Calou is a 300 euro digital wall calendar slash bulletin board which combines an E-ink screen with a round magnetic frame. Powered by 4 standard AA batteries, Calou runs a basic calendar app which takes a family's online schedules and makes them readily accessible offline.
It syncs over Wifi with linked Google and Apple iCloud calendar accounts to offer up-to-the-minute schedules for several people, enabling any family member to simply glance at the screen and see everyone's activities.
And since it runs an accessible version of Android, it should also be possible to run other apps.
Calou runs Android 4.4 on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM and an unspecified amount of storage. Its 9.7" E-ink display has a touchscreen and screen resolution of 825 x 1200, and inside the box you'll find Wifi, Bluetooth, and a speaker.
This digital wall calendar went up for funding on Indiegogo a couple weeks ago, but it only crossed my desk today. It's a nifty gadget, but I have my doubts about the design and about the whole idea.
For one thing, the 4 AA batteries are only good for a couple weeks, which is simply not going to cut it. I don't expect the batteries to last that long, and the idea that one should have to change the batteries of a 300 euro wall fixture every couple weeks is simply ridiculous.
And while I will always love new gadgets, I don't see the point of Calou.
Calou wants to take an online schedule and give it an offline presence, and that strikes me as a retro solution to a problem which no longer exists. As I see it, any family which maintains an online schedule also has mobile devices, and computers with which to check that schedule. They won't need a Calou calendar in a single place in their home, not when they can pull out their smartphones and check the calendar just about anywhere.
And that is doubly true considering that the family in question updated their online calendar from said mobile devices.
Looking at the Indiegogo campaign, I think it's clear most people agree with me. Backers have contributed around 10 thousand euros towards the goal of 1.4 million euros. There are 19 days left in the campaign, and I don't think it's going to succeed.