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Thread: What new trends are on the horizon?

  1. #1
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    Default What new trends are on the horizon?

    As someone interested in EDC and everything that goes with it, it seems to me that there is a huge gap in the market that is ready for flashlights but is not being filled. Knives evolved very rapidly into multitools, it is perhaps time flashlights did the same.

    Some movements have been made to make flashlights more multi-purpose, but they don't seem to have taken off very well. I have a few ideas of things that might work, but would like to know what others think about what is already here, what is likely to come soon, and what will either never happen or will likely just be a passing fad and disappear quickly.

    The "one is none, two is one" idea makes a flashlight an untapped vessel for secondary backup.

    1) I think it is very obvious, with all the rechargeable flashlights entering the market, that it will become far more normal to have a power bank function, and perhaps even built-in cables. Some power banks have incorporated lighting, but in a very cheap crappy way as far as I have seen up to now, time it went the other way round.

    2) A waterproof stash component, for coins/notes/spare contact lenses, medication etc.

    3) A ferro rod or spark wheel, perhaps even a lighter.

    4) A blade, either completely removable or using the flashlight body as a handle.

    4) Whistle, since a torch is already a practical signalling device at night, why not during the daytime?

    5) Compass. Probably not a great idea, impractical and gimmicky?

    6) A flashlight, seriously. How about a main flashlight that has a small AAA removable backup light built in, or even a small rechargeable light that slides into a docking port. This would be great for camping, leave your main light within reach at night and slide out the mini-light to hang as a moonlight lantern overnight, or to read by, doesn't matter if it runs down completely, slide it back in to recharge in the morning.

    7) A pen. Some Swiss army knives have them, and I have used my True Utility nano pen on my keyring numerous times. So easy to leave your pen in the car when going to collect something you have to sign for, or drop off something the other party has to sign for. If your EDC doesn't have one, perhaps it should.

    8) Wrap-around storage. The body is cylindrical, switch often on the end, so the body is sometimes available to store some duct tape, rubber bands, paracord, why not have wrap-around Velcro storage for something else?

    What else pops into mind? What things are we going to see come and go, or remain as a common variant?

  2. #2

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    I disgree with this idea with the strongest emphasis possible. See Matthew 6:24, and I am not thumping anything here, but making a point (which is that the underlying principle is ancient).

    When attempting to add unnecessary features to a tool that is already effective and satisfactory at it's single task, you dilute and cripple its original purpose, and reduce the effectiveness of that tool from it being excellent at its purpose, to making it mediocre at any purpose. Multitools have their place, but any single-purpose tool is always better at its intended purpose than a multitool. The multitool is a compromise for when you don't know what you'll need, and can't carry the whole toolbox. When you carry a flashlight, you know you will need light. There can be no compromise for when light is needed, even if you need to open a bottle, charge your cell phone, spark a fire, stash something hidden away, cut something, and adding less used features such as these to a flashlight is absurd and wrong-headed, and the market agrees, which is why no attempt at such amalgamation has been successful with flashlights. "Do one thing, and do it well" is a far better ethic than "do any number of things, but not as well." A jack of all trades is a master of none.

    That said, it is not my intention to crush your creativity and ingenuity, which are admirable virtues. Even though the term is over used here when describing flashlights, in fact, nothing is perfect, nothing is ideal, and there is always room for improvement. But if one wants to improve a flashlight, one must focus on actually improving it, and not stuff it full of features that have nothing to do with flashlighting. Any sophomore member of CPF has learned the flashlight is only deceptively simple, and in fact has a myriad of characteristics which help it be better at its task, characteristics such as efficiency, color rendition, throw, durability, etc.. Focus on improving those features rather than bloating it with an attempt to be everything to everyone.

    Also, FWIW, I have no love of Ayn Rand nor her incomplete and ill-founded ideology. Any similarity of my opinions to her works is an unfortunate accident, merely coincidental, and meaningless.
    Last edited by chillinn; 03-20-2017 at 02:57 AM.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Nice idea for a thread Zulu... a Swiss Army Torch? I like the idea of being able to power bank off a light.

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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Chillin I fully understand your position, and to some extent agree. I do however believe that while there will always be a market for single blade knives and dedicated flashlights, there will also always be a market secured by Leatherman and Victorinox (for e.g.), which dedicated knives cannot compete with.

    Flashlights are sometimes not carried in cases where they would be if they had other uses. I think attempts to break into that market have been, up to now, pretty much failures.

