IoT

Samsung puts voice at the heart of the Smart Home

Samsung puts voice at the heart of the Smart Home

Samsung's smart TVs are gaining more voice control, with new partnerships with streaming services like Netflix and Spotify that won't need you to pick up the remote. Announced at SDC 2018, Samsung's annual Developer Conference, the new Voice Media Control API will allow apps and services to enable speech controls more easily.

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Samsung opens Bixby to developers in scalable AI platform play

Samsung opens Bixby to developers in scalable AI platform play

Samsung isn't done with Bixby. The virtual assistant may not have reached the usefulness of Alexa or the Google Assistant, or the consumer awareness of Siri, but Samsung is betting that embracing third-party developers and expanding Bixby's availability will make the difference in the long-term.

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Spotify Connect will soon be available for free users too

Spotify Connect will soon be available for free users too

Spotify Connect is a pretty nifty alternative to things like Bluetooth and AirPlay, but thus far, it's been strictly the domain of Premium users. Those who listen for free haven't had access to Spotify Connect, but that's all about to change with a new update to Spotify's Commercial Partners' SDK. Beginning today, those hardware partners can enable Spotify Connect for free users in their speakers.

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Samsung Bixby assistant will soon support skills from third-party developers

Samsung Bixby assistant will soon support skills from third-party developers

Samsung's own Bixby assistant has been around for a few years now, but it still trails far behind Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant in usage. This is due to a number of reasons, including poor performance and a lack of features, but also because of Alexa and Assistant's third-party support, which has resulted in widespread integration with other apps and services. It now looks like Samsung is ready to have Bixby take a stab at learning new skills too.

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Alexa gets Calendar availability search and Routines integration

Alexa gets Calendar availability search and Routines integration

Amazon has rolled out new features for Alexa and Alexa for Business, enabling their users to find free time on their calendar and add their calendars as an action in Routines. As well, Amazon has launched its Reminders API for developers. With this, devs can help their customers get reminders for things like upcoming sports games and trips.

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Amazon launches Music Skill API to bring more music to Alexa

Amazon launches Music Skill API to bring more music to Alexa

Amazon has announced the general availability of its Music Skill API for Alexa, enabling developers to connect a music streaming service to the AI. The Music Skill API was first unveiled in September. With this ability, Alexa users can ask the assistant to play a song by a particular artist from a linked music service.

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Google and iRobot team to turn your Roomba robo-vac into an IoT mapper

Google and iRobot team to turn your Roomba robo-vac into an IoT mapper

Your Roomba robot vacuum cleaner is turning into a mapping explorer for Google, with the two companies collaborating on better understanding the layout - and the uses - of the smart home. The project promises more efficient interactions between IoT and connected devices, though owners will have to opt-in to see the benefits.

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Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini smart speakers

Spotify is giving away Google Home Mini smart speakers

Spotify's family plan already offers pretty good value if you've got multiple listeners living under the same roof, but beginning tomorrow, Spotify will attempt to sweeten the deal for those who may be on the fence but haven't taken the plunge. Spotify today announced that it'll be handing out free Google Home Mini speakers to family plan account holders.

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3 reasons Google Home Hub will be a 2018 holiday gift hit

3 reasons Google Home Hub will be a 2018 holiday gift hit

The holiday shopping season is coming, and Google has slipped into pole position for smart displays with the new Home Hub. Latest embodiment of the Google Assistant, the Home Hub is special as much for what it left out as what it can do. Read on for three reasons we think it'll be one of the top gifts for 2018.

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Live Albums are the best Google Home Hub feature: Here’s how to use them

Live Albums are the best Google Home Hub feature: Here’s how to use them

Google's Home Hub is more than just a connected digital photo frame, but when it comes to showcasing your family photos it can't be beat - especially when you add some Google Photos magic. The smart display works seamlessly with Live Albums, a new feature for Google Photos that promises to use AI to gather up the best shots of you, your family, and your pets, and make sure you actually see them rather than just have them gathering virtual dust in the cloud.

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Google Home Hub Review: A friendlier smart display

Google Home Hub Review: A friendlier smart display

The Google Home Hub is a big idea in a compact package. Bucking the trend of larger and larger smart displays, this latest container for the varied talents of the Google Assistant occupies a smaller footprint than most of its rivals demand. The size - and the competitive $149 price tag - may be diminutive, but the Home Hub’s ambitions are not.

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Alexa’s low-key Whisper Mode is going live today

Alexa’s low-key Whisper Mode is going live today

Back toward the end of September, Amazon held an event where it announced a boat load of new products. Some of these seem more useful than others - I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the Echo Wall Clock - but new products weren't the only topic of the day. Amazon also announced a handful of new features for Alexa, and one of the most interesting was undoubtedly Whisper Mode, which is rolling out today.

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