smart home

Sony’s Xperia AI reinvention puts Alexa in the crosshairs

Sony’s Xperia AI reinvention puts Alexa in the crosshairs

Sony has set its sights on the "evolution of communication", and it's not content to let Google, Amazon, and Apple hog the spotlight in AI. The company may have a patchy track-record with its Xperia range of phones and tablets over the past few years, but with the rebooting of its mobile business in 2016 and a more ambitious strategy centered on smart products with more unusual form-factors and functions, it could well be time to take Sony seriously again.

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Xiaomi Nexus coming to Google IO?

Xiaomi Nexus coming to Google IO?

This morning former Google head and current Global VP for Xiaomi, Hugo Barra, announced that these two companies would come together this week. He suggested that he was "beyond thrilled to share that Xiaomi will be part of Google I/O." Barra went on to show the picture you see later in this article (in gray and orange), along with a note "a sneak peek of what you'll see from Mi at #io16." A company like Xiaomi could potentially, and very realistically, be bringing just about anything - but they'll probably be bringing an Android TV box.

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Works With Nest reveals a load of new connections

Works With Nest reveals a load of new connections

The folks that work on software with Nest have revealed a whole lot of new collaborators in their "Works with Nest" initiative. This includes the Nest Cam, the Nest Learning Thermostat, and Nest Protect, the lot of which have found new bits of software and hardware to work with over the past few weeks. This is part of a new API sent to developers this month, giving developers new abilities and potential for feature integrations.

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Amazon now has a programmable Dash Button for the IoT

Amazon now has a programmable Dash Button for the IoT

Amazon has revealed a programmable Dash Button which can be assigned to any product or purpose, a customizable version of its one-touch reordering gadgets. The AWS IoT Button looks just like the existing Dash Buttons, which allow products from more than 100 brands to be ordered with a single tap - no web browser required - and delivered to a preset address, but is designed for developers and Internet of Things tinkerers to dig into.

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Google to respond to Amazon Echo at last with codename “Chirp” device

Google to respond to Amazon Echo at last with codename “Chirp” device

Insider sources have let loose information about Google's next big hardware project and the center of their IoT smart home project Google On. This device, they say to ReCode, and will look similar to Google's On Hub - to absolutely no-one's surprise. Or at least no surprises are being had by those who assumed Google was doing this in the first place. Think about Google's work with Weave, their network of smart home electronics, their aim to take over the home with devices they've already released. A Google Echo device makes perfect sense.

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Nest OpenThread launches to bring open-source into the IoT

Nest OpenThread launches to bring open-source into the IoT

The attempt to get all parts of the Internet of Things speaking the same language continues, with Nest today announcing OpenThread, an open-source implementation of Thread. The Thread networking technology - launched in 2014 and backed, among others, by ARM, Qualcomm, and Texas Instruments - builds on existing wireless standards like 802.15.4 and supports IPv6, but uses a mesh network for greater resilience and performance

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This Viv bot just put Siri and Google Now on notice

This Viv bot just put Siri and Google Now on notice

Watch out, Siri, Google Now, and Alexa, because there's a new virtual assistant in town and Viv wants to eat your lunch (after probably ordering it first, too). Dubbed "The Global Brain", Viv is actually the handiwork of some of Siri's creators prior to the technology being acquired by Apple, and as an astonishing demonstration today indicates, they've not been idle in the meantime.

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iOS 10 might finally bring an official Apple HomeKit app

iOS 10 might finally bring an official Apple HomeKit app

It's been more than a year since Apple introduced its own foray into the budding market of smart appliances and home automation products, what some label as the Internet of Things. Since then, adoption of HomeKit by manufacturers and developers has been steady but somewhat slow. Adoption by consumers, however, was perhaps slower, hampered by the dozens of apps available, one per smart home product. A long requested feature, Apple might have finally listened to its customers and might soon have its own official HomeKit app, available starting iOS 10.

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Here’s how Samsung and GE will bake the IoT into your kitchen

Here’s how Samsung and GE will bake the IoT into your kitchen

The Internet of Things wants to invade your kitchen, and a new breed of high-tech, high-price appliances is the gateway. Samsung has followed up its oddball Family Hub Fridge - which puts a big touchscreen tablet interface on the front of a double-door fridge-freezer - with another connected gadget for the kitchen, a WiFi-enabled range.

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Samsung Family Hub fridge finally available for purchase

Samsung Family Hub fridge finally available for purchase

It might sound like a tablet, a cylinder, or even a touch-enabled table, but if you saw Samsung's big reveal at CES early this year, you probably already know that the Samsung Family Hub is, in fact, a glorified refrigerator with a gigantic touch screen. To some, it might have sounded too futuristic to be true, but the Korean manufacturer has just proven them wrong by making the Samsung Family Hub available in the market at long last. Now you won't have to worry about forgetting if you need to buy eggs or not, or about the kitchen being only about food.

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Roost now has its own Smart Smoke Alarm

Roost now has its own Smart Smoke Alarm

Last year, Roost made an interesting proposition. Keep your traditional smoke detectors but make them smarter simply by using its 9V Smart Battery. That was practically all you needed to do to get things like alarm notifications, battery level alerts, and even naming your smoke detectors. Today, however, Roost is finally jumping in all the way in the smart appliance market. It is announcing the Roost Smart Smoke Alarm that gives all that and more in one single package. And yes, it still includes the smart battery.

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Google’s OnHub router now supports IFTTT

Google’s OnHub router now supports IFTTT

The OnHub is an odd and unexpected surprise from Google. While it has a very strong resemblance to Amazon's Echo, OnHub is primarily a wireless router. It's a smart router, though, allowing for more control and information via a smartphone. It is also meant to be the hub of Google's smart home ambitions. But there are only so many things you can do with a router, right? Google is now challenging that perception by opening up OnHub to popular web platform IFTTT, allowing almost anything to be done with the router.

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