Gadget Column: Six of the best gadgets and gizmos on a theme. This week: Six of the best appcessories
By Peter Jenkinson
With the app market set to be worth almost 30 billion dollars in 2015, a new product category has been born - appcessories, pieces of hardware that interact with and enhance an app.
This new marketplace seems an obvious place for toy manufacturers to begin to reclaim some of their income from the console gaming market but other sectors want a slice of the action, too.
Chris Ilett, the CEO of specialist site appcessorise.com, told us: "It's important to have a product within this space so your brand is synonymous with this new category as it begins to grow.
"It's interesting to watch some smaller companies building their foundations right now, potentially giving themselves a chance to take on the big boys."
Here's our pick of the top six.
Take Control - Griffin Beacon - £49.99 from www.carphonewarehouse.com
Make your purchase without delay, as this is one must-have piece of tech for gadget-loving types. After downloading the Dijit app to your iOS device, you'll be able to control your whole entertainment system - TVs, sound system, etc - with just one remote. Plus it offers on-screen access to loads of programming information.
Wonder Ball - Sphero - £99.99 from www.amazon.co.uk
This Bluetooth-controlled ball works on both iOS and Android devices, and while it doesn't serve any practical purpose, it has an amazing ability to induce a huge grin. There are presently six apps available which allow you to control the decently sized sphere in entertaining ways around your front room. But there's no need to be overprotective as the Sphero is sturdy enough for outdoor action, too.
Play Along - Piano Apprentice Keyboard - £69.99 from www.carphonewarehouse.com
Designed specifically for iOS devices, this keyboard is perfect if you fancy yourself as the next Liberace. The apprentice app has a load of tutorial videos and sheet music to really hone your skills, but it is the light-up keys that make this such a superb system. Just play the keys as they're lit and with just a modicum of practice, you'll have a few tunes up your (green) sleeves.
Different Angle - AppFishing - £24.99 from www.argos.co.uk
Fancy putting your fish-landing skills to the test? The unit turns your smartphone into an interactive fishing rod for some augmented reality fun. The unit includes a built-in gyrometer, detachable rod, reel and quick-release casting button. Use the app to find a host of games and challenges.
Save Earth - AppGear Elite Commander - £19.99 from www.smythstoys.com
Fasten your smartphone into this high-tech pistol to play the part of an alien-hating commander - just pull on the trigger to blast away any augmented reality monstrosities. There's a secondary button too that allows you to switch between weapons, raise your shield and reload. And if you can find a friend for some co-operative play, then the game is really on!
Puzzle Study - Ravensburger Augmented Reality Jigsaws - £12.99 from www.amazon.co.uk
Bringing the jigsaw market into the 21st century, Ravensburger has produced a series of 1000-piece sets: Underwater Realm, Above The Roofs Of Paris, Animals Of Africa and Lofoten Norway. Once completed, you hover your mobile, with the app loaded, over the puzzle and watch it come to life on your screen. We love the underwater scene - seeing the fish swim around is fin-tastic!
App of the week: Flixel - Free in iTunes
Create superb "living" photos with this mesmerising app from Flixel. Using a constant looping motion, you can bring still images to life, from making your hair blow in the wind to setting off fireworks - amazing.