Startup Review: $70 Smartphone Controlled Padlock

By Brian Rhodes, Published Jan 16, 2014, 12:00am EST

A startup thinks you will buy padlocks you can open/close with your phone. Not to be outdone by the amazing SUPER RMR padlock, TEO's offering is aimed at the DIY padlock market (yes, that is a joke) but needs your pledges to push the idea into reality.

Here is the company's promo video:

In summary, this padlock uses Bluetooth Low Energy and a smartphone app to unlatch the metal padlock. The company claims the solution is a step beyond anything you have ever seen in a padlock, because you can remotely credential friends and family to open the lock. Have a family member who needs to borrow your bike? Just zap them over rights to open the padlock.

TEO's Highlights

Battery Powered: The company claims internal batteries are good for a year with normal use. The app includes a battery power readout to let you know things are low, before they go dead. There are no details on a mechanical key bypass if the lock or phone battery is dead.

Alarm: If someone tampers with the lock, it sends you notice... if you're within BLE range.

Location information: The lock drops a pin on a map, leaving you with where you last locked it. A useful feature if you ride bikes or share trailers with people.

The Kicker

It is $70! With traditional combination padlocks running less than $4 USD each, you could buy one and replace it over 15 times before spending as much as on the TEO.

The company is betting that users find the convenience of smartphone control is too powerful for consumers to pass up. However, don't give up on your current strategy of scratching combos on your hand with ballpoint pens yet:

Shipdate: THE FUTURE

Since the lock has not entered production yet, it is not available. The company expects units in inventory in December 2014. However, it is worth noting that many 'crowdfunded' projects have a nasty habit of missing, re-missing, and missing again projected shipping dates.

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