    I see all that changing when quality flashlights become quality power banks. The battery technology is there, the circuitry is small enough, and now port incorporation is becoming more common.

    I think it is inevitable that this will lead to more people carrying, and wanting more functions from their flashlight. I am curious to see how far this will go and whether it will lead to some silly stuff and some really neat practical ideas.

    I think it will be interesting to get other perspectives on this.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strintguy View Post
    Nice idea for a thread Zulu... a Swiss Army Torch? I like the idea of being able to power bank off a light.


    No need to wait! Go nuts, and have at it.
    Last edited by chillinn; 03-20-2017 at 04:08 AM.

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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Yes Chillinn

    I am aware of those sorts of things, none of which begin with a quality flashlight as the primary focus (no pun intended).

    Powerbanks generally have crappy lights, Swiss army lights are absolutely minimalist emergency lights, and the multitools with flashlights built in are real Frankenstein monsters, cheap and crappy.

    Many prime quality flashlight manufacturers have recently released models with inbuilt micro USB ports or at least charging regulation circuitry for magnetically coupled chargers (though some of these probably have the circuitry in the external charger part). It is a small step (and has already been done ) to incorporate a second USB port and associated circuitry for a power bank function. Then people will seriously consider carrying a quality flashlight instead of a power bank, it is more useful and rugged after all, and the battery can be replaced! How long before the demand that the cable be incorporated, and that this useful portable power and light source have a third function?

    It's inevitable that there will be some successful ideas, built properly by the best manufacturers, with the primary function being split evenly between flashlight and power bank.

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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Flashlights will remain flashlights, and we like our lower than low lumens. CORREX: I meant to say Good flashlights will remain good flashlights.
    Last edited by RedLED; 03-20-2017 at 01:58 PM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Whilst in theory it's a great idea I think the reality is you'd either have to massively compromise on the quality of the tools / size of battery etc or alternatively be carrying something the size of a small house and most of the time when I'm out walking the dog don't need the other bits so buy a torch that's small and compact that has a decent amount of light / run time.

    If you were in a situation you wanted all of those tools with you personally I'd grab a bum bag / fanny pack and chuck all the bits I needed in there ... I could still have a decent torch to hand that was small enough to be in my pocket.

    I'm not knocking the OP's idea but I can see why it hasn't taken off in the past.

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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Witterings, while I see your point, I am sure that with only a couple of words changed your post could just as easily be a reply to the introduction of the Leatherman.

    Knives have the advantage that they were already EDC pocket items, and the Swiss army knife had already introduced the idea of a quality multi-function tool based on the knife. Torches have never had that introduction, they are not generally pocket items in the same way as knives, yet people carry bulkier power banks around with them, containing the same battery technology, without the utility. That is a shoe-in-the-door for the next generation of torches to hit the holy grail of marketing, the crossover consumer, who may carry everyday something he never considered before, because it is now more useful than he could have imagined.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    zulumoose ... go and do it then!!!! I'd wish you all the very best of success with your venture and when you've made your 1st million I'll also be the 1st to unreservedly congratulate you !!!

    I'd certainly be interested in any designs that someone came up with for one of these but the very 1st thing I'd look at would be it's size which ... for me at least ... could very easily be a knockout.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    I'm not in the design or manufacturing business, though it is something I would probably find quite satisfying.

    In terms of size, my Olight AAA puts out much more and much better quality light than most 2 or 3D cell torches did when I was a child, yet I could probably fit 20 of them inside a box the size of my powerbank, which only charges my phone once fully now since the batteries cannot be replaced and has an all but useless LED light, maybe 2-5 lumens. A quality 18650 torch with usb in and out, and a built in cable, would be a no-brainer for myself, and I suspect many others. I would love for it to have extra utility as justification for EDC as well, but only if built really well.

    There are bound to be many crappy concepts that come and go first though. How many kids bought terrible "survival" knives after Rambo was released, with compasses, fishing line, hollow handles, etc etc.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Nice idea bro.

    Lets see what time reveals. With 3D PDF and CNC machinery combined with miniturized lighting technologies, there is no telling what may result.
    John 3:16
    "Girls from Montana are good dancers" -PK

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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Searched the already available multi tool/gadgets with lights in them. I have had the SAK Traveler Lite, model for a few years and like it and the features it has. It could use a better LED, however, I see it as a dont trip on your suitcase in a hotel room light, so for that second of navigation it is fine. They can fix that though, and maybe have mine is like three years old

    The Victorinox models are beautiful, Leatherman, too, as always but I found most of the other brands of things to be, well, kind of cheap, and then sliding straight down off the scale to real junk, and totally useless. I do like multi tools, and have the original Leatherman, the Leatherman Wave and Juice I bought ten years ago. I have two of the first Gen. SOG multi tools with pliers, USA made and they are beautiful. They had very creative designs for the time they came out.

