Black+Decker, the company known for its power drills and other tools, has just announced a new smart product: the Smartech Battery. This Bluetooth-connected battery will work with all current Black+Decker 20V MAX tools, and the company says it is available now at Menard's, Lowe's, and on Amazon for $70 (converted, that's about £50 or AU$95; international retailers haven't been confirmed).
Smartech Batteries will work with the Black+Decker iOS and Android app, meaning people can control the batteries and, therefore, their tools, wirelessly. First, you can enable and disable any of these batteries while in range. That means no one can use any battery-powered tools lying around the garage during a project unless you enable the batteries via the app. You can also use the app to view battery life, use a "locate" feature to find missing batteries and activate each battery's USB port. The app has other components like a message center for notifications from batteries and a "Projects" section that is supposed to offer insight into construction and ideas for DIYers.
This new Bluetooth connectivity seems promising. The disabling and location features could be welcome additions for anyone with kids around the house and a garage that sometimes falls into disarray. But for many people who don't want to fiddle with an app in the middle of a project, these devices could just be a hassle. Will Bluetooth features contribute to the quality of Black+Decker's products without making them less easy to use? We'll have to see for ourselves.