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Foyles bookshop launches range of smart home controllers: the Colon and Semicolon

1st April 2017



Update, 12pm - Ok, you rumbled us. It's April 1st, and we're indulging in one of our now traditional April Fools jokes. We suspect you didn't fall for it, but if we strung you along for a while please forgive us. We had a lot of fun making the film, and we hope you had a giggle or two while watching it. The Colon and Semicolon are just, alas, flights of fancy (as well as supremely useful punctuation marks): whilst we love to innovate and try new things, we reckon we'll stick to what we know in future. AKA books.


We are delighted to announce the launch of Foyles' new smart home controller range: the ColonTM and SemicolonTM. Developed at our inhouse R&D wing, F-LAB, the devices mark our next step into the tech market, following the successful launch of our holographic bookseller on 1st April 2016.


With their unique, clap-activated control system, and an onboard content database, the new products will revolutionise the world of home entertainment for Foyles customers. The system is fully integrated with the Foyles website, and allows users to order any book in print simply by clapping the ISBN. The devices are also programmed to recite articles from the Foyles blog, with a selection of pre-programmed celebrity voices.


The ColonTM is the flagship model, with a full range of features including stereo sound and a library of royalty-free music. The more affordable SemicolonTM mirrors the ColonTM’s sleek, spherical design in a smaller, less expensive body, with a shorter USB cable.


Since the move of its flagship store to 107 Charing Cross Road in 2014, the independent bookseller has worked to integrate the classic physical environment of bookshops with the utility and convenience of new digital technologies. With the introduction of the ColonTM and SemicolonTM, the company aims to expand this philosophy beyond the bookshop and into readers’ homes.


Jeff Clark, Head of Design at F-LAB, comments:

“A lot of companies are doing the smart home controller thing, but we like to think we’ve added a new, Foyles-ish twist to the concept. The devices learn to recognise the user’s unique clap sound, making it almost as secure as a fingerprint. We’ve learnt a lot since our experience with the self-replicating 3D printer, and we’re confident that our ColonTM and SemicolonTM will transform customers’ homes and lives (in a good way).”


Simon Heafield, Head of Marketing, comments:

“We’re hearing a lot about the internet of things, and as a company that has been selling things (ie books) for over a hundred years, we felt we should be at the forefront of that technology, whatever it is.”



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