    Other than that, while there are several more well designed ones, the vast majority of the lot are really poorly done kind of useless, and junky. I don't look very much anymore as there is nothing that has been a real revolution, a game ghanger, if you will, since the original Leatherman.

    The one I travel with, use and like the best is that original Leatherman from the 80's.

    Something that I really like a lot is PK's Icon Caribiner light. That is so cool, and I have it snapped on my camera bag.

    There are a lot of creative people out there, and someday, someone will come up with another game changer that we will all want. I just see that the folding multi tool design has been done to death, and lacks the charm, and timelessness of the Swiss Army Knives. Design is hard to do...

    I just remember the press release that read: 'The device that will change the way we live, and everyone's life on the planet,' That turned out to be the Segway...the single most over hyped device in history! I remember the big unveiling live on all the networks, and when I saw it instantly thought, no, what is this thing? Really, this is a golf cart you stand up in. Is it a cool device, of course it is but it was no game changer for the masses. You could see the people covering the event and their lackluster letdown, the hosts did not know how to respond, and they went to commercials almost instantly, we all had been had, tricked and fooled, by some masterful PR firm. News coverage of the unveiling never made the front pages of the newspapers the next day. Is Segway even still in business?

    The smartphone people are now trying to find the next big thing in their industry, they need another Steve Jobs to come along. If they added a knife, screwdrivers, tooth pick and tweezers to the smartphone, (They have flashlights already), we would be set. Oh, forgot scissors!
    Last edited by RedLED; 03-20-2017 at 02:10 PM.
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedLED View Post
    Searched the already available multi tool/gadgets with lights in them. I have had the SAK Traveler Lite, model for a few years and like it and the features it has. It could use a better LED, however, I see it as a dont trip on your suitcase in a hotel room light, so for that second of navigation it is fine. They can fix that though, and maybe have mine is like three years old

    The Victorinox models are beautiful, Leatherman, too, as always but I found most of the other brands of things to be, well, kind of cheap, and then sliding straight down off the scale to real junk, and totally useless. I do like multi tools, and have the original Leatherman, the Leatherman Wave and Juice I bought ten years ago. I have two of the first Gen. SOG multi tools with pliers, USA made and they are beautiful. They had very creative designs for the time they came out.

    Other than that, while there are several more well designed ones, the vast majority of the lot are really poorly done kind of useless, and junky. I don't look very much anymore as there is nothing that has been a real revolution, a game ghanger, if you will, since the original Leatherman.

    The one I travel with, use and like the best is that original Leatherman from the 80's.

    Something that I really like a lot is PK's Icon Caribiner light. That is so cool, and I have it snapped on my camera bag.

    There are a lot of creative people out there, and someday, someone will come up with another game changer that we will all want. I just see that the folding multi tool design has been done to death, and lacks the charm, and timelessness of the Swiss Army Knives. Design is hard to do...

    I just remember the press release that read: 'The device that will change everyone's life on the planet,' That turned out to be the Segway...the single most over hyped device in history! I remember the big unveiling live on all the networks, and when I saw it instantly thought, no, what is this thing? Really, this is a golf cart you stand up in. Is it a cool device, of course it is but it was no gamle changer for the masses. You could see the people covering the event and their lackluster letdown, the hosts did not know how to respond, and they went to commercials almost instantly, we all had been had by some masterful PR firm. News coverage of the unveiling never made the front pages of the newspapers the next day. Is Segway even still in business?

    The smartphone people are now trying to find the next big thing in their industry, they need another Steve Jobs to come along. If they added a knife, screwdrivers, tooth pick and tweezers to the smartphone, (They have flashlights already), we would be set. Oh, forgot scissors!
    I have a 20 year old Leatherman Wave, and prior to that a SOG with one hand opening that I passed on to my son. I carry a SAK in my EDC bag with my powerbank, and a flexible USB lamp for it.

    Segway are very much in business, and are doing well here in South Africa. You can book a Segway tour of some tourist spots, and shopping mall security patrols use them often.

    Your Idea for a phone with a bit of everything can easily be achieved by using a flapover phone cover that has credit card slots, and inserting a Victorinox swisscard.

  15. #15

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    #1 If a powerbank flashlight was done right that would be cool. We already have flashlights that do a better job of charging than some chargers. USB outlets are big, though.

