Beacon from Griffin Turns Your Android Phone into a Universal Remote


As technology pervades our lives in an attempt to make the world a better place, some things just seem to get more and more complicated. The home media setup has grown to encompass a television, BluRay and DVD players, A/V receivers, video game consoles, and internet connected devices. These typically all come with their own remote control. Universal remotes have long done the trick, but we all know how easily a remote can be misplaced. Griffin is taking a stab at reducing the frustration of searching for the remote with the introduction of a device called Beacon.

For $69.99 the Beacon is a small device you place near your home theater setup. It has a built-in IR blaster and does just about nothing on its own. The magic happens when you connect a smartphone via Bluetooth and fire up a universal remote app created by Dijit Media. The result promises to be an all-encompassing solution to remote woes. The concept has been tried before to various degrees of success. Upcoming Motorola tablets will have built-in IR transmitters while Logitech’s Haromny system (built-in to Google TV) also provides a simple way to control multiple devices from a smartphone. The Beacon is a great concept but it creates yet another device to buy and connect. Ultimately it will live and die by the app that makes the magic happen.

Kevin Krause
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  1. Another product that could be useful, but I don’t like it that it’s using bluetooth….should use wifi connection instead.

    1. why would you rather use data to connect your phone to a tv than bluetooth?

      1. 1) Bluetooth connectivity distance is a lot shorter than wifi and more likely to lose connection.

        2) In my personal experiences, BT uses more battery than wifi.

  2. If this works, it converts my android in a remote for only $70…or maybe a $20 universal remote will do the trick?

    1. But then you lose it and pay another $20 and then months later another 20 versus any smart phone you have with bluetooth that you keep with you always.

      1. I dunno, I don’t take my remotes camping, or to the office with me, or when I go shopping.  Generally they stay in my living room, do you have a black hole under your couch?

        Also, boo bluetooth

  3. I’m holding out for thought control remotes.

  4. Verizon has an app for FIOS.  Sony has an app for my DVD player.  It’s all very cute, but the fact is the AA batteries in my universal remote last a lot longer than my phone battery.  

  5. The top looks like HTC Sense. Yuck. Good to see commercial Android products though!

  6. I keep reading it as Bacon and not Beacon and I keep getting disappointed.

    Seems kinda cool, but not exactly cheap for what it does.

  7. I have to keep bluetooth on and an App running? Say goodbye to my phones battery.

    On another note, I have never been overly impressed with IR blasters.

    1. What? I keep my Bluetooth running practically ALL DAY and haven’t noticed any battery drain. It’s almost….. weird. o_O

      1. I wish.  I currently have an Atrix and if I notice my battery life flying down it’s almost always because I forgot to turn my bluetooth back off.

  8. Pricing is everything when it comes to this. If they could drop the price to $50 (which is still kinda high) I would buy one. Hells yes. :O

  9. Hmmm… The idea seems ok to me, but I’d rather not have my bluetooth on all the time. A somewhat different product but more “groundbreaking” in my eyes is this:
    Many newer TVs have CEC-communication (via HDMI) which in theory should let u control all your (HDMI)media-devices from 1 remote control. (“In theory” as in: some TVs run proprietary CEC-commands)

  10. That is one horrible video.

  11. This was promised last May. Afaik, its still vapor. I bought a itach wf2ir last night instead. There quite a few excellent apps that uses it if you shop around.

  12. One thing I truly TRULY miss from the pre-iphone era of smart phones is that most came with ir transmitters already built in so there was no need to purchase additional accessories such as this…….. Still dont know why they were ever removed.

    I actually atill have my old HTC Blueangel as a universal remote sitting on the tv stand. It’s still one of my alltime favorite phones right up there with my old Sony Zuma . =P Speaking o the old BA, I’m still surprised that Lakeridge Software never really transitioned away from Win-Mo like SPB did. I LOVED Wisbar Advance and Wisbar Desktop.

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