This phone makes it easier to call home

Ilan Abehassera had a communication problem. A frequent traveler with three young children at home, it was hard for him to stay in touch with his family through FaceTime, or even Skype. Wouldn’t it be great, he thought, if the home phone were just a little more advanced? Or if online technology like Skype and Google Hangouts were just a little more accessible?

So he came up with Ily, a phone his New York City company Insensi designed and recently made available for preorder.

On the outside, Ily looks like a thick tablet. There’s a screen and, to the left, there’s a speaker. On the inside, it’s a Wi-Fi-enabled device made specifically for video and voice calls, text messaging, sharing photos and even playing music. And despite resembling an iPad, Abehassera hopes it will be easy enough for everyone from his toddler to his grandmother to use.

For the more tech-savvy, Ily has a free app, similar to Skype, that lets people cross-communicate between an Ily phone and a smartphone (or from smartphone to smartphone).

For the less tech-savvy, the Ily phone has a big touch screen with only a handful of apps and functions. There’s no web-browsing capability, so parents don’t have to worry about their kids accessing the Internet. And for traditional land-line phone calls, Ily charges $15/month for a Voice Over IP (VoIP) plan that lets users make local and international calls.





Have an easier time finding constellations

On summer nights, there’s nothing quite like gazing at the sky and taking in the stars. But what exactly is up there?

With this app, you can point your phone at the sky and bring up illustrated versions, plus basic information about the constellations. There are also in-app purchases you can make to enhance its function and more deeply explore the planets.

There are a lot of star map apps out there that give you more, or perhaps more comprehensive, options for heavenly exploration by aid of your smartphone. But Star Chart is free to download and more than covers the basics.