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Use Your BlackBerry As a Garage Door Opener!

By Kevin Michaluk on 5 Jan 2009 10:31 am EST
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You just gotta love Unify4Life. We first saw Unify4Life at WES 2008, when they unveiled their BlackBerry Remote Control solution (read full review) that allows you to control all of your home's AV equipment right from your BlackBerry.

AT CES 2009 this week Unify4Life will be on hand at RIM's booth and will be demoing their next product for BlackBerry, the Garage|Shadow. Check out the video above to see it in action. TOTALLY SWEET. The Garage|Shadow will be available for sale on April 6th, 2009. The final pricing hasn't been set yet, but sounds to be pretty reasonable. Yet another must-have accessory for CrackBerry Addicts everywhere!

Reader comments

Use Your BlackBerry As a Garage Door Opener!

50 Comments

We're finalizing our costs, and we we're targeting less than $40.00.

Not official but it will definitely be less than $40.00

Thanks for your interest, Mike @ Unify

Thanks for clearing that up. I can't fathom that this would be a cheap solution, but I do hope that it is priced reasonably.

Hi... We just got into LV now for CES and will post a bunch of answers to these questions later tonight. On the pricing front we're just finalizing our costs now, but it was designed with a price target of $39.99 per door (That's not final yet, but it won't be any higher).

$40/door? Hmm... It's a cool idea and I'll definitely get this if it ends up being cheaper than that. But most garage door openers are about half that price..

It would be nice if this product would show you if the garage door was open or closed. This way you could see if someone left the door open without going outside.

We've built a serial port into the product and will add a module (not sure when yet) to add on the status of the door position. we did not want everyone to have to pay for that feature they may not use and it would have taken us longer to get the product out to market.

What are people thinking about Unify4Life, especially on the Storm? I need a new universal remote, and it's either a Harmony remote or Unify4Life. I'd love to use my (and my wife's) Storm for this.

They should add GPS support so that when I drive up to my house, the program opens and asks me if I want to open the garage.

Opens all kinds of around the house remote control possibilities. Only concern would be battery drain from all the use, but this is an incredible new use of our phones. Bring it on!

On the plus side:
If I leave the car in the laneway, no one will be able to open the garage door by breaking into the car to access the garage door opener that traditionally hangs on the visor.

On the negative side:
I will need to dig my phone out of my purse to operate the garage door software. At the moment, my phone is bluetooth'd to the car & I get to leave the phone in my purse. I handle incoming & outgoing calls from the car's bluetooth. I have a Toyota Prius.

I would prefer to include this feature in a garmin gps unit that is designed to be easily used while in a car.

Seriously, who finds using there berry easier than hitting the one button on a garage door opener remote. I like the innovation, but sometimes the old solution is still the best. If blackberry wants to move in a direction like this they need more convenience keys on the phone. Two doesn't cut it.

I never carry a garage door opener with me when I take the
dog for a walk...I carry a key to my front door.
I have been known to forget that key from time to time...
but I never forget my phone. I don't know if it would be
worth the cost (whatever it may be) just for use in a pinch,
but it would be handy.

Based on the way these devices work, I would think it would be pretty simple for a BB to control any X10 device. All that is needed is the bridge to an electrical outlet and an internet connection. Maybe they could develop that and then you can control virtually anything in your house that is X10 compatible and not have to get a separate application/device for each thing you want to control which will cost a lot. X10 make modules for just about everything in the home and they are pretty cheap. The expensive part is the controller. I'd like to see that as I have many X10 devices in the house.

Aren't there enough other reasons to wear out the battery? Besides being used for email, web browsing, IM, Facebook, Flickr, calendar, contacts, memos, tasks, MP3 player, movie player, picture viewer, games, GPS (including while golfing for distance to the hole), calculator, clock, camera, video camera, and all kinds of other stuff...and oh yeah, a PHONE.

Now you can use your BB as a garage remote, AV remote, and remote for nearly everything that uses a remote!!!

