While our connection with smart screens and all-powerful wearables is stronger than ever, the inevitable automation of everything has really put a strain on our relationship with physical things (That wave you gave to your speaker? It wasn’t to say hi, it was to command it to turn on. Aww). Qleek thinks we need to talk. Don’t freak: This isn’t a full-blown digital breakup. The device just aims to help us re-engage with the real world by putting digital content into our hands in a way that puts CD-ROMs to shame.
Qleek is an entirely new media system that consists of a sleek control panel base and wooden hexagonal discs called Tapps that act as physical placeholders for your favorite digital content. Yes, this is a real “Ariel gets her legs” moment for your Spotify playlists, YouTube collections and Instagram photos, all of which can be assigned to “live” on specific NFC chip-enabled Tapps. Once that sync from Cloud to beechwood disc is complete (process/software still TBD), just place the Tapp onto the player to start streaming its connected content through any Bluetooth-compatible TV or speaker system.
Curating Tapps is basically the modern equivalent of making a mix tape. Users not only hand-pick its content, but also get to customize the front of its six-sided base with a title, a photo or graphic, or even a geometric color block. And just like the mix tapes of high schools past, Tapps are meant to be gifted, traded and collected — stuffed full of emo tunes and passed to that cutie in your class or even primped with a link to your online resume and presented to a potential employer as a stand-out CV. Did you ever expect to have such an intimate experience with your iTunes library? Neither did we.
Qleek has devised an especially streamlined way to deal with physical media in our largely digital lives. The Qleek player itself resembles a Mac Mini with an open-air drive that defeats the need for extraneous control features. The place-and-play interaction is fairly immediate — a total plus for those with a one-click order mindset. Its compact design is miniscule compared to turntables or DVD players, freeing up precious room that bulky entertainment systems or bookshelves may have previously occupied. Even its storage solution is slick: a honeycomb-like wall mount that displays your Tapps collection as a mixed-media collage. Literally.
So will wooden hexagons replace YOUR collection of CDRs, vinyl, or books? Even though we’re seriously enamoured with its innovation, if you ask us, we’re fairly certain that it won’t outright dethrone such seriously established media systems in our own homes. It would be cool, though, to introduce the device into a less uber-personal environment like a coffee shop or office space (*cough* Brit HQ) so that content like playlists or presentations can be easily accessed without having to lug around a laptop. And that’s really the point of it all anyway: To make the media we consume more of an EXPERIENCE — an action that doesn’t at all translate through a mouse click.
Would you welcome Qleek into your connected home? Or would you rather leave your digital collection in the Cloud? Tell us in the comments below.