MOBILE PHONES… AND THE PERILS OF XMAS SHOPPING

This week’s [retail bytes] explores: What’s new with the world of mobile this Xmas?

Re-joice – you can now re-juice your phone: Price-comparing products on your mobile while out Xmas shopping, and the phone dies just when you need it the most? Yes, same here. Last time in Dixons and not a charging station in sight. With millions of people caught out juice-less on their mobile, one would expect the retailers would get the memo and provide easy charging stations in every store. Alas, this is not happening and the only temporary respite is provided by a few larger Starbucks cafés in London. Wireless ports are embedded in the tables so the phone charges while you are slurping their Xmas million-calories treat of a festive hot chocolate with triple cream (aka a heart-attack-cino). For retailers that need help to figure out how to support the juice-starved shoppers, Sensio, a wireless charger, can provide simple and easy-to-install wireless charging stations. We need them in every café and shop please, or we won’t be able to use our favourite retailers’ lovely apps!

The John Lewis elves hit again: Even with the helpful Starbucks wireless chargers we still risk running out of battery while in town. For those whose phones don’t work with Sensio wireless charges, there is a must-have product that needs to go on every Xmas list. It takes two to tango so a wireless charger may need a wireless charging receiver – kindly supplied by those empathetic Xmas elves at John Lewis. Just keep it in your pocket and charge up the phone every time you’re at Starbucks or another merciful café location with wireless chargers.

DIY cinema (with a Deutsche twist)While stuck in a fog-clogged Amsterdam airport last week, I joined a bunch of techie boys from Berlin camping around a makeshift cinema in the airport lobby. Our flight was delayed by more than 3 hours, but with a small mobile-powered cinema projector we were munching on yummy Dutch food… and watching Star Wars Episode IV projected on to the airport wall. The projector magnifies about eight times but that’s plenty in emergencies or for side displays in the stores. Forget large screens and the heavy costs of installation, maintenance and upgrade. Just fit in one of those and when it breaks… replace. Ok, Star Wars was in German, but that added to the exotic experience. Get one and never be at a loss in a foggy airport again.

Treat yourself Star Wars style this Xmas: If you’re treating yourself to a portable mobile phone projector, don’t forget to add speakers to get the full experience. Our pick would of course be the Star Wars Destroyer portable Bluetooth speaker from Mobile Fun. However, if you’re in ninja-mode and need to move fast with no gadget burden, smaller but still good-enough-for-the-speaker-emergency are the just-on-the-market Aurabox LED Bluetooth speakers. As a bonus, you can design your own creative displays and entertain others with your digital art. Your inner geek needs this.

VR meets AR meets smartphone: Mobile is also at the centre of new VR technology. The first VR headset for mobile phones is emerging from Occipital. It can do VR but, wait for it… it can also do AR. Boom. Their “Explorer” edition available now means Xmas is sorted.

Don’t miss next week Bytes and our Wall of Fame for the best 2016 retail tech. There will be prizes!