iPhones aren’t cool. You know what’s cool? Shooting your friends with your iPhone, mounted into a laser blaster.
A couple of phone-based friend-blasting systems have crossed our radar this week — one for iPhone, one for any smartphone.
First came news that Hasbro is updating Lazer Tag (remember that?) for the app-obsessed 21st century. Its 2012 edition guns, hitting toy store shelves this August for $40 per blaster, include a slot for your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Using a free Lazer Tag app and the phone’s built-in camera, the set-up will keep track of who shot whom and how much energy you have left. No need to wear those bulky chest targets! Here’s what the weapons will look like:
Not bad, but kind of cheap and plastic-looking. That trigger slot looks a little unwieldy, designed more for coins than fingers. And if you own anything other than an iPhone, you’re out of luck.
Not so with the AppTag (see above at top), a similar weapon that hit Kickstarter this week from Australian inventor (and army veteran) Jon Atherton. Entirely open source, the AppTag will not only work with any smartphone — it’ll slot on top of any toy gun.
Atherton plans to deliver the AppTag in June, at a bargain-basement price of $25 per unit. He’s also offering an SDK for developers, and promises the device will ship with at least a couple of augmented reality games.
So which device will win in the marketplace? No contest, Atherton tells Mashable. “The Hasbro toy is pretty interesting in a committee designed kinda way,” he says. “But they didn’t think of a lot of things” — such as the fact that you have to take your phone out of its case to put it in the Lazer Tag gun.
AppTag’s secret sauce: it communicates with your smartphone via high frequency sound, rather than wires, Wifi or Bluetooth. (It’s unclear how the Lazer Tag guns will connect to the iPhone). You’ll still be able to talk to buddies on your team while shooting your other buddies.
Check out Atherton’s endearingly nervous pitch for Kickstarter funds in the video below. (He’s asking for $30,000; the project has gained $3,000 in a matter of days). And let us know in the comments: does this look like fun?