The Best Mobile Phone Peripherals for 2014
Peripherals - Next Level Mobile Phone Accessories
A 'peripheral' is a secondary device attached to a computer which expands its capabilities. If you are familiar with the term you will probably have heard it used to describe things like printers which you hook up to your desktop of laptop computer.
Today our mobile phones have become mini-computers which we carry around with us all the time. This means that they can also be connected to a wide range of peripheral devices which they are then able to control.
These devices are something more than the regular mobile phone accessories which have been around for a while. Although I'm not actually sure whether this is the accepted definition, I tend to think of accessories as being something which extend or improve on the functionality which your device already has, whereas peripherals add entirely new functionality.
Forget about having multiple remote controls scattered around your living room - and forget about those bulky universal remote control handsets too - the 21st century solution to controlling all of your home entertainment systems from your sofa is to use your phone.
Some brands, such as Sky, have built in functionality to let you do this, but to be able to control all of your electronics you will probably need a little dongle thingy which plugs into your smartphone.
I've actually written a while article about these things, so please head on over to this page if you are interested: How To Use Your Phone As A Remote Control
Health and Fitness Peripherals
Health and Fitness is probably the main area where lots of different companies have started to produce some really advanced mobile phone peripherals, and where the uptake of these products by consumers has been the most enthusiastic.
Wearable electronic products can monitor your activity levels (like a pedometer only more advanced) as well as your heart rate and other things. They can then share this information with an app which can help you to plan your health and fitness regime, monitor the amount of calories your are both consuming and burning, and so on. They usually connect to your handset wirelessly using Bluetooth.
One of the most stylish examples of this is the Nike+ FuelBand, which is worn on the wrist. It is very attractive looking (see the picture below), is waterproof, and has its own LED display screen.
Another great product is the S Band from Samsung, which monitors your hear rate during exercise and communicates with the popular S Health app which comes free with new Samsung phones.
Taking smartphone 'biofeedback' and health monitoring to the next level, a range of medical technologies are now available via your phone.
A firm named iBGStar, for example, have created the first blood glucose meter for diabetics which connects to your iPhone and helps you to keep track of your glucose levels.It is a small device which plugs in to the bottom of your handset and includes an app which integrates the information with other data you put it, such as what you are eating and what insulin dose you are taking.
Another excellent product is the AliveCor ECG, which attaches to your phone to offer in depth heart rate monitoring and analysis. You get access to an 'expert analysis' provided by the AliveCor app, and can also share the information with your cardiologist.
Camera Lens Peripherals
Phone photography has always been popular, ever since mobile handsets first started including a camera. Some handsets today have really decent cameras, but of course there are always going to be limitations compared to a dedicated camera. Some of these limitations can be overcome using plug-in peripherals.
One of my favourite examples of this is the range of attachable camera lenses produced by Photojo. They produce ultra-wide angle lenses, telephoto zoom lenses, and polarizing lenses which are super-simple to attach and go a long way towards improving the quality of the pictures you can capture using your phone.
There are loads of really great accessories / peripherals out there that can take your mobile phone gaming experience to the next level. You can see a few of the best in the picture gallery below.
Although you may not find many science peripherals available on the open market, there are plenty of people out their making some really innovative gadgets that can turn a mobile phone into an advanced scientific instrument. One interesting example of this is the Microskia project, which allows you to use your handset as a microscope.
SmartWatches don't seem to have caught on in quite the way that some had predicted, but they are still a pretty cool little peripherals device for your smartphone.