belkin’s new LED Lighting Starter Set and WeMo Smart LED Bulbs allow you to control, schedule and dim your smart LED bulbs from anywhere”.

The long-lasting bulbs are 60-watt equivalent with 800 Lumens and 3000 Kelvin for a bright warm white light. The lights can be controlled either individually or in groups, and are fully dimmable.

The bulbs can be purchased as a starter kit, which includes a WeMo Link that can control up to 50 bulbs. The set is available for $129.99, and individual bulbs retail for $39.99 each.


Belkin turns your iPad into a Media Player



Belkin, a company who has been known for its routers, is branching out into other areas, not for the first time. Now the company wants to turn your iPad into a personal media player that you carry around. Not that iOS was not already capable of that, but Belkin want to enhance it.

The device comes in the form of a case and much of what it does is enhance sound level and quality — something Apple seems to struggle with. Although, to be fair, many other mobile devices do as well.

The cover, named the Thunderstorm, not only adds an enhanced speaker, but also a stand, to help with your movie viewing. The case is available now, although the Lightening Connect version is not. It retails for $199.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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Update On Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard For iPad 2 & iPad 3



Belkin Bluetooth Folio KeyboardRecently I purchased a Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard for my iPad 2. The unit operates via Bluetooth. When I initially began using it I noticed there was a rather prominent problem with rather frequent lost or multiple keystrokes when a given key was only hit once. I didn’t know if this was a Bluetooth problem, or a problem with iOS 6 taking too many CPU cycles on an iPad 2. An iPad 3 might not suffer from the same lost keystroke problem when connected to a Bluetooth keyboard since it comes with a faster processor with much improved performance.

So, I started a bit of troubleshooting. One of the things I suspected might be stealing CPU cycles was app notifications. My one and a half year old iPod Touch really became sluggish after installing iOS 5 on it. I was able to mitigate the sluggish iPod response problem somewhat by turning off push notifications for the vast majority of apps. So, I turned off all of the push notifications on my iPad 2.

Turning off all push notifications did seem to help, but did not entirely fix the problem. I started experimenting with typing old standby typing phrases such as “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” This phrase seemed to type in just fine with no lost keystrokes. But then when I started typing other things, I noticed the lost keystroke problem immediately reared its ugly head once again.

What could the problem be? What about that automatic spell check that is enabled by default in iOS 6? Could that be an issue? I went into the iPad settings and turned off the automatic spell checker, along with the automatic correction feature, as well as eliminating the sample shortcut that comes with iOS 6, and that helped out even more.

For good measure, I also went through and deleted as many apps as I could that I really don’t make use of on my iPad.

Since my iPad 2 is WiFi only, I also have an external “Dual” GPS unit that connects to the iPad via Bluetooth so I can use the iPad as a GPS device with apps such as TomTom, USA Atlas (Hema) and Co Pilot. I noticed if I turn it off while I’m using the Belkin Bluetooth keyboard, it helps reduce the occasional lag problem even more.

All of these things combined have improved the Bluetooth keyboard response dramatically. There are still a few dropped keys now and then, but at this point they are much less frequent to the point where the keyboard is now quite usable.

It’s likely that had I never upgraded the iPad 2 beyond iOS version 4, there likely wouldn’t be a Bluetooth keyboard lag problem. Why is it we seem to always scream for the latest iOS updates, but then ultimimately end up annoyed by poor performance?


Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard For iPad 2 & iPad 3



20121013-022128.jpg

Not long after I purchased my iPad 2, I ended up finding a Bluetooth keyboard case combination on a discount table at a Flying J truck stop priced for $15 dollars. For that low price, I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

Unfortunately, you do get what you pay for. The keyboard quality was very low. It was extremely difficult to type on the rubberized keys — actually no better than the virtual iPad keyboard.

So, I did some looking around online for Bluetooth iPad keyboard reviews and ended up getting a Belkin “YourType” Folio + Keyboard.

Typing on the Belkin keyboard is much easier than the experience I had with the other keyboard. The keys on the Belkin seem to work a bit better and have better overall placement for touch typing.

The Belkin keyboard does not replicate the experience of typing on a good computer keyboard. Also, there seems to be a problem with some occasional lag from when keys are pressed, or even key presses that are missed or ignored. I figure this problem is likely caused by iPad 2 performance issues, and not the Belkin keyboard itself since I experienced the same issues with the prior inexpensive Bluetooth keyboard.

It’s possible that I just have too many apps installed and they are stealing CPU cycles. My iPod Touch, which has an even slower processor than my iPad 2, also suffers occasional stuttering and delays just with everyday use. Turning off push notifications does seem to help this problem on the iPod and may help out on the iPad. The next step would be to start deleting unused or underused apps to see if CPU cycles can be freed back up for improved Bluetooth keyboard performance.

The functionality as a case seems to work as expected. The iPad 2 itself fits snugly in the sleeve. There are cut outs for the on/off switch and volume control, as well as for both the front and rear facing cameras and the home button. It comes with a micro USB charging cable, but you will have to provide the USB charging port.

If I can clear up the Bluetooth lag problem, the Belkin “YouType” Folio + Keyboard would make for a good typing experience for the iPad.


GNC-2010-01-25 #546 Live from Jacksonville



My time here in Florida is rapidly coming to a close and I will be heading back to Honolulu. I am suffering bandwidth withdrawals as the hotel connectivity is simply horrid. Someday Hilton will figure out how to keep their customers happy. But the Homewood Suites here in Jacksonville need to work on their bandwidth. Should be an exciting day on Wednesday we will see if all the fuss is worth it.

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