    #2 Over the weekend I was actually shopping around for a metal pill fob with similar dimensions to a 16340 or 18350 battery, to use as a functional spacer.

    #3 and #4 have both been done badly in the past.

    #6 I think coleman made lanterns like that.

    #8: We used to wrap our water bottles in duct tape when I was a kid. Did anyone else do that?

    Edit:
    One of Chillin's links just blew my mind. It's a flashlight, a powerbank, a bluetooth speaker... and it has an SD card slot. Why? I don't know, but it's got one. Maybe they just had extra SD card slots laying around at the factory the day some guy started soldering junk together, but all of this can be yours for just $13.99. Oh, and when it catches fire, you can use it as a lighter.
    Last edited by EseriesModder; 03-20-2017 at 03:26 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    What would be cool would be swiss army stuff the can lego to the light. Interchangeable 'kits' so-to-speak.

    Maybe even lego to each other with a 2aa or something like that as the vessel. One with a side button so stuff can be lego'd onto the tail cap... or the actual tailcap could be the actual lego'd kit to remove or replace.

    With todays tech perhaps a 1aa with total length of a 2aa when kit is attached.

    Got a camping fan of a brother? Give him a light with a camping kit for his birthday. Got a kid who's a geek, give hi a computer repair light for Christmas... perhaps your grandma is a widow... a small home repair tool kit, nothing that replaces the real tools but stuff that will do the trick in a pinch like leathermans and swiss army stuff does. Only screwed onto a nice little flashlight.
    John 3:16
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    So, we can take a Fenix TK35, make it run on one cell. The second cell can be used as a micro usb powerbank, or just swapped into the other position if your main cell goes dead. Or, run with the second "tube" full of survival goodies like a ferro rod and whistle inside a super thin 18650 sized tube... Lower max output more in line with the single cell powersource. I'd buy one for my truck bag. Fenix- Make it happen!!!

    EDIT- Fenix could even pre- package "modules" in the 18650 sized tubes. (A'la Mr. Fixer, see above post...) One for urban needs. (Small sewing kit, magnifier, tweezers, etc.) A small fishing kit. A signaling package. (Small mirror, compass, whistle, firestarting stuff) An empty one for you to fill on your own. Serious potential here... I do want the powerbank option to use a cord with mico USB on each end. No reason I know of for big bulky USB cable end just to move some juice.
    Last edited by scout24; 03-20-2017 at 06:32 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    ^^ Thisssssss!!!

    How could I forget fishing kit?!?
    John 3:16
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    (Maybe PK could beat Fenix to the punch. He's got to be able to rapid prototype a 2x18650 side-by-side light...)

  20. #20

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    OMG PLEASE STOP. I have no Interest In having a flashlight that looks like this....go make a even more useless smart phone or something

  21. #21

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    I hope plastic lights make a comeback. Popular for incandescent which can't hurt itself with heat, less so for sensitive LED.

    That leaves me with less plastic lights which don't feel cold, are tooth-friendly, and are less worrisome to drop.

    I have a couple HDPE Dynalite's (6D lantern style flashlights), a Surefire G2 (I run 3.7v xenon so I don't destroy an led module), a pelican 3315 (led very decent light), and now a pelican 2340. But only one led, and 160? Lumens at that. Still, I seek quality plastic lights.

  22. #22
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sambob View Post
    OMG PLEASE STOP. I have no Interest In having a flashlight that looks like this....go make a even more useless smart phone or something
    I need bigger pockets on my pants yikes

  23. #23
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Quote Originally Posted by zulumoose View Post
    I have a 20 year old Leatherman Wave, and prior to that a SOG with one hand opening that I passed on to my son. I carry a SAK in my EDC bag with my powerbank, and a flexible USB lamp for it.

    Segway are very much in business, and are doing well here in South Africa. You can book a Segway tour of some tourist spots, and shopping mall security patrols use them often.

    Your Idea for a phone with a bit of everything can easily be achieved by using a flapover phone cover that has credit card slots, and inserting a Victorinox swisscard.
    Zulu,

    Yes, South Africa. When it was launched it was to be of use to everyone in the world, it would change how we live. Well it didn't and it is only good for tourists and whatever Cops use them. Both parties should be walking anyway. It was a huge industrial failure, no that is to dignified a word...let's see Flop is more like it.

