Published on October 4, 2011 12:03 PM

Logitech Harmony Link: Tablets And Smartphones Are The New Remotes

Are touchscreen tablets the new universal remotes? This is what Logitech seems to believe in experimenting with the Harmony Link on the other side of the Atlantic.

Logitech Harmony remotes are much appreciated for their particularly effective management of activities. You can set up functions to, for example, 'Watch a Blu-ray', where pressing a single button will turn on your telly, audio amp and Blu-ray player at the same time as selecting the right video ins on your TV.

Using a touchscreen tablet to pilot your device

Logitech is now aiming a little higher with Logitech Harmony Link. Soon you should be able to pilot all your audio and video devices with a touchscreen tablet or smartphone (Android or iOS).

Once you've downloaded the application (Android Market, AppStore), your mobile device communicates over a wi-fi connection with a small box that then sends the infrared signals to the equipment.

The various functions of Logitech Harmony remotes are of course there, but this isn't all. The application also displays an interactive programme guide with summaries, images and so on. Here are a couple of videos from Logitech to show you more:

A good concept with certain limitations

Now you've had a taste, let's move on to the bad news. First of all, the solution still isn't RF compatible, which means you can't use it to control electrical shutters or lighting. Secondly, although smartphones and tablets have Bluetooth capability, you can't pilot your PS3 from this application.

Next, you can only control a maximum of eight devices with it. This is almost a joke. There really ought not to be any limitation here as there's no longer any hardware limitation. We also think the solution is rather pricey, costing $99 or around £65, especially as the little box required can't be all that costly to produce.

If you're still reading and you're based in the UK, don't expect to get your hands on the Harmony Link before 2012. This very attractive, but still incomplete idea, is trialing in the USA first. No doubt it's the first of its kind and future versions will overcome some of the current issues.

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