N.H. startup offers a friendly reminder

Ever drive 50 miles to meet an old friend, only to realize that you forgot your cell phone and can’t call the person you’re supposed to meet? Ever try to sync your BlackBerry with Bluetooth in order to Google MapQuest, only to recall that your smart phone is still sitting on your kitchen table?A new product called the Bringrr Reminder hopes to make those quandaries a thing of the past.The Reminder is a cylindrical device that plugs in to your car’s cigarette lighter, then uses Bluetooth technology to remind you if you don’t have your cell phone.”I tend to forget things a lot,” said Jim Logan, inventor of the Bringrr Reminder. “I admit that – so it was a great product for me, and I haven’t forgotten my phone since.”Logan, 51, is chief executive and founder of Bringrr Systems, the Manchester startup whose sole product is the Reminder.He explained how his gadget works: “When the car starts up, Bringrr reaches out and sort of pings the phone saying, ‘Hey phone 102, are you there?’ And if phone 102 is there, it pings back and says, ‘Yes, 102 is here,'” he said.If the phone is present, you will hear what Logan describes as a pleasant sound, and a light on the device will turn blue. If it’s not, you’ll hear a not-so-pleasant ‘bring-bring, bring-bring’ and the light will turn red.”Then you know that you forgot your phone,” Logan said.Logan, the father of more than 30 patented inventions, calls himself a “serial entrepreneur.” He is a founder of MicroTouch Systems, which became the world’s largest manufacturer of touch screens, and later went on to found the metadata company Gotuit Media.Now Logan is trying his luck in Manchester. “We have a pretty full product pipeline,” Logan said. “Things that are either on the drawing boards or being worked on.”Heng Pan, Bringrr’s vice president of engineering, e-mailed from California about the company’s decision to develop the Reminder.”We conducted a survey last summer in office buildings and malls in Massachusetts and New Hampshire about the problem of people forgetting their phones. It turned out that lots of people considered this to be a problem. In fact, 80 percent of those surveyed said that forgetting their phones at home was a problem for them, and of those 80 percent, 30 percent of them said they would purchase a gadget at our price point that would keep them from forgetting their phones.”Bringrr Systems is one of 23 companies based out of a mill building operated by the Amoskeag Business Incubator, a nonprofit that aims to encourage job creation and help small business grow by offering subsidized office space and other services.The Reminder isn’t the first gizmo invented to help you remember your phone. The QuicKlip retractable leash, a more primitive technology – but one that will work for folks who don’t drive – clips to your belt and to ensure that your phone is attached at the hip.Another device, the Zomm, claims to triple as Bluetooth speakerphone, wireless leash and personal safety device. Like the Reminder, the Zomm pairs with your phone via Bluetooth. But rather than plugging in to the cigarette lighter, the Zomm attaches to your key chain, notifying you when you are 30 feet away from the phone.With Bringrr, Pan said, “You do not need to carry another device around with you all day – especially one that needs charging every three days. With Bringrr, you just plug it in to your cigarette lighter and never think about it again.”The Reminder costs $34.99. A cell phone-charging version will be available in late August for $45. – SIMON RIOS/THE TELEGRAPH