I'm just curious about other AVS'ers opinions/thoughts on the soon-to-be-released TouchSquid remote. I've been sorta following it since another forum member mentioned it a while ago in another thread, along with sending an email to be placed on a waiting list. FWIW, I recently rec'd an email this week regarding the Early Adopter program, where I could purchase one (for a discount from list price) and be part of a group that would provide feedback and recommend improvements. That would be pretty cool, as I've seen in some of the Harmony threads where other forum members worked with Logitech, beta-testing some past remotes.
Some remote history for me: We currently use a Harmony One for the everyday AV system (primarily everyday TV watching, 40 LCD), and we also have a Harmony 1100 for the big system (primarily movie/big sporting event watching, 60 Kuro). I've been using Harmony remotes since Intrigue Technologies (pre-Logitech buyout, IIRC) made the model 659, and I've regularly upgraded with the 880, 890 Pro (still in box), and on to the current One and 1100 remotes. The everyday system is currently 100% IR-controlled, which is why I'm considering the TouchSquid for it since it has the built-in IR blaster.
All in all, I've been very happy with past and current Harmony remotes, but like most of us hereif a new product comes along that improves the experience or makes it easier to control, I'm very interested in upgrading for the right price. And if this TouchSquid remote makes it that much easier for guests to figure out, even better
As a start, I bought the Vizio VTAB1008 tablet from Costco about a month ago as it had the built-in IR blaster and ability to control your home theatre by programming in your specific components, but the Vizio went right back for many reasons: no Activities macros like Harmony, no ability to customize the buttons/layout, no favorite/channel icons, portrait mode only, etc. I had assumed it would fall short of the Harmony way but I gave it the ol' college try anyway. I did like the smaller form factor of the Vizio (8 screen, IIRC) vs the slightly larger 10+ screen Android/iPad tablets, so the 7 TouchSquid would seem to be a very usable size.
I've scanned the iRule thread, seeing what impressive things people are doing with the iPads. But since I'm not that interested in buying an iPad (just not an Apple fan, plus seems a bit big to use), I've wondered about a similar setup for smaller Android tablets. The TouchSquid is an Android-based tablet that should come with 2.3.4 and supposedly will get upgraded to 4.0 (ice cream sandwich?) when available. Besides the Vizio, I'm not aware of any other Android tablets that have a built-in IR blaster? I suppose I could use the WiFi at the house and buy a Global Cache product and go that route with most any tablet, but prefer to keep this everyday system simple and just stick to IR.
I've talked to the owner of the TouchSquid company on a few occasions, and have learned some good info, as their website seems to be a bit lacking in some areas IMO. The things I do like about the TouchSquid remote are:
- Favorite channel icons are fifteen (15) per screen, with a total of 45 icons per Activity. Sure beats the six icons per screen (and max 24 per Activity) of the Harmony One/1100.
- Ability to send IR signals even when sitting in the charging base (or plugged into the second USB port)
- Ability to learn commands from existing remotes (I assume the process would be similar to the Harmony remotes)
- Apparently on-board memory is now 16 GB - was previously listed at 4GB.
- Two USB ports (one regular, plus one mini or micro?), in addition to an SC card slot (unsure of max size it can accept)
The items that I'm not 100% sure about are below, but think they might not be a real issue, per the (comments in parentheses):
- Ten (10) devices max per Activity (but as I understand it, you could have more than ten devices total programmed into the remote, just that each individual activity - ie, Watch Blu-ray - can't use more than ten devices, which should be fine)
- Five (5) Activities max per Profile (but multiple Profiles should ease that restriction, such as a Watch TV profile could have His TV, Her TV, His Sports TV, etc.; a Watch DVD profile could have Watch Blu-ray, Watch HD DVD, Listen to CD, etc if we have three different disc players. This assumes I understand their definition of Profile, though)
- ^^ But the owner mentioned that it might just take a software programming change to increase the maximum numbers stated above.
- When entering a Watch TV activity, not sure if you can have the favorite channel icons to be the default screen (like the One/1100). Or maybe this option would be ideal: It would be nice to have, say, maybe only 10 channel icons per screen, and a small numeric keypad displayed at the same time - that way you get the best of both worlds?
The items that do concern me are as follows:
- Being an early adopter of this brand new company's remote obviously has some risks - I'd hate to see a promising product with potential (at least to me) not do well and not be supported due to slow sales. FWIW, I guess I'd still have a functioning Android tablet to use and travel with.
- The TouchSquid website still shows renderings of the remote and screenshots - it seems real-life pictures of an actual unit would be more convincing. Though to be perfectly clear, the email I rec'd does appear to have an actual photo of a working remote
- The upcoming Logitech Harmony Link - will this potentially turn any iPad/iPhone/Android phone* into a Harmony-like remote controller, with all the customization I could ever want? (*per the 9/20/11 press release, it's not for Android tablets at this time? Plus if there's no sequences capability, maybe this is not worth considering?)
- Per the owner, there are more than one thousand channel icons currently available (maybe this is plenty for the US/NA market at this time?). I would hope that more would be added by TouchSquid with regular updates. Per the owner, there's not any way to upload your own custom channel icons at this time (sim. to squareeyes' website), but maybe that capability could be added in the future.
- In conjunction with the above, I'll assume you can't modify any other icons, such as replacing the generic-looking disc icon with a Blu-ray or HD DVD logo. This is one thing I really wish Logitech would let the user do - really don't like the parrot/TV icon!
- I asked specifically about rearranging the command icons on the touch screen (ie, swapping the Volume and Channel button locations), and the owner said that was not possible at this time. He did specifically mention that you can add more icons/commands where there is open space on the touchscreen. I'm not sure if you could reprogram existing icons with different commands, or replace existing icons with different ones.
- I'm not sure how the fifteen channel icons are arranged onscreen - alphabetically, channel-numerically, the order in which programmed into the remote, anywhere the user wants, etc? I'd prefer to arrange in the order of my choosing, like the Harmony.
- The TouchSquid forums seems to have quite a few bugs - it won't recognize my username/password, nor my email address that I used to register. Running online forums should be easy as pie these days, right?
- I personally am meh about the TouchSquid name - a bit goofy for my tastes. Though the logo is actually kinda cool, given the earlier renditions shown on the website...IMO.
Who knows, maybe as an early adopter I could help make suggestions that could be implemented, to help make this remote a good bang-for-the-buck...
So I'm curious if any other AVS'ers are considering buying this remote, either as an Early Adopter or at least waiting until some of the bugs might be worked out?
Or are most people just going the iPad/iRule route, or similar with an Andriod tablet?