smart home

ARCHOS Hello Google Assistant Smart Display greets MWC 2018

ARCHOS Hello Google Assistant Smart Display greets MWC 2018

Move over smart speakers. Smart displays are in the house! Rated as one of the fastest growing segments in the tech market these days, smart speakers of all shapes, sizes, and prices have invaded both homes and store shelves. At CES last month, Google took up Amazon on its Echo Show challenge and announced a new subclass of connected devices: smart displays. Better late than never, French manufacturer ARCHOS is joining the fray at MWC with its Hello smart display and speaker in one. Not only that, it also has another trendy device to cater to those still holding out for bitcoins and their kin.

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Nest Cam IQ Google Assistant update makes camera a smart speaker

Nest Cam IQ Google Assistant update makes camera a smart speaker

The Nest Cam IQ indoor is gaining Google Assistant support today, along with new face recognition tools and the arrival of a cheaper subscription plan. The latest fruit of Google's decision to welcome Nest back into the fold, after it absorbed the formerly standalone Alphabet business earlier this month, it turns the connected camera into a smart speaker.

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Get started on smart home and automation with these 5 devices

Get started on smart home and automation with these 5 devices

The Internet of Things has brought technology into our homes in a more integrated and invasive way. From smart bulbs to smart speakers to even smart refrigerators, technology is slowly but surely becoming a staple in modern homes. But why put off for tomorrow what you can start today? If you’ve ever dreamed of living inside the home of the future, you can already do so as long as you have a home Wi-Fi network. You don’t even have set it all up in one go. You can even get started with a simple bulb. Here are some of the essentials to get you started on upgrading your house, piece by piece.

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Microsoft Cortana now features IFTTT integration

Microsoft Cortana now features IFTTT integration

While Microsoft's Cortana struggles to keep up with Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant in the growing smart assistant market, it's still making effort to stay relevant. Its latest feature is integration with IFTTT, the platform that lets users connect hundreds of different apps and services, creating automated processes through the use of "triggers" and "actions."

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Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

With the launch of the Apple HomePod, and pending the launch of a Bixby speaker, if there will ever be one, the major pieces on the smart speaker game board are now all in place. And so are the three major voice-controlled AI-driven smart assistants (sorry Cortana, you’ll have to sit this one out). That means, of course, questions on which one you should buy. “Should” is probably too strong a word, because it really depends on multiple factors. We can, however, give you the lay of the land so that you can decide better where to sink your hard-earned money into.

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Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

You have an important meeting with a client at 9 a.m. but you got so engrossed in that novel you read at night that you overslept. Luckily, your smart assistant (let’s call it “Bucksbee”), sounded a reminder an hour before your appointment. You frantically prepare, without giving your phone a second glance. You rush out the door to the nearest bus stop, only to be drenched in an unexpected (for you) downpour. You hop on a bus, soaking wet, but had enough time to try in the unexpected (for you) heavy traffic. You mentally compose a profound apology email and then whip out your phone, only to see the client sent an email hours earlier canceling the meeting for an emergency. We humans sometimes aren’t smart, but our smart assistants are often not that much better.

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Samsung Bixby coming to TVs, washing machines, appliances

Samsung Bixby coming to TVs, washing machines, appliances

Samsung is never one to make a U-turn on something new product or feature it has put out, no matter how useless or derided it may have become. It took years for it to finally sunset S Voice, for example, or slim down and rename TouchWiz. Of course, persistence may also pay off in giving something new and imperfect a chance to grow and potentially become better. Samsung is taking that chance with its AI assistant Bixby, which it will be pushing to anyone who buys a Smart TV or smart washing from the company this year.

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Facebook smart speakers leak to push video chat

Facebook smart speakers leak to push video chat

Facebook plans to dive into the smart speaker market this year, a new report claims, with two touchscreen-fronted models putting a social spin on the voice-control segment. The hardware push comes as Facebook attempts to rediscover a functionality balance which pushes contact with friends and family back to the fore, while dialing down the brand and other content that has seen it mired in the ongoing "fake news" controversy.

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HomePod white ring issue confirmed by Apple [Update]

HomePod white ring issue confirmed by Apple [Update]

Apple's HomePod may auto-tune itself to suit wherever it's placed in a room, but there's a physical reason why you should still be careful about where you put the smart speaker. The Siri-powered music player is one of Apple's more cohesive designs of late, smaller than you might expect from photos, and clad in a textured - but acoustically transparent - fabric sheath.

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Vizio Alexa control goes live for 4K TVs

Vizio Alexa control goes live for 4K TVs

Vizio TVs are learning to play nicely with Amazon Alexa, with a new skill for the virtual assistant that enables voice control of select sets. The Vizio SmartCast skill for Amazon Alexa can, when enabled on an Echo speaker or other device that supports the assistant, remotely turn the TV on and off by voice, as well as replace other features you'd usually have to reach for the remote for.

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Samsung Bixby’s former head is now at Google

Samsung Bixby’s former head is now at Google

In just a few weeks, Samsung will be revealing the Galaxy S9. Alongside it, of course, will be Bixby. Samsung has been trying, with very little success, to push its own homebrew AI platform and personal assistant. It will, however, be taking on Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri without a critical member of its team: its Chief Technology Officer. Lee In-jong, who left Samsung's mobile division last December, is reportedly now working at Google on, among other things, the very market segment Samsung wants Bixby to be in.

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Apple HomePod repairs are very expensive, thankfully cable replacements aren’t

Apple HomePod repairs are very expensive, thankfully cable replacements aren’t

Now that Apple's new HomePod smart speaker is finally available for purchase, details are coming out on the price of out-of-warranty repairs. If you haven't heard yet, they're very expensive: dropping or cosmetic damages not covered by the hardware warranty can cost $279. Fortunately, there's a separate, specific type of repair that can be done for much less.

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