Hi Doppler backers.
In this update, we are going to break down what’s in the newest Doppler update, how to get it, and what is next for the Doppler. The newest Doppler update is Version 1.4 and it’s ready to beta test! Strap in, as this update, as explained in detail below, is a doozy!
A look back
Before we dive into version 1.4 we would like to share an updated About Us page on our website that now goes through the entire history of the Sandman brand. It’s been a heck of a ride and we thank everyone for supporting us through it. If anyone asks you about the Doppler this is a relatively quick way to learn the entire history of the product you supported. Give it a read here: https://www.sandmanclocks.com/pages/about
Under the hood
First off we have a massive change under the hood as we have upgraded the Doppler’s Yocto-based operating system from version 2.4 (codenamed Rocko) to version 3.0 (codenamed Zeus). As part of this upgrade, we have also ripped out and redone the way the Doppler communicates with your Wi-Fi network. We are hopeful that this switch will improve Wi-Fi performance as well as solve random drops in Wi-Fi networks that some users have seen. We also have a bunch of other interesting under-the-hood type upgrades and bug fixes included in this update as well. These upgrades should increase the security, reliability, and performance of the Doppler in multiple ways.
While under-the-hood changes are great, the feature we are SUPER excited about is Alexa routine integration. When your Doppler has been updated to 1.4 you’ll be able to program Alexa routines to activate based on the currently unused 1 and 2 Doppler buttons on the top of your Doppler. This is a relatively unique feature in the smart home world and super useful on the Doppler. You’ll now be able to program a good night or good morning routine and silently trigger it at the press of a button. You can program these routines for radio stations, smart lights, electrical outlets, smart locks, music, games, white noise, etc. It truly is VERY powerful. There are lots of articles and YouTube videos on how to set up Alexa routines, these guides can also serve as inspiration for routines. Amazon also has some templates you can check out in your Alexa app. Here is a great video and an article to kick things off.
So how are the Alexa routines with Doppler smart buttons going to work? While they are very easy to add, Amazon didn’t have an easy way for us to integrate them, so our solution is a little bit hacky. There is a video showing the super simple process in the app to show you how to do it. You can also edit any routine and have multiple triggers, like a voice trigger (“Alexa, Good morning”) and the Doppler smart button 1 trigger. Hopefully in the future Amazon adds something a little bit more user-friendly for us to integrate, but for now, we are pretending to be a motion sensor to make this magic work.
One more note, we originally planned to do this using an Alexa skill, but this motion sensor workaround allowed us to implement these smart buttons without forcing the user to jump through the hoop of an Alexa skill. We are still working on the skill and will push it out in the near future.
There is a video in the new app version showing you exactly how to set up these smart buttons.
What are you going to use the smart buttons for?
Currently, the Doppler only allows forecasted weather, but we are changing that with version 1.4, with real-time weather.
The Doppler weather screen has been overhauled and now has the ability to display forecasted as well as real-time weather data. This real-time weather data is updated every hour on the Doppler and should update often enough for people who want to know what the weather is like outside at a glance.
Along with this change, we now have the ability to display humidity, air quality data, high temperature, and low temperature information. All of these values are color-coded and we are looking for any feedback you can provide to further improve this feature. We hope these changes allow everyone to customize their weather display in the way that is most useful to them.
Along with weather, the Alarm screen has gotten a major overhaul with version 1.4 to improve and further customize the Doppler. There are a bunch of new features here, and we will go through them below:
First off, we have added the time to the next active alarm on the top of the screen. This is especially useful when you have multiple recurring alarms active.
You’ll now be able to stop and snooze an alarm from the app. This is especially useful if you forget to turn off your alarm and you’re not near your Doppler.
Alarm bell colors used to be fixed: (red for the system alarm, green for app alarms, blue for Alexa alarms). Now, these alarm bell colors are customizable in the app and the alarm bell color on the Doppler will be changed as well.
Setting an alarm for PM instead of AM is a very common problem that we wanted to fix. So we added a popup warning if you attempt to set a PM alarm. With this new update hopefully, these types of mistakes will be a thing of the past with the Doppler. If PM alarms are set frequently, you can turn these alerts off quickly in the alarm settings menu. Along with PM alarm alerts we also have an alert if you set a silent or very low volume alarm.
Snooze has been adjusted and you can now set the snooze time for the alarms you set in the Sandman App to something other than 9 minutes.
You can also easily turn off ascending alarms so the alarms start going off at full volume rather than ramping up over the course of a couple of minutes like the Doppler currently operates.
In the 1.4 update, we are also adding a new feature we are very excited about: Simultaneous alarms. This feature is super useful for people that tend to sleep through their alarm or turn off their alarm while still mostly asleep. With this new simultaneous alarm feature, you’ll have the ability to make your Doppler AND your phone ring at the same time forcing you to turn both of them off. Hopefully, this feature will be useful for those that need a little help waking up in the morning. We are going to put a Beta tag on this feature since there are so many edge cases and, in particular, Apple’s app rules don’t let alarms work as well and as openly as we’d like.
Finally, time offsets can be created from the app in a new advanced time settings menu. If you want to set your clock a little fast or slow for whatever reason, now you can from the app!
Along with alarms, routines, and weather, we are also revamping the Doppler information screen to add some new features as well as the ability to upgrade your Doppler software yourself!
All planned future updates will be available via this screen, allowing you to update your Doppler software when it is convenient for you. We still have the ability to upgrade your software remotely for security and stability purposes, but we want to make sure that you, as the customer, are in control of your device and always know what is happening with it.
When a new update is available you’ll be able to head into the Doppler information menu and either download or install the update from your app. Once installed, the Doppler will restart right away and install the update quickly.
Another feature we are adding to the Doppler information screen is a release notes screen so you can see all the updates and features on both the latest app and Doppler release. Finally, on this new screen, you’ll be able to opt into future Doppler beta releases, making this process easier for all.
I want the beta!
We are excited for everyone to try these new features, but first, we are going to run a beta test to make sure things are working well before releasing these features to everyone!
Because this newest app has the ability to upgrade your Doppler, we are going to try and test both things at the same time. So all that you need is the beta version of the app and then you’ll be able to opt into the beta firmware for your Doppler (from the new app), test out some new features, and upgrade your Doppler yourself to test out the rest!
The app has also been optimized for iPads as well as more screen sizes for both iOS and Android phones. Please test away on everything you can!
If you previously have gotten a Beta build of the Doppler app, you’ll be invited to this beta test automatically. If you would like to join the beta test please head to this link and fill out the form: https://form.typeform.com/to/PpgEYvdU
We will be sending out the beta app link to anyone who is interested. Join the Discord today to stay as informed as possible!
Alexa Skill and Spotify coming soon
The final bit of information we would like to share with all of you is that our Alexa skill and Spotify are on the roadmap and are coming very soon. The bones for both the Alexa skill and Spotify are included with this latest Doppler software. Stay tuned for updates on these features as we hope they will be launching pretty soon!
We hope everyone is enjoying their Dopplers and these new features make your Doppler even more useful.
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