HIOD (pronounced “Hi-Ode”) is an interesting gadget that Engadget originally picked up on. HIOD ONE is a Bluetooth communication tool that was specifically designed for cyclists. This device makes it possible to communicate with fellow cyclists, listen to music, and make phone calls without removing your hands from your bicycle’s handlebars.
While HIOD seems like an innovative device that may be useful for some cyclists, there are, seemingly, some glaring problems with this device as well. Perhaps that’s why HIOD is not available for retail sale yet (the company is still searching for a retail partner according to Engadget).
So, why am I telling you about a device that has some problems and can’t find a retail partner? There is a market for the HIOD device, though the developers behind HIOD may need to work on the design of the device prior to sale.
The Basics: What HIOD Can Do
HIOD One comes in the form of two small plastic boxes. The controller was meant to clip onto your handlebars, and the voice unit was meant to be slipped into an armband. Since the controller box is somewhat bulky (there’s the design flaw I mentioned), you may want to clip this device onto an armband or other body part instead of your handlebars.
The HIOD One also comes with a small mouthpiece that can be attached to your helmet (yes, you should wear a helmet!). It is also possible to hook up the HIOD device to your cell phone, so that you can make calls while riding your bicycle. So, now that you know what HIOD One consists of, you might be able to guess what this device’s purpose is.
To put it simply, HIOD One lets you communicate with a fellow cyclist up to 1,000+ feet. You can also listen to any music you have on your phone and make some calls while cycling.
Why This Device May Not Work
Similar devices exist already. People who ride motorcycles often use a headset and communication device to speak to other riders. So, there’s that problem. The other problem, as I see it, has to do with Apple’s new iPhone 4S.
The 4S comes with Siri, which makes it possible to call, text, email, and listen to music by simply talking to your phone. All you really need to do is purchase an iPhone 4S in order to communicate with a fellow cyclist or anyone else for that matter.
To be fair, not everyone will have the $600+ to spend on a new iPhone 4S, but the technology is still there. Is there a market for the HIOD device? Perhaps outside of North America where cyclists abound, this device will serve a direct purpose.
Inside of North American where most people are forever connected to smartphones (and law enforcement is cracking down on phone usage while cycling), the HIOD device may not sell all that well.
As mentioned, HIOD cannot find a retailer to partner with (at the time of this writing), so you can’t buy this device form any large electronics store. You may, however, be able to find the device by contacting HIOD directly.
Alternately, you can head to the HIOD website to find out more about the device and to stay tuned on any retail-related updates.