Want to throw away your pile of remotes, but don't want to shell out for a pricy universal remote device? It's getting easier to just use your smartphone to change the channel. SureMote, a free app that debuted an updated version this weekend, wants you to control every appliance in your house with your phone. It allows users to flip through channels on smart TVs, make sure a Roomba is cleaning the right corners, and control LED lights, no remotes required.
SureMote controls appliances through the infrared blaster on newer Android phones (there's no iOS version yet, so iPhone fans need to hold on to their Blu-Ray clickers for now). It was developed by Israeli company Tekoia and already has thousands of devices connected. It's a strong start, though the app will need to continue growing its list of compatible devices to be a true approximation of a universal remote.
SureMote isn't the first option we've had to turn our phones into remotes. There's a whole competitive market developing for this stuff. Most older options required a hardware component, though some newer apps are like SureMote and work with the phone's hardware. There's AnyMote, a product that uses the IR blaster too (but it's $7, not free). Peel is a particularly slick phone remote and social viewing app, though it sticks to home entertainment and isn't aspiring to be universal. And LG made its own remote app. The big thing about SureMote is that it's the extremely appealing price of free. Plus, it has a simple interface.
Of course, if you download it, you may want to put your remotes in a box rather than the garbage... after all, if you lose your phone, it'll be impossible to avoid those Geico commercials without getting off the couch and manually changing the channel away from that abominable lizard. [TechCrunch]
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