[Update: The original review mistakenly referred to a forthcoming Lightning dock version, when it will actually be Bluetooth.]
So what if it looks like a couple of hockey pucks stacked on your desk? That doesn’t mean it isn’t cool.
The motrr Galileo is basically a motorized swivel camera mount. The unit is 2” tall (closed) and 3-1/4” in diameter. The bottom has a mounting point for a tripod and a handy battery shaped indicator which will light up when you turn the base (if the battery is charged, the light is green; if the battery is dead, the light is orange).
Not enough cool yet? Okay, let’s see what it can do.
The Galileo is available in two models: a 30-pin dock connector version for the iPod touch and iPhone 3Gs/4/4s, and a forthcoming Bluetooth version. Once your iDevice of choice is mounted on the Galileo (and as long as the battery has charge) you now have a remote control-ready camera.
Simply install a camera app like mōtrr (or mōtrr Live when it’s ready) and you can use your iPad in London to control where the camera in San Francisco is pointing during your conference call. The Galileo can control motion through 360 degrees horizontally and vertically. The top portion of the unit can be adjusted on a swivel point to orient your iDevice in portrait, landscape, and just about any angle you like.
On a full charge, the Galileo can handle a 2 hour (ish) conference call or take stills/time lapse photos for several hours. The mōtrr site lists several apps currently offered by developers for use with the Galileo unit, including Sphere 360 (free app for panorama shots), IguanaLapse (for time lapse photography), and more.
Now, here comes the catch, and it is a significant catch. I tried to load up Sphere and take a few pics but I found out the hard way Sphere will only work with iDevices equipped with iOS 7. Your “antique” 4th-gen iPod Touch, which is only 2 years old, and your “ancient” iPhone may not be able to load some of these wonderful new apps. As a result, you won’t be able to use some of the tools you would like because developers don’t program backwards compatibility (in case you didn’t notice, yes, this is a major irritant to me). So, there is your “buyer beware” rant. Do be careful when selecting this item and the apps that go with it to be sure your device can handle it. The remote control device for some apps can be anything from an iPod touch 4th gen to iPhone 4-5s to iPad 2 or 3 to an actual web browser.
The Galileo does exactly what it says it will do. In case you are worried, the motor noise is not so loud as to be an issue in your video transmission/recording. The turn rate is brisk and the motion is smooth and precise. If only we could mount an iPad to it we could really build a nifty telepresence bot to rival Sheldon’s.
The Galileo comes in black and white (there was a limited edition Kickstarter green, so maybe mōtrr will add other colors later if we’re lucky). In the box, you get a USB to mini USB cable for charging the battery (17-1/2” long), iDevice cradle adapters for iPod touch and iPhone, and a set of instructions.
On the down side, depending upon the age of your iDevice, the Galileo could be either a $149 paper weight or an excuse to upgrade. On the up side, I like the unit and it works quite well. The $149.95 price tag is a bit high, but if the Galileo fills a need for you then it will be a descent investment. Just remember to check your device for app compatibility.
Buy the mōtrr Galileo
Compatibility: 30-pin dock connector: iPhone 3Gs/4/4s and iPod touch 4th gen; Bluetooth: iPhone 4s/5/5c/5s and iPod touch 5th gen
Availability: 30-pin dock connector: now; Bluetooth: late November