Remote controls are starting to feel obsolete as more and more devices are using mobile apps compatible with the iPhone and Android-based smartphones to operate and manage TVs as well as cable and set-top boxes.
Enter the Peel, a pear-shaped and Internet-connected gadget that transforms an iOS device into a single universal remote control.
Compatible with iOS 3.0 and higher, the free Peel mobile app has already been in iTunes for awhile now. The idea behind it is that consumers filter programming by TV shows rather than by channels. That application identifies programming sources (i.e. cable, satellite, network-connected devices, etc.). Users can surf the user interface for favorite programs and search based on the time and date (up to a week in advance) for listings. The Peel app is trained to remember times, shows, lead actors and other information to offer suggestions and a personalized program line-up. And like nearly anything else these days, users can also share this information via Twitter and Facebook.
But now with Peel device, users can actually use app as a remote control for multiple devices rather than just something to search for program listings. Nothing needs to be connected to the iPhone nor the Peel. Instead, the second part of the system plugs into the wall on one end and a wireless router on the other.
Powered by a single C-sized battery itself, the Peel has a 20-foot/120-degree radius and can be put anywhere within this range of the sources as long as the pear end is facing the TV, set-top box (i.e. Roku, Apple TV, etc.), blu-ray player or whatever is supplying the programming. (Note that gaming consoles are not compatible yet.)
Designed by Yves Behar, the Peel will be available in stores in January, likely below the $100 MSRP mark. The Peel should soon be compatible with Android 2.2 as well.
However, if you're interested in getting one now, you do have that option through a type of silent auction. The Peel is shipping to customers for whatever they're willing to pay. But don't get ahead of yourselves and think you can pick up a Peel for a penny. There is a limited amount of Peel devices available via this method. Thus, the highest bidders will get their hands on a Peel sooner.