While pedalling a Boris Bike I start to shuffle in my pocket. Where is that damn iPhone. Finally, I find it. The next challenge is to get it out my pocket whilst still navigating the Humvee of the bike world. Eventually, I give up. I pull over and get my iPhone out. I look up the nearest docking station with spaces and get back on my way. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some way of accessing this information from a watch-like gadget?
Enter Live View.
Using Bluetooth, the Live View gadget (£45 – £50 Amazon) connects to your Android phone (2.0 or later). You can then do cool stuff such as checkout the latest tweets, SMS messages, Facebook messages, take pictures remotely or, as this is a cycling blog, find the nearest Boris bike docking station.
Setup if fairly easy – you download a load of apps for your Android including the LiveWare Manager, Live View Application and the Cycle Hire Widget. You then sync the two together via Bluetooth. One thing to note is that it’s worth downloading the latest version of the Live View firmware as previous version are very buggy.
Strap it to your wrist and off you go
Strap the Live View to your wrist or clip it your shirt pocket. When you need a Boris Bike you pull it out, go into the Plugins folder and open up the Cycle Hire Widget. About 30 seconds later you’ll have a list of nearby docking stations.
On the screen you can see the number of bikes available, any empty spaces and how many metres away you are. You also see an indication of which direction you need to be heading.
Whilst Cycle Hire on the Live View would be far more useful with a map it’s not bad if you know the street names nearby (Or your North from South!).
To buy now or to wait?
The Sony Ericsson Live View definitely has that “wow” and “that’s cool!” factor. If you are already on an Android phone then it’s worth considering. I definitely wouldn’t say that the Cycle Hire Widget is the killer app. Instead, the ability to browse Tweets, Facebook messages, texts, your calendar and see who is calling you is far cooler.
Unfortunately, while using Live View I did find that it didn’t always respond. I was often hit with the classic “Computer says no”. Therefore, you may want to wait a little longer for another update to the firmware.
Amazon are listing it for £45 – £50 which I think is pretty reasonable.
I’ve put together a short video showing the Live view in action:
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.