Apps that turn old smartphones into security cameras are no longer new. There's the ManyThing app, the Presence Pro app, and the AtHome Video Streamer app. Presence Pro even has hardware, Presence 360. These are all good options, but what if I told you that there's a solution that can turn your iPad and Android tablets into security cameras that can roam around your house? Yes, such a device exists. It's called Clone, and it costs $500.
What Is Clone?
Clone is part robot, part tablet-stand. It's over 3 feet tall, it has a wheeled base, it runs on battery, and it requires a spare Android tablet or iPad to work. Clone isn't designed for home security. Its real purpose is to provide mobile video communication by giving your tablet robotic abilities. If you attach your tablet to Clone, you can control it and make it roam around your house even if you're thousands of miles away. While roaming, you can see and speak with people near Clone through your laptop.
To make this happen, you need to install the Clone companion app on your Android tablet or iPad. The app turns the tablet into a video communication device, taking advantage of its screen, camera, microphone, and speaker. You also need to install the Clone application software to the laptop or computer you want to use to access Clone. The tablet app and computer software work together to provide video communication between you and the people around your Clone.
Aside from providing video communication, the computer software also allows you to access and control Clone's features. For example, you can make Clone move using your laptop's arrow keys. You can also make Clone take snapshots or videos by clicking on the Shutter Button on your laptop's screen. One interesting thing about Clone is that its features are expandable. Its SDK (Software Development Kit) is open to developers who want to create custom solutions or integrations with Clone. These custom features or "apps" are added to Clone's app store. If you want to activate a custom feature, you'll need to download it to your laptop and add it to your Clone's computer software.
Can Clone Enhance Home Security?
Although Clone is designed as a communication solution, you can use its to monitor your home while you're away. But is it a good solution?
Clone's mobility is one of its best features. Imagine having a security camera that can zoom from room to room. Using a laptop, you can make Clone go where you want and patrol your home while you're away. Clone's easy-to-operate interface and its ability to travel back to its charging station when low on battery are also bonus features.
2. Open SDK
Another feature that could potentially make Clone an awesome security camera is its open SDK. Developers can improve Clone and potentially add features to enhance home security. There's even the possibility of integrating Clone with other smart home security systems. The only question is, will developers help develop Clone's features? If yes, good. If no, then Clone has nowhere to go.
1. Lacks Basic Security Camera Features
Security cameras are more than just video streams. In order to enhance home security, a camera needs features like motion detection and night vision. Clone lacks both of these features. Sure, developers can find a way to add motion detection to Clone, but then again, will they?
2. It Relies on Your Tablet's Video Quality
One of the most important factors when choosing a security camera is video quality. Cameras with high video quality capture clearer and more detailed videos. In addition, some cameras have special features such as Wide Dynamic Range (WDR). Can your tablet capture videos that are as clear as those captured by security cameras? With the back camera, maybe. But Clone uses the front camera, and only a few tablet brands offer a quality front cameras.
3. No Smartphone Access
Another thing Clone lacks is smartphone access. You can monitor most security cameras with nothing but your smartphone. With Clone, however, you need a laptop or computer to gain access, not ideal if you're on-the-go.
Is Clone worth it? What do you think? Do the pros outweigh the cons or is it the other way around? In my opinion, Clone isn't an ideal home security solution, but it is an ideal video conferencing solution. For $500, you can buy a REAL security camera to cover your entire home. In fact, you can buy two. So why go with a single device that lacks even the most basic security camera features? Besides, Clone isn’t a reality yet. It is now available for pre-orders, but it won't ship until April 28. You can check out Clone on Autonomous' website to learn more.