back to article Fandroids blow $200,000 on secret PANIC BUTTON for their smartmobes

The cleverly-designed Pressy gadget drops into the headphone socket on any Android handset, adding a button that can be linked to any action. While Apple might spend its time eradicating buttons, and touchscreens remain flavour of the decade, physical controls have advantages and there are rarely enough of them. Meanwhile the …

COMMENTS

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  1. William Donelson

    Very clever

    ... and being programmable (if done right) makes it twice as good. I never use my Nexus for music etc anyway!

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Very clever

      I use my Galaxy S3 for music every day. But I have Bluetooth headphones so the headphone socket is still empty all the time.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very clever

      Maybe, but no real world use in a mobile phone that cannot be done in another way. This has solved a problem that doesn't exist.

      That is the reality, dispute and downvote if you wish.

      1. LarsG
        Meh

        Re: Very clever

        Headphone sockets will be a thing of the past in the next few years. Once eliminated phones can be made thinner. If you have put money into this, think again.

        1. Dr?

          Re: Very clever @LarsG

          Not convinced that wires will go that quick. Personally, I don't need another gadget to recharge. And the bulk lost from wires would be gained by batteries.

          I won't be swapping my Sennheisers anytime soon.

          1. illiad

            Re: Very clever @LarsG

            yes, and if you are wanting an ultra slim mobile, then the battery capacity will have to go down... boasting rights over practicality!!

        2. MrXavia
          Facepalm

          Re: Very clever

          Really? then HOW may I ask will you listen to your music once your bluetooth headset dies? also, have you ever tried using bluetooth handsfree kits, I've used £300 sets for work, and they are crap...

          I end up plugging in the free supplied headphones rather than use the crappy Jabra things

      2. Circadian
        FAIL

        Re: Very clever

        @Anonymous

        "Maybe, but no real world use in a mobile phone that cannot be done in another way. This has solved a problem that doesn't exist.

        "That is the reality, dispute and downvote if you wish."

        What this really means is that you are unable to think of a problem that this will not be a solution for. It goes along the same lines as "anyone can design an encryption system that they are unable to break".

      3. Steve Knox
        Holmes

        Re: Very clever

        Maybe, but no real world use in a mobile phone that cannot be done in another way.

        So? There's nothing in mobile phones that couldn't have been done another way. GSM could have been done lots of other ways. The question is not whether or not there may be other ways to do something. The question is whether this is one good way to do it. The answer is yes.

        This has solved a problem that doesn't exist.

        As with the majority of gadgetry, this is in large part true. It doesn't diminish the value of the gadget, though.

        "Invention is the mother of necessity." -- Thorstein Veblen

      4. illiad

        Re: Very clever

        soooooo.... you have a hardware switch for your camera???

        1. andreas koch
          Happy

          @ illiad - Re: Very clever

          Yep.

      5. jubtastic1

        Re: Very clever

        I thought it seemed clever, then I remembered it's for android and so there's no reason their software couldn't be set up to capture a sequence of clicks on an existing hardware button rather than requiring it's own dedicated one.

  2. Luke McCarthy

    I don't know why more computing like devices have user-assignable keys/buttons.

  3. Cliff

    Actually, rather nice idea

    Especially the user configurable click patterns - it allows for the basic things you want *now* to be to hand.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    oh boy, turning a $300 phone into a wireless computer joystick

    see above.

    1. John Bailey

      Re: oh boy, turning a $300 phone into a wireless computer joystick

      Yep.. Choices are good.

  5. Len Goddard
    Thumb Up

    Yes, a physical shutter button for the camera!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Yes, a physical shutter button for the camera!"

      Oh, like the iPhone.

      1. OffBeatMammal
        Happy

        Re: "Yes, a physical shutter button for the camera!"

        funnily enough ... it's the one think I've missed hugely since going from my Lumia 800 to the Nexus4 ... that physical button is a huge benefit.

        Before the iPhone I remember my Windows Mobile 5.x and 6.x devices had the ability to set what a short or long press would do on pretty much any of the buttons (and they had copy'n'paste!)

        I like that Pressy have come up with a pretty cheap solution for the phone you have now and probably a couple of generations (face it... headphone sockets are probably not going away any time soon) so unless Google lock down the APIs like on iOS to block this it's actually not a bad thing to have (and yes, I have ordered one!)

  6. chris lively

    Not the right design

    That buttons looks like it would easily be pressed while the device is bouncing around in a pocket or purse.

    I already don't like the toggle for silent to be a physical switch on the phone.

    Maybe if it had a flip cap to prevent accidental pressings...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Not the right design

      While true, I hope it's something they have covered. If not, I hope such enthusiasm for the base product will mean both further development and additional options (see the joystick comment above ;) )!

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Not the right design

        Presumably it can/will be disabled when the phone is locked.

  7. UKLooney

    Looking at the specs and prototypes, it is simply a single resistive switch, meaning that the price point should be easily achievable. I'd imagine that manufacturing cost will be in the single digits if put into mass production.

    1. Cliff

      I think the novelty is in the application

      In both senses, applying a resistive switch to the audio I/O on the device, and the application to poll/monitor for presses and register the click pattern.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: I think the novelty is in the application

        Quote "and the application to poll/monitor for presses and register the click pattern."

        Application is linux kernel. Headphone presense on Android phones is reported via the /dev/input subsystem same way you would have had a keyboard. It is simply a matter of hijacking the event later on in android.

  8. Bob Vistakin
    Megaphone

    "Report a WinPho sighting" ????

