July 29, 2016

Orée – a Technological Romance

Filed under: News — csadm @ 5:31 pm

I have been typing on a keyboard for so long, I think I have forgotten the joy of putting pen to paper. In fact, some of us may have forgotten the art of handwriting altogether.

It seems that technology has destroyed our collective handwriting ability. According to one survey, a third of us can’t even read our own handwriting, let alone someone else’s!   

A company based in the south of France is addressing this human loss and providing a connection between modern technology and the romance of writing as something as pure and essential as the raw materials they use in their products.

The company’s name is Orée, pronounced “oray” and they describe themselves as artisans of emotional technology, crafting lasting technology tools that inspire imagination, contemplation and renewed attention to the beauty and wonder of everyday life.

Each of their pieces is handcrafted from the workshop in southern France, using only the finest sustainable natural materials.

In French, Orée means “at the edge of the forest” or “at the brink of something new”. And this is exactly where their products exist. 


It would be simple to say that Orée is creating a link between technology and a more sustainable, eco-friendly future. Let’s face it, phones and accessories all tend to look the same after a while. At first they look futuristic, bright and shiny but the gloss soon wears off and they begin to appear as somewhat impersonal, brushed aluminium and plastic products off a production line.

Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops have become affordable because they are being mass-produced by cheap labor using synthetic, unsustainable materials.

Part of Orée’s design philosophy is to move away from impersonal materials and use eco-friendly raw materials from ethically harvested walnut, tilia and maple woods.

Each of their products is hand-crafted – putting technology as a tool in the hands of artists, humans, expressing themselves through their passion, integrity and pride.

It is obvious that one of the fundamentals of Orée’s design philosophy is humanity – to provide a romantic, emotional, inspirational and creative link, or marriage between humans and the kinds of modern technology that are now dictating our lives.


The best demonstration of Orée’s design philosophy is the recently-released Orée Stylograph. Elegant, simple and lasting functionality crafted with the finest natural materials. In this case, made from copper, drawing on “the timeless purity and durability of this natural metal, the first ever used by mankind”.

But with Stylograph, there is something else going on. Something more important.

The ballpoint pen used in the device allows us to capture our hand-written notes and drawings on paper and automatically syncs them in a digital format to instantly share, edit and archive them via your smartphone.

Although made of copper, the pen accommodates any standard D1 type ballpoint refill.

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Where the technological magic happens is inside the pen itself. There’s an accelerometer inside and a camera near the tip that combine together for great results.

The high-speed micro camera in the pen tracks where pen strokes are positioned on the page – relying on the paper’s barely visible patterns for reference. An accelerometer within the pen also detects its movement and angle.

The camera reads the special pattern hidden in the paper that tells it where on the page you’re writing and also what page you’re on. It’s only when combined with the special notebook that the pen becomes a brilliant tool.

The copper pen comes with a leather cover ring-binder notebook that holds 190 pages of refillable micro-patterned mineral stone paper. The notebook also has a discrete pen holder for the copper pen.

The notebook comes with 190 pages of thick, mineral stone A5 paper. The paper feels smooth and durable to touch and write on. Every odd page is blank and every even page is lined.

You can’t really see the micropattern on the paper that the pen’s camera reads; it just looks like high-quality notebook paper. The only obvious point of interest is a small symbol at the top of every page. It’s in the shape of a paper aeroplane, like you’re sending one of your pages off to someone else. That’s exactly what it is. When you tap this symbol with your pen, the app gets to work.

The app is a free to download iOS and Android smartphone application that allows you to export your hand-written notes and sketches via Bluetooth in PDF, SVG or PNG format, alongside a host of other features.

The pen itself stores the writing until it’s able to sync across. This means you could even write without being around any of your devices and save your work later.

The ballpoint’s rechargeable battery offers up to two complete days of writing.

This is a real marriage of technology with the individual. As the Orée demonstration video says: “Now writing on paper will be the start of a journey. Some paper and a pen…that’s all we really need when an idea starts to form in our mind. Through the natural act of writing and sketching our idea becomes reality.”

To those who like to sketch and have not lost the romance of handwriting the Orée Stylograph is a saviour.


Prior to developing the Stylograph, Orée had already built a reputation for innovative use of technology with its bluetooth keyboard and other products and accessories.

Their beautiful keyboard is made from a single piece of solid premium wood, sourced from family-owned sustainable forests in France. You can choose from a light maple or darker walnut and along with your choice of wood there are a number of other customisation options. You can also select from three different fonts for the letters and numbers keys.

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Each board is assembled by hand and the keys are laser-etched into the wood, which means that they won’t peel off or fade over time, like most other keyboards.

The result is that it feels warmer and more pleasant to touch than an Apple or standard PC product.

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, the keyboard can connect to any Mac, iOS or any Windows device. Two AA batteries can power the keyboard for up to five months before needing to be replaced.

For those that share a typically-French sense of romance there are some other sweet customisations available like having the initials of your loved one hand-lacquered on your keyboard, or having a love-inspired poem hand-engraved on the back of your wooden keyboard.

