Nova wireless flash for Android devices fits into your wallet, raising money on Kickstarter

by: Chris SmithSeptember 25, 2013

Nova wireless flash

Android device users that would like to improve the quality of their mobile pictures should check out the Nova Kickstarter campaign which raises money for a wireless flash that would fit in one’s wallet.

The Nova wireless flash is meant to bring more light to your mobile photos when needed. The slim device is about as big as a credit card and it’s apparently ready to offer better flash capabilities than what regular smartphones and tablets can offer.

Nova wireless flash

According to the Kickstarter page, the Nova connects via Bluetooth to the handset, adding “soft, natural light” to photos taken with mobile devices thanks to its 40 65Lumen white LEDs.

Interestingly, the temperature is adjustable, letting you choose from soft, warm and brilliant light – a mix of these modes is also available. The device will offer up to 150 flashes between charges, and up to 4 weeks of standby, according to the specs listed on the Kickstarter page (see Source links below).

Moreover, the Nova will let users “choose the distance, the direction and the angle” from which they want the light to hit, by manually handling the device.

Nova wireless flash

In order to control the wireless flash, a Nova application will be installed on the smartphone, giving the photographer total control over the device.

With 11 days to go, the Nova Kickstarter campaign is already funded, with over 1,000 backers pledging more than twice than the needed money – currently we’re looking at almost $60,000 in pledges. Interested buyers can pay anywhere from $1 to $164 to support the project, and the Nova will be shipped at some point in February 2014 – in order to get a unit, you’ll have to pay at least $54.

Nova wireless flash

Before you bid though, you should know that the Nova needs Android 4.3 installed on the Android device – most likely because it connects to devices via Bluetooth 4.0 LE. Currently, there are listed among three supported devices, including the Nexus 7 (2013), the Galaxy S4 and the HTC One.

On Google+, the company said that the Nova will support Android 4.3 Jelly Bean implying that all future devices that will run the OS will be compatible with the wireless credit card-sized gadget.

What do you think about this particular mobile-related gadget? Are you buying one?

  • Cody Fyler

    No mention of the original Nexus 7 or Nexus 4 both of which run the latest android version?

    • Joe Walnes

      In theory ;) it should work on these devices, but I don’t want to say a device is definitely supported until I’ve been able to test it first hand. As soon as I can get these devices I will test.

      -Joe (Nova creator)

  • philnolan3d

    I would donate but almost no phones use 4.3. Gives it very limited in use right now, especially since my phones doesn’t have it. I’ll wish them luck though.

    • Joe Walnes

      It’s true that not many phones don’t have 4.3 right now, but we’re planning ahead. 4.3 will become more popular over the next few months as carriers push out the over-the-air updates.

      Because it’s a Kickstarter – the Nova devices won’t be shipped until February, by which point 4.3 should be a lot more popular. I hope!

      -Joe (Nova creator)

  • David Loman

    From the video on Nova’s website, I don’t think the flash is bright enough. It is a wonderful idea, but the LEDs on the “flash” just don’t seem bright enough for me. Doesn’t seem they are halogen, it has a yellowish tone on the video. LEDs and the LED on most high end devices is a white light, actually very bright. A great idea would be to use a flash like those on real cameras. You can get a very bright light with a very small halogen LED flash. I guess as soon as these guys from Nova raise enough money, they will put out a much better and brighter flash.

    • Joe Walnes

      Good points indeed David.

      I’m the inventor of Nova and getting the right light is very important to me. Here’s some backstory…

      The original idea of Nova was to create an adapter to allow a traditional horse-shoe style Xenon flash to be used from Bluetooth phones. There’s a problem with this though – most phone cameras use a “rolling shutter” , which is where the image is captured by scanning downwards, similar to a paper scanner. The traditional Xenon bulbs are designed to flash very quickly (e.g. 1/50,000th second) – this results in a single bar of light across the image while everything else is dark.

      To deal with this you need something that can “burn” a lot longer. Halogen is one option, but it’s big, power hungry and gets very hot. Really there’s only one option – LEDs.

      The LEDs we’ve selected are very bright (I had to wear sunglasses most of the time while testing it And there’s 40 of them. Really, they are very bright – unfortunately it was very hard to capture that in the video. I hope to try some more videos to illustrate the difference.

      But brightness isn’t the whole story. Most flashes on phones are bright enough already – in fact too bright. In most cases I end up turning the brightness of Nova down, and adjusting the two-tone LED color temperature to a warmer yellow. It looks more natural. Example:

      One final thing that motivated us to use LEDs. We’re not trying to compete with high end DSLR flashes. We’re trying to build a flash that’s slim and light so you always have it with you for when that unexpected photo opportunity arises.

      David, I hope that clears it up – and thanks for the feedback.

      -Joe (Nova creator)

      • David Loman

        Joe, I have to say I am amazed. I would’ve never expected to get a reply on a discussion board directly from the inventor of a product. I am very thankful for your reply to my comment giving me all the detailed explanation. Only pro’s do that. And well, you made your point and I understand. It is true, most Xenon bulbs are very bright. You end up having a picture with a lot of light on the target and a black background. Looking again at the picture where you compare a normal cellular LED and your Nova flash, I see the difference on the background. Now… I thought that these days you have halogen LEDs or something of the sort? It’s a very small halogen bulb very widely used these days in lamps and to replace light bulbs.

        And Joe, do you currently have this flash available in the US or are you already exporting it outside the US? I’m in Mexico and would love to give it a try. I even have friends who would be very interested on selling it over here.

        Thanks again for taking the time to explain all the details Joe.

        • Joe Walnes

          David – no problem!

          If you back the Kickstarter in the next 10 days , you’ll get free shipping to Mexico.

          In fact we offer free shipping to anywhere in the world!

          We’ll be starting our manufacturing process shortly after the Kickstarter ends and we hope to get Novas to our backers by February.

      • Lil bit

        I hope you take the flash timing seriously, all my Nokia phones fired the flash too early, often causing blink, esp at short ranges the problem was unbearable. Also had the problem on HTC, but never on Sony/Sony Ericsson or Galaxy devices. To test take close-up self portraits in a very dark room, and on several persons as its very individual how fast our eyelids reacts.

  • LiiIiikEaBau5

    This dude mention alot about iPhone on his kickstarter profile. Get da hack OFF! He should have used smartphone or iPhone/Android smartphone!

  • Damienstensonphotography

    Love it. Seen the iPhone version some time back. Not concerned about 4.3 as it’s not projected to ship till Q1 next year by which all if not most top end androids will be on 4.3 if not 4.4. Thanks for the heads up android authority, I’ll be placing an order.

  • Jacob

    Kickstarter has become a dream come true. If you are a genius, you don’t have to beg banks and Dragons(TV) for $50k. You can raise millions in Kickstarter and wow people.

  • RanRu

    This is a really neat idea, though I have one concern. While all phone flashes are “white,” they’re not all exactly the same color (they have hints of blue, pink, or yellow), and, to my knowledge, most phone manufacturers program their camera software specifically for the phone’s own flash, to combat the color differences. Wouldn’t that cause pictures taken on different phones to have weird colors when the software tries to correct the color?

    When I first read the headline, I thought it was a Bluetooth/WiFi-enabled flash drive the size of a credit card. Can we get a Kickstarter for that?