    The build up to this was huge, and when they revealed it we all thought that maybe this was a prank or a joke. They have a huge range of 24 miles. In like 2008, a man came by my studio to have me shoot a part with rulers, so he could sent it to machine shops across the country to have it produced as Segway no longer, I guess had the part. He told me he invested most of his fortune in Segway, and and wanted to hit the designer in the head with a shovel, like the mob, because he lost almost all of his investment, and was going broke as no one wanted a Segway. Infact he could not afford my hourly rate, so, I just said a hundred will do. The digital time with complex lighting would have been over a grand. I just felt sorry for him.

    He let me try one that he had with him, and it was fun well thought out engineering and the biggest two minute wonder in the entire history of mankind. After a couple minutes, I heard the office phone ring, and went in to get it. Now, if he had a Ferrari, that call could have gone to voice mail.
    Last edited by RedLED; 03-21-2017 at 12:08 AM.
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sambob View Post
    OMG PLEASE STOP. I have no Interest In having a flashlight that looks like this....go make a even more useless smart phone or something


    I don't know what that is in the middle, but it looks like a telescopic radio antenna!

    Some things are obviously not practical, but someone ends up doing them anyway, which generates a few novelty sales or something else for collectors to add to make their set complete.

    With flashlights it is genuinely hard to think of practical extras that might take off and become an option that most manufacturers offer on some models, but the powerbank utility is undeniable, at least for rechargeable flashlights, and I think perhaps an optional screw on watertight compartment (for non-tail switch models) is maybe something that could become popular. Along with the powerbank function USB cable storage could be a good selling point, some powerbanks have built-in cables but amazingly most don't offer even storage for a cable, making that an extra inconvenience left to the user to solve. A flat cable that rolls up tightly could fit within a tail cap on many flashlights, or a slot along the side that accepts a cable. Cables don't have to be long to be useful.


  25. #25

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    I think the task is do-able, but discovering which sized light would be the most appealing would probably be the biggest obstacle.

    25 years ago ya woulda just done a 2C sized flashlight configuration and the market would either buy it or not.

    These days with flashlight sizes varying between the size of a thumbnail to a baseball bat, with a bazillion shapes and sizes between them... to me that would be the biggest challenge.
    John 3:16
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  26. #26

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    My hopes for a ďtrendĒ in flashlight technology would be for continued improvement of those things that make for a better flashlight rather than bloating up a device with things not light related. I think two good examples of this would be the Sunwayman V11r and the Streamlight Protac 1L-1AA. Both examples are fuel flexible, giving the user the ability to keep producing light from a variety of readily available sources. Each light offers a different feature set catering to different tastes but in each case the options offered enhance the function of the light as a light, not something other than a light.

    They both accomplish this while retaining a size and shape that has already proven to be both useful and popular, the single cell light. This is important because itís about the upper limit of what most people, most of the time are willing to carry on their person. Anything much larger than this ends up being carried off-body. If itís not actually on you then itís not going to be there when you need it. If you have to stop what youíre doing to go get the light than you might as well go get anything that might be attached to it, like a battery charger, for instance.

    I believe the focus should remain on making the light a better light. This can be either technically better or ergonomically better. Examples of the former would be brighter, longer running or both. Examples of the later would be the Sunwayman's control ring, allowing just the right amount of light for a particular task, or the clip on the Protac that allows the light to be used as a headlamp. These are features that actually enhance the light or how we use it. Thatís real progress and a trend I hope to see more of in the future.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Bykfixer- I envision the side by side 18650 platform, or a "12P" sized light with side switch, running one 18650 in regular configuration, or remove tailcap and screw in a 1x18650 extention with the aforementioned items or a spare cell inside. With that platform, no seperate inner tube is needed, and the whole interior space can be utilized.

  28. #28

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    ^^ Agreed and a "12P" sized platform is very user friendly for handling or carrying.

    Side by side could conceivably be about the girth of a 2D Mag, so either would be great in my view
    Last edited by bykfixer; 03-22-2017 at 08:20 AM.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    Imagine a 2D mag with some crazy 32900 cell or something (not that it exists but if you will, assume it's researched almost as well as other sizes, and there are at least 15Ah) with a zebralight-esque driver pushing an XHP35 along with a dummy cap (which not only has storage for a tiny cable but *also* covers both in and out charge ports!)

    That could be sweet. I'd buy that

  30. #30

    Default Re: What new trends are on the horizon?

    I think it's incredible how many people are against the idea. It's not like the industry would suddenly shift to one newly adopted goal. Just like always they'll continue developing multiple products.

    the simple, single cell, everyday carry flashlight won't disappear any time soon.

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