Some how they need to get twice the life out of the batteries to keep up with all the other reasons to use your BB phone.

I'll pass until battery life doubles and it can control all the electronics and appliances in my house and office.

What's next? Blackberry controls your coffee pot/espresso machine, walks your dog, programs your Roomba?

I understand where you're coming from.. but I can't see how this particular application will use much battery. You open up the app, you open your garage, you close the app... It'll be open for about 10 seconds, tops...

Soooo, why don't people love Blackberries?

(I know it isn't just for BBs, but it's so cool that they use a BB to demonstrate this!

The good question for this is?
How does it works ??
What do you have to do to your garage door so the software can work... Some devices can "take" the signal from the door opener and then you can use it in the device. But the Blackberry doesnt have that function, so, how are you going to program the blackberry and the door to work together? The idea of using a internet connection is wrong... what are you going to connect to the door ??
Second: Bluetooth tech to open the door?? i dont think so either.
So, how is this software gonna work ? how do you configure it..? Do you have to manipulate your door opener motor ?

Thats is the question... 3 question...

Just a tip I think you guys should lower it a little bit!
Just a little!!!!!

Throw something into a bundle

They might have a hard time pushing it on the most popular phone, the Storm. Even with the latest OS update the Storm can sometimes be a little slow in pushing buttons especially if you accidentally move from portrait to landscape. So changing the channel on your TV can be a little tough. Going to channel 200 might end up putting you on channel 20 if your receiver doesn’t get that last digit in time, and with the latest OS this definitely will happen.

I still love the Storm and would not trade it for any other phone and looking forward to this A/V solution.

isnt bt range not that great? if this uses a rf to bt adapter, isnt that gonna hamper the range? i can only get like 10ft from my car before it loses signal with the cars navigation.

this is cool, but my last 3 cars have come with garage door openers built in. homelink i think its called. so i wouldnt have a need for this.

Is the best the Blackberry App team can do? Please dont tell me I gave away the 3G iPhone (to my wife) so I can get a garage door opener!

Lets get some real friggin apps for the Blackberry already. Apple has 15,000 apps in only a few months. Blackberry owners get an overpriced garage door opener. No thanks.

But I guess since my berry only holds apps on device memory and leaks 5-10MB a day, more 3rd party apps is not likely coming to a blackberry near you. Instead I get a garage door opener which I can buy at home depot for $5.

This app looks awesome!!
I have to continually remember to take my garage door remote with me in case my car ever gets broken into.
My wife also brings the remote with her when she walks the dog and often forgets where she put it...

...what I was thinking. I have yet to spend money, even $5, on a BB app. For a great platform like BB, there are so many problems; here are my top three:

1. Unimaginative applications (Great, another task manager. Boring! See http://software.crackberry.com/platformMain.asp?id=5&section=bestsellers for the boring details).

2. Inconsistent interfaces (just one example: why do I have to click a field to enter text into that field then click OK to place that text in the field when I'm done--I'm talking to you, Opera--when other apps allow me to enter it directly into the field without the extra clicks?).

3. Poorly thought-out menus/navigation. (Even my favorite app, Mobipocket Reader, has a "navigate" menu item which does nothing that I can see, a bookmark feature that doesn't work, or maybe it does but the on-board documentation that is practially non-existent doesn't explain how to use it, and it forces you to purchase a library if you want to look up words, even though there's a perfectly good Internet nearby that could be used instead. And don't get me started on the cost of ebooks, which are as expensive as printed books).

This is very cool as an exercise in what can be done with a Blackberry. However, I don't think it works for me as a practical tool.

Want convenient access to your garage from your car? How about an integrated button in your car or a small device clipped to your visor? It doesn't get much easier than that!

Need access to your garage without your car? How about a keypad outside your garage?

I may buy this for a small fee...but not $40.

A few days ago I remembered reading about this and checked out the website to see if there were any updates. I'd buy it. Kinda handy to have everything all in one device that you always have with you anyway.