Just in case you hadn’t realised (where have you been?) it’s Black Friday this week and for many people the lure of investing in shiny new cut price gadgets is sure to be overwhelming (it’s also sure to go on beyond Friday and into next week too).
But, even if you have new gadget lust, there is another, some might say, better way. That is to extend the life of your existing gadgets by adding on adapters with extra smart features.
They may be gadgets you really don’t want to replace either, like a beloved old watch or an expensive pair of headphones that you only bought a couple of years ago.
By retrofitting them with these accessories you can help them to keep up with technological innovations and do your bit to fight the tide of planned product redundancy!
So if you can ignore the Black Friday bargains here are five lifesavers that can transform your existing gadgets.
If you own a decent pair of wired headphones but want to invest in one of the new breed of wire free phones (like the new iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S8) then Poppins is for you. It is a small unobtrusive Bluetooth adaptor which essentially can make any pair of earphones wireless and compatible with the new mobiles.
It has some other clever uses too. If you plug a Poppins into a stereo system you can turn your old boombox wireless, and with two Poppins two people can share music together – voila instant silent disco.
Or parents travelling in car with their kids can keep the backseat tantrums at bay by using Poppins-enabled Bluetooth headphones to share music streaming from a phone or tablet. This then leaves the parents to listen to different music in the front.
Poppins was launched on Indiegogo in November and hit its target in three days. It costs $20 and has guaranteed shipping to anywhere in the world in February.
Amazon Fire TV stick with Alexa
Love your old TV but starting to covet one of those sets with smart facilities built in? There are many quick and easy solutions to your problem but the best could well be the £39.99 Amazon Fire TV stick with Alexa.
It is a small device that plugs into your set (though if your TV is old you might have to budget a few extra quid for a HDMI splitter) and hey presto add lots of smart TV facilities. These include access to YouTube, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Spotify, Curzon Home Cinema and more.
Not only is is very cheap, but it also has Amazon’s voice recognition/search system Alexa baked in. So you tell it to search for a programme and it finds it for you. If you want to avoid Amazon there are plenty of other options room including the Google Chromecast and the Roku.
Smart Buckle fitness adapter for your classic watch
These days many people are obsessed with the number of steps they have taken and calories burned. The problem is though that not everyone wants to invest in a smartwatch, or even one of slightly tacky looking fitness bands.
If you own a watch that you love – maybe one that has passed through the generations – you can still use it to track your exertions via an elegant product called Smart Buckle.
It is essentially a tiny fitness tracker, which retails for $99, which is designed to fit unobtrusively and virtually invisibly into your watch’s strap. You then pair it up with your smartphone and it works in a similar way to existing fitness trackers, but more accurate.
It is another device from the Gooseberry company which also produces Poppins.
Ever been tempted by the idea of an electronic bike, but don’t want to trade in that lovely mountain bike or vintage racer that your treasure? There are lots of ways of upgrading an existing bike to become an e-bike.
However, one of the best is add-E, an Austrian system that quite literally works with any bike. To be fair at 899 Euros it isn’t cheap, but the add-E is very easy to fit, is tiny (well for e-bike upgrades) and yet can be very powerful.
There are literally hundreds of battery extenders currently on sale, but few are as ingenious as Volterman. After a very successful Indiegogo campaign this smart wallet, which has a long roll call of features is due to ship in February retailing from $109.
Even though it is tiny it can give you a whole charge for your smartphone. It also boasts alarm features so that if your leave your phone or wallet somewhere it will let you know. It also sports an integrated Wi-fi hotspot.