Internet connected bttn now half the size, adds long press

Internet connected button maker, bttn has launched a smaller version of its push-to-activate-a-digital service gadget.

The concept of bttn is simple: a push button device that can be placed somewhere in your home or business and linked with a digital action — such as ordering a taxi, or sending a pre-configured text message to say ‘I’m home!’.

Whatever your chosen custom action/s, they are triggered when someone pushes the hardware button. So, in other words, no need to interact with a pesky app.

The new bttn Mini is about half the size of the first gen bttn (which went up for pre-order in May 2014), and also includes an additional action to complicate matters (slightly): a long press which can be set to cancel or confirm a prior push.

The Finnish startup behind bttn, which also ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to get its gizmo to market, says the device has been most popular with small businesses so far — and it’s those customers that have been asking for the additional long press cancel/confirm option.

Happily the new feature is not limited to the bttn Mini; existing bttn users will be getting their extra push via a future firmware update.

The startup is not disclosing exactly how many bttns it’s shipped at this point but says it’s “more than 10,000 and less than 100,000” (so probably not vast quantities; it’s been shipping its buttons for just over two years at this point, with buyers in more than 100 countries).

The basic bttn costs €69 for consumers, or €99 for a branded version. Businesses do not buy individual bttns but pay a subscription, with pricing dependent on bttn volumes and length of time they sign up for the service.

One bttn buyer is France’s largest radio taxi operator, Les Taxis Bleus, which the startup says uses bttn in its concierge service, as well as distributing branded bttns to restaurants, hotels and boutiques — “where customers are frequently in need of a taxi” (that’s certainly one way for the taxi industry to fight Uber…).

Another example it mentions is Samsic, a real-estate and property management company that uses branded bttns in offices and buildings to signal on-site service or support need.

Plus it says online stores are also using its bttns to offer a “well-know re-order function” — much like Amazon’s Dash buttons for ordering staple products, then. (Also one way for smaller ecommerce businesses to try to keep up with the Amazon behemoth.)

Three types of connectivity are being offered for the new bttn Mini: mobile data, SIGFOX and Wi-Fi. The mobile data version of the bttn Mini is shipping from today, with the wi-fi version coming in July and SIGFOX as of Q3.