smart home

Amazon and Intel team up against Google in IoT

Amazon and Intel team up against Google in IoT

Amazon and Intel are teaming up to spread Alexa, with stronger voice control skills as well as faster ways for third-parties to build devices with the assistant baked in. The news, announced at Amazon's AWS-focused re:Invent conference this week, sees Intel renew its efforts to get its silicon into places where, traditionally at least, you might expect to find ARM-based processors. However it's also a big deal to Amazon, which faces stronger competition from Google and others in the smart home.

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Kwikset Kevo Convert turns your existing lock into a smart lock

Kwikset Kevo Convert turns your existing lock into a smart lock

When it comes to locks for your home or office, Kwikset is one of the biggest names in the industry. While most of us have normal locks that have physical keys on our homes, there are some smart locks out there that you can open remotely or with a keypad rather than keys. The catch is that you have to replace the lock on the outside of your doro normally and that can be an issue for people in a homeowners association or those who just like the look they have.

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Sphero Force Band now allows Force gestures to control IoT home devices

Sphero Force Band now allows Force gestures to control IoT home devices

Earlier this year, toy-maker Sphero debuted the Star Wars Force Band wearable, making the previously released robotic BB-8 even cooler than it already was. Basically, the wristband allowed the small droid to be controlled with hand movements. Now Sphero has one-upped itself once again, introducing the ability to pair the Force Band with various smart home apps and appliances, all powered by IFTTT.

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Eight Smart Mattress has four foam layers and one layer of tech

Eight Smart Mattress has four foam layers and one layer of tech

Everything is going smart these days, it started with our phones years ago and more recently our watches. Today even your mattress is getting smarter in an effort to help you sleep better. I think we can all get behind tech that helps us to sleep better and wake up more refreshed. The Eight Smart Mattress has four layers of high-density foam and a technology layer that is able to track sleep.

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Neato Botvac Connected gains voice control via Alexa

Neato Botvac Connected gains voice control via Alexa

Amazon's Alexa now works with the Botvac Connected with devices like Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. This is just the latest in a long line of devices that are making the jump to smart home congruity with Alexa, making Amazon a voice command leader with several devices for smart home enthusiasts. This is the first official collaboration between Amazon Alexa and Neato - and it probably won't be the last.

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Yi Dome Camera goes after the smart home security market

Yi Dome Camera goes after the smart home security market

Yi Technology, a Chinese company closely associated with and funded by Xiaomi, entered the US market guns blazing with an affordable action camera to take on the king of action cameras, GoPro. Since then it has expanded into the home camera segment and it is now doing yet another round, this time with security in mind. The not dome-looking Yi Dome Camera offers 360-degree coverage while the Yi Cloud subscription offers near unlimited storage space, all at the fraction of what everyone else is requiring from consumers.

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New Alexa skill has Amazon Echo reading 60,000 recipes

New Alexa skill has Amazon Echo reading 60,000 recipes

The Amazon Echo connected speaker can turn a number of activities into passive ones, such as reading the news or e-books out loud for users, book travel plans, track orders from Amazon, and even send text messages. But one category where the device has been lacking is in looking up and reading cooking recipes. That's finally changing, and just in time for the holidays.

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Sunflower uses drone, lights to monitor homes from outside

Sunflower uses drone, lights to monitor homes from outside

Most smart home security systems aren’t so smart, argues Sunflower Labs. It says that 95% of the alarms raised turn out to be false ones to the point that police dispatchers have become numb to them, which is a very dangerous attitude. And for real situations, those security systems only alert you when it’s too late to do anything, when some is already at the door of has gone through the window. Sunflower Labs, naturally, proposes a smarter solution, one that combines an autonomous drone and inconspicuous lawn lights to pinpoint when, where, and who is approaching your castle.

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Big Mouth Billy Bass makes for the best Alexa hack

Big Mouth Billy Bass makes for the best Alexa hack

Alexa, Amazon's digital voice assistant that powers the Echo connected speaker, has already been used in a number of homemade hacks, such as using it to control a power wheelchair, remote start a car, and even have a Tesla Model S back out of a garage. But none of those compare to developer and artist Brian Kane's latest use of the technology: getting Alexa to speak through a Big Mouth Billy Bass animatronic fish.

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TCL Xess brings its giant Android screen to Amazon

TCL Xess brings its giant Android screen to Amazon

Not so long ago, Alcatel introduced what was, and still is, an odd Android device. It was basically a gigantic 17.3-inch Android tablet that is meant to be used upright and not meant to be carried around much. The Xess was scheduled to go on sale last April but it is only now that it is showing up for retail on Amazon. And while it’s being sold under parent company TCL’s name, it’s really the same Xess as before, but with one subtle shift in focus: Amazon Alexa.

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4 things to know before you buy Google Home

4 things to know before you buy Google Home

The Google Assistant has escaped, and it's haunting your house. No longer is it trapped in your phone or your browser: instead, the power of Google's so-called Knowledge Graph now gets a new enclosure, the vase-esque Google Home. Like Amazon's Echo, it reacts to voice rather than touchscreen or buttons, and like Amazon's assistant Alexa, it promises to streamline your day and entertain your evenings with its personalized knowledge of your tastes and interests. Sounds great, right? Turns out, there are a few things you ought to bear in mind before you bring Home home.

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Living with Google Home

Living with Google Home

The Google Assistant has been bundled into the browser, added into Android, and squeezed into Android Wear: now, it's getting a sleek object d'art for the smart home. Google Home is the search giant's take on the smart speaker space, a direct challenge to everyone's current favorite virtual PA, Amazon's Alexa. At $129, Google Home undercuts Echo (though not Echo Dot) and, if your digital life is already in Google's cloud, it promises a more streamlined way to consume that data around the home.

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