    Careful - Orlowski is watching.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Megaphone

      Re: "Report a WinPho sighting" ????

      Well, I've seen one in the past six months. Not sure how many switching cycles this device is rated for, but as a Winpho alert I doubt it'll get worn out.

      Still, another coded message to moron smartphone designers: We now also want assignable physical buttons (and micro SD, removable battery, two days or more battery life, proper DNLA client, and and and and).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Report a WinPho sighting" ????

        "Still, another coded message to moron smartphone designers: We now also want assignable physical buttons (and micro SD, removable battery, two days or more battery life, proper DNLA client, and and and and)."

        Do not forget, larger, reinforced pocket to hold larger, heavier device, spare cards, spare battery (is just one enough?), I get two to three days or more of battery life all ready (email, SMS, calls, web, couple of applications for weather, timetables, internet radio etc.): but then I do not spend eight hours a day living a proxy life through my mobile.

        Perhaps you need a new mobile.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @AC

          Actually I DO carry a spare battery, but I can get 2 days battery life from my phone, unless I am a poor signal area that is.

          It has a fairly decent DLNA client/Server its cool to send pictures/videos/music to the TV from my mobile...

          I also have 3-4 micro SD cards in my wallet most of the time, I like to keep a backup on my person, and often some media if I get stuck somewhere, etc...

  9. Tom 7 Silver badge

    and twenty two thousand clicks to change it to whatever

    you feel it is necessary for at the time - using the screen! iChoice is not what people really want.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why bother? the size of phones now means you can club someone to death with them.

  11. Herby

    Another application?

    Send Morse code text messages? Probably better than the wimpy keyboard, you never know.

    Also, the iPhone has a couple of buttons to adjust the "volume". For those of you playing at home, they will also take pictures.

    1. ThomH

      Re: Another application?

      Morse code? That doesn't even have the prefix property. Maybe a Huffman coding on the alphabet with frequencies dictated by your language?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Choices.

    1. I like it - I'll get one, or

    2. I don't like it, I won't get one.

    Anything else to add?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It must be crap

    It must be crap, otherwise the Iphone would have one.

    Oops, sorry, compared with Android they're a niche market now, aren't they?

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: It must be crap

      Yep. The same way Ferrari and Porsche and Lamborghini are niche.

      Making the argument that having the majority of market share implies quality is pretty imbecilic coming from any kind of linux supporter, given that you spend most of your free time slagging off Windows.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It must be crap

        iPhone, niche? I thought the iPhone was the default chav phone now? And if your on the dole it was mandatory to own one?

  14. Gob Smacked

    Nice idea for Smashung HOME button too...

    Only needs root or a root enabled launcher I'd think.

    And what if one could include a "wipe all" press combination sequence ? Would it make a nice toy for villains...

    1. OffBeatMammal
      Trollface

      Re: Nice idea for Smashung HOME button too...

      doesn't need root, and the app has to be installed and configured to perform whatever actions you choose on the button press so ... if you had that level of access to the phone already you don't need to plug something in and install an app to cause mischief...

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other uses

    Can it be used to input data at higher speeds?

    Geiger counter on a phone would be handy indeed.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    unambiguously located

    The problem with things like volume buttons is locating them in a hurry. A button that stands on its own, usually on top of a phone, and which can be disabled simply by removing it, seems potentially useful.

    One of the things I liked about webOS phones was the easily located and unambiguous silent switch. As the owner of what, if recent reports are correct, is the only Q10 in the world*, this is something I miss, just as I would like to be able to fix the camera only to respond to the space key.

    *yes I am a loser but I deal with it one sob at a time.

    1. mIRCat
      Thumb Up

      Re: unambiguously located

      " *yes I am a loser but I deal with it one sob at a time."

      You've hit my pity button. Take a thumbs up.

    2. chriswakey

      Re: unambiguously located

      The switch on the top of the Pre was great.

      No mess, no fuss, just a simple click and everything was silent.

      Shame the rest of the hardware was pretty dodgy.

  17. lotus49

    If you don't need one of these, feel free not to buy one.

    I think is't a pretty neat idea and, if they end up making them, I shall probably buy one. I can think of lots of uses for something like this.

  18. Sebastian A
    Paris Hilton

    How

    do you remove it?

  19. CmdrX3

    It looks relatively easy to insert into the headphone socket, however it doesn't look quite as easy to remove. I'm a nail biter and sometimes have trouble opening a tin of coke without a penny so I'd hate to see how I get on with this unless they use some kind of lip or pull ring on it.

    1. Mystic Megabyte
      Boffin

      @cmdrx3

      Cut a V shaped notch in a credit card?

    2. Maharg
      Joke

      nail biter

      Maybe stop biting your nails? It’s a disgusting habit, its bad for you, and just makes everyone think you are a weak willed adult that needs comforting, what else do you do, suck your thumb?

      Now if you will excuse me, I have to go outside and have my lunch time cigarette

  20. JDX Gold badge

    Android only?

    Is there a technical reason WP/iOS can't support this too? I don't know how the 3.5mm jack specification works, does Anroid support things others do not, or only support them differently?

    Technical answer rather than slagging off iOS requested :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Android only?

      I would guess it would be to do with the fact that it needs a widget to run. Android will let widgets keep running, but iOS will be a PITA and not let you keep the software running all the time as it would be an app. Just a guess.

      1. JimmyPage
        Stop

        WP8

        I believe WP8 will also allow a tile to run in front of the lock screen

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