The Ottawa Citizen has a profile out about a Toronto company that’s bringing smartphone users out of the cold.
Thanks to the Glider Gloves, Jack Frost won’t be nipping at your fingertips when you use your smartphone’s touchscreen. By making the thin gloves out of a thin, conductive yarn, wearers can have their touches register on the device, unlike thicker gloves we’re used to, which are too insulated to register with the device.
Enter Saleem Najarali, 28, who had a small clothing store called Da Style Clothing in Grand Bend, Ont., giving him numerous contacts in the clothing industry. While thinking over spilled coffee, he devised the solution that would let Canadians use their mobile phones in the cold. He bought the conductive materials, had prototypes of the gloves made and then sent them overseas for manufacturing. The first shipment arrived in November and more than 4,000 pairs have already been sold, the trio reports. The gloves work well, though their thin material provides little protection in temperatures below -5 to -10 C.
“We are in Rogers, Telus, WIND Mobile stores,” said Thiara, who was brought in to the company to help promote the gloves. “The problem now is exposure. A lot of the market is uninformed.”
Thiara admits Glider Gloves are in for a tough battle. The market is being inundated with competing products, most of which are from the United States. But Thiara said his competitors use different, less effective techniques for the person-phone interface. Some have added a conductive piece of fabric to each finger tip, so a majority of the glove is not conductive. Others sell what Thiara refers to as “hobo gloves” in which the fingers fold back to expose some skin.
Yeesh, “little protection in temperatures below -5 to -10 C?” I’ve only been to Ottawa a few times during the winter, and if my experiences are anything typical, -10 C is downright toasty in our nation’s capital. I guess it’s better than nothing, though.
For more info on Glider Gloves, click here.