It's probably no secret that physical
buttons are slowly becoming rare on portable gadgets. Take
smartphones, for example. You have your big touch-sensitive screen,
which allows for things like gesture control and a neater aesthetic.
However, fingerprints are an unavoidable problem, and the dearth of
quick-launch buttons requires you to time-consumingly drill through
menus to execute simple actions – like turning on the LED flash or
beginning a voice recording.
Pressy. Click to Action !
Well, those Android users who feel
really annoyed by that latter issue ought to take a look at
Pressy, an ingenious little device being funded on Kickstarter.
Pressy is, basically, a tiny button that one inserts into their
phone's headphone jack. Different actions can be performed by hitting
Pressy a series of times, by long-pressing it, or by a mixture of
...on your HTC One
works by using an electrical connection in your smartphone's
headphone jack, the one normally used by the volume or play/stop
buttons on headphone cords. Newer tablets probably have this
functionality as well, though don't quote me on that. After
installing the free app, three different actions can be performed out
of the box. One Pressy click toggles the flashlight, a double click
snaps a photo, and a long click toggles silent mode.
A look at the Android app. Those blue rectangles on the right side of the screen correspond to the amount of long clicks (thick) and normal clicks (thin) needed to activate the adjacent action
More actions can be added – sending a
pre-set SMS message, closing all running apps, and beaming out one's
current location are three of the more interesting options. Fourteen
different click combinations in total can be set, and, according to
the Kickstarter FAQ, actions can also vary depending on the time of
day and your smartphone's state. For example, you can set a single press to open your
note-taking app in the morning, toggle your flashlight at night, and
answer the call if your phone is ringing. It's all up to you.
Keeping a low profile
The folks behind Pressy are also
looking to develop a special API, one that would allow developers to
embed Pressy into their apps and implement their own specific click
actions. Unfortunately, the campaign page is a little bit unclear
about the API, at one point stating it to be free for all Kickstarter
backers, and at another point requiring a $1000 pledge to gain access
to it. As well, platform restrictions mean that iOS users will be missing out on Pressy entirely, at
least for now.
Almighty? Nah, but they're fairly close
In any case, clearly this is quite a
bit of useful functionality provided by something not much larger
than two peas. A lot of people seem to agree with me, as, in about
a day, the $40,000 Kickstarter goal for Pressy was met and
surpassed, with a whopping $275,173 raised and 44 days to go as of
this writing. A $17 pledge nets you one Pressy, with larger pledges
getting you different colour options among other things. All of this
looks to ship out in March of next year. See the campaign page here.