Orée also have a number of other accessories evolved from their design philosophy, including a smartphone wireless charger called the Pebble 2 crafted from a single piece of wood or marble that also includes a high-end Bluetooth speaker for hands-free call and music while your phone is on charge.

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Just place your phone on the Pebble 2 and let the magic happen: the elegant and sleek device charges your smartphone, syncs instantly to the integrated audio system and lets you listen to music and take phone calls in hands-free-mode thanks to its inbuilt speaker and microphone.

The Pebble 2 is artisanally crafted using the finest natural materials and the very best electronics such as a 5W loudspeaker with a bass reflex chamber built into the material, a CSR chipset with 3D surround sound optimization, with background noise and echo cancellation algorithms, making the marriage between technology and nature complete.

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July 15, 2016

Hello Moto

Filed under: News — csadm @ 4:04 pm

That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

They are the famous words spoken by Neil Armstrong in 1969 when he stepped on to the surface of the moon. The words were spoken in to a Motorola transceiver.

Back then, Motorola was at the forefront of American telecommunications technology, having been founded in 1928.

Much has changed on earth since Armstrong talked on the moon. The 70s, then the 80s which led to the technological revolution.

The other big change on planet Earth has been China – a country that has emerged from obscurity to redefine both communism and capitalism at the same time.


In January 2011 Motorola split into two companies. One company, Motorola Solutions is still based in the United States. It is identified by a blue logo.

The other company is Motorola Mobility, identified by a red logo, the mobile handset producer. In the same year as the split Google announced that it would buy Motorola Mobility. In 2014, Google sold Motorola Mobility to the Chinese computer giant Lenovo.   

And that brings us to our subject – Motorola Moto – which is the line of Android-based smartphones and wearable devices marketed by Motorola Mobility, a subsidiary of the Lenovo Group.

In previous articles I have gone into detail about Lenovo. Based in Beijing, the company has been around since the mid-80s, becoming a leader in the personal computer market. You’ve probably heard of them through the Thinkpad line of notebook computers. Lenovo now operates out of 60 countries, selling into a further 100 countries. Last year the company was the world’s largest personal computer vendor by unit sales.

With the acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and the development of the Moto brand, Lenovo has carved for itself a sizable share of the mobile phone market.

Now, with the launch of the Moto G4 Plus, Lenovo has closed the gap between the budget end of the mobile phone market and the flagships in the category. To the consumer that means more technology at a lower cost.


Last month Motorola and its owner Lenovo launched a triplet of new phones in the very popular Moto G family – the Moto G4, the Moto G4 Play and the Moto G4 Plus.

The Moto G4 Plus is positioned as the premium product in the line-up and a step-up from its Moto G4 Play sibling. The two devices have much in common including a 5.5 inch 1080p screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 with 2GB of RAM, a 3,000mAh battery, and a 16MP camera.

Moto G4 Plus’ power and volume controls are on the right spine and there’s a Micro USB port on the bottom edge. The standard 3.5mm audio jack is at the top.

The back of the device has a removable plastic back, the camera lens and flash and the Moto logo.

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The big point of difference is Moto G4 Plus’ enhanced 16MP camera with a pro mode and a combination of laser and phase detect autofocus, and the addition of a fingerprint sensor.

Moto G4 Plus has a tough, plastic frame with smooth curves around the glass front. The speaker is at the top and at the bottom is the raised square fingerprint sensor.

The fingerprint sensor is another of the features that sets the device apart from its siblings.

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The sensor is very fast and accurate, bringing the device to life immediately once the owner touches it. It’s a great security device and very convenient. I remember when fingerprint sensors were first introduced on the more expensive iPhone and Galaxy brands. Moto has now made this a feature of their higher-end budget phones.

Another handy feature of the Moto G4 Plus is its battery and charging capabilities. The 3,000mAh battery is not removable, even though you can take the back cover off the phone.  The battery does a good job of powering the device, and for those times when you need a quick charge is the Turbo Charger feature, which can deliver six hours of power in just 15 minutes.  Your phone will be fully charged within an hour.

To conclude, Lenovo is adding stacks of value to its Motorola “Moto” smartphones.

The Moto G4 Plus is no exception. It is a budget smartphone with features you would expect to find in the more expensive iPhone and Galaxy brands.


Real advertising and marketing magic occurs when a product adopts a slogan that has  maximum impact from as few words as possible.

For example car maker Toyota has a very popular slogan in “Oh What a Feeling!” (four words).

Coca-Cola have had a couple of one-word slogans over 130 years such as “Enjoy!” and “Real!” and a number of other slogans that are as effective because of their economy of language, for example their current “Taste The Feeling” campaign. 

Moto’s advertising magic came from American ad-man Steve Hayden who is now Vice Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Ogilvy Worldwide.

Hayden’s list of creative honours includes being co-creator of Apple’s 1984 commercial that launched Macintosh.

He also led the team that created and launched IBM’s award-winning and highly successful e-business campaign.

Hayden not only created the Hello Moto ringtone and campaign, but he also provided his own voice in one of the most catchy and popular advertising slogans in marketing history.

Hello Moto!

Almost as famous as Neil Armstrong’s first words on the moon.

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