Startup Branto is in the middle of an Indiegogo campaign for a smart-home device of the same name. Branto is a neat-looking LED-illuminated sphere with a pretty lofty goal: to take on all of your home security and automation needs. At $279/£180/AU$375 a pop, Branto units aren't cheap, but there seems to be a lot of functionality tucked inside each crystal-ball-esque orb.
For starters, Branto supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and Global System for Mobile Communications (commonly shortened to GSM). That's partly so you can tap into core features, like its built-in 100-degree 1080p camera with 360-degree pan, complete with motion and sound alerts, two-way talk, night vision and local storage (thanks to an included 16GB internal memory card; cloud storage is elective), as well as audio streaming, video conferencing and an optional door/window sensor accessory, dubbed Branto Bit.
But supposedly, it's also so you can connect your Branto with third-party devices like, and assorted products. That makes this connected-home gadget a unique hybrid that's half hub and half standalone security and automation device.
Not only that, but Branto is outfitted with a rechargeable battery and an optional cellular data connection (via GSM). That means that it should work even if you lose your Wi-Fi connection or power altogether. In fact, it is designed to go on the road with you as needed -- the 3,000mAh battery is supposed to last from 3 to 12 hours depending on usage.
Even with all of these options, Branto still seems expensive. That's especially true since hub-style products have been falling out of favor lately. That whole "universal app" thing is a solid concept, but it hasn't exactly translated to a superior user experience when you consider products like the. We'll have to wait and see if Branto's Android and iOS apps actually deliver or if it's just more of the same.
Branto has raised over $47,000 so far -- that's less than $3,000 away from its $50,000 goal -- and has 20 days left on its campaign. Units cost $279/£180/AU$375 each, shipping is free in the United States, Canada and China (it costs an additional $30/£20/AU$40 to ship to other countries) and delivery is slated for December. Visit the Branto Indiegogo page for more details.