Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best appcessories.
By Peter Jenkinson
iZettle - £99 from izettle.com
This ingenious piece of kit will help level out the commercial playing field, by enabling small businesses and individuals to accept credit card payments. After setting up an account, you can ask customers to insert cards and tap in their PIN securely, like in 'big' shops, and then payments are authorised and all sales data collated in some very smart software. A much-needed weapon against the high street behemoths.
Rain or shine
Netatmo weather station - £139.95 from store.apple.com/uk
This urban weather station gives information for iOS and Android devices using a set of sensors that monitor your direct environment. Taking readings of temperature, barometric pressure, humidity, CO2 concentration and noise pollution, the device sends the info wirelessly to your smartphone and displays it all on decent looking dashboards and graphs. A forecast you can actually trust.
Sony QX10 - £129.99 from amazon.co.uk
Turn your smartphone or tablet into a 'proper' high grade photo taking device with the addition of this smart lens from Sony. It connects over Wi-Fi or NFC and gives your phone a very decent 10x optical zoom, and can also attach itself to a variety of devices (although prefers the Sony Xperia Z1). Take images, share via social media and re-touch in an instant.
Nest Protect - £109.95 from store.apple.com/uk
This smoke and carbon monoxide detector does much more than simply sound an alarm, it actually talks to you, guiding you to where the danger is and telling you exactly what is wrong. Teaming up with your mobile, it'll message you if the battery gets low and the unit itself can be calmed after 'burnt toast' episodes by waving your hand over your screen rather than frantically waving your tea towel.
Philips Hue system - £179.95 from store.apple.com/uk
This super-smart lighting system starter pack contains three LED bulbs and the bridge you'll need to control all aspects of your illumination from both iOS an Android devices. You can alter the hues from within the bulb to match your mood, you can set alarms so the lights glow a certain colour at specific times, and you can turn on your home's lights before you get back so everything is nice and bright. How welcoming.
Flower Power - £49.99 from expansys.com
If the greenery in your home often turns a little brown, perhaps this great gadget can assist in improving your horticultural habits. Pop the gadget into the soil and it'll measure the health of your plant in real time, sending sunlight, soil moisture, temperature and fertiliser level info to your phone so you know when to grab the watering can. The app also has a library of over 6,000 plants for when you're ready to venture to more responsibility.
App of the week
Cupets - free on iTunes and Google Play
Download this virtual world and nurture one free digital pet - but remember you must take care of your in-phone friend, or it'll (quite rightly) behave badly. You can also buy the physical Cupets online so they interact with your device and come to life on-screen when you use QR codes and point the camera at them.
Top 10 paid for apps for Android phones
1. The Chase
2. Minecraft - Pocket Edition
3. Monopoly MILLIONAIRE
4. Cut the Rope
5. Camera for Kindle Fire
6. Temple Run: Oz
7. Plants vs Zombies
8. Bike Race
9. Catch Phrase
10. Survival Games - Minecraft Mini Game & Mutliplayer
Top 10 free apps for Android phones
2. Candy Crush Saga
3. BBC iPlayer
4. Angry Birds Go!
5. BBC Media Player
7. Jelly Splash
8. Nemo's Reef
(Both charts courtesy of Appstore on amazon.co.uk)