Smart home

Amazon wants a future where you don’t install Alexa Skills

Amazon wants a future where you don’t install Alexa Skills

Alexa Skills may have proved popular for adding new functionality to Amazon's virtual assistant, but the company is aiming to make the chatty smart home tech clever enough that users don't need to go out looking for third-party add-ons. Currently, there are more than 100,000 Alexa Skills - effectively apps for the voice-first assistant - available, and with that comes confusion.

Continue Reading

Amazon Alexa finally gets a male voice and an additional name

Amazon Alexa finally gets a male voice and an additional name

Voice-controlled AI-powered assistants are pretty smart these days, but they didn't exactly start out that way. They weren't particularly smart about the way they sounded, at least not in the beginning. Almost all of these smart assistants, regardless of company or name, started out with a female voice before finally allowing users to pick from a variety of voices. The lone holdout among the major AI assistants is Alexa, but Amazon is finally letting users pick a male-sounding voice, eight years after the assistant debuted.

Continue Reading

This Verizon Smart Display has LTE inside to get you outage answers

This Verizon Smart Display has LTE inside to get you outage answers

Verizon has revealed its own Smart Display, an Alexa-powered screen that packs its own LTE connection as well as WiFi. Built in collaboration with Amazon, it's the first example of a smart home product made with the Amazon Custom Assistant, meaning Verizon Fios customers will be able to ask for specific account details and get service support.

Continue Reading

Samsung gives in and serves up built-in Alexa in new Family Hub fridges

Samsung gives in and serves up built-in Alexa in new Family Hub fridges

Samsung today announced the sixth-generation Family Hub smart fridge, and with it, we're getting a big addition. While Family Hub refrigerators have primarily supported Samsung's Bixby and SmartThings platforms in the past, this is the first generation that will come with Amazon's Alexa built-in. That, obviously, gives users more flexibility in how they integrate a Family Hub fridge with their smart home setup.

Continue Reading

Samsung SmartThings Energy can monitor your power consumption

Samsung SmartThings Energy can monitor your power consumption

Global conditions seem to be conspiring to make us use up more energy these days. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many people to stay at home, consuming more electricity to while away the days. Unusual and extreme weather conditions are also forcing many to fire up their heating or air conditioning more often than usual. In addition to increasing power consumption and carbon footprint, these scenarios also result increased electricity bills. In light of that, Samsung's new SmartThings Energy service wants to help customers reduce their expenses, and it starts by simply knowing how much energy you're using in the first place.

Continue Reading

Wyze Light Strip brings smart accent lighting to every part of your home

Wyze Light Strip brings smart accent lighting to every part of your home

Wyze is offering another connected light product, this one quite different than its smart light bulb. The Wyze Light Strip, which is now available to preorder, allows users to add accent lighting just about anywhere in their home with peel-and-stick functionality. Unlike most strip lights, the Wyze Light Strip can be controlled with your phone.

Continue Reading

Ring end-to-end encryption goes global: How to turn it on

Ring end-to-end encryption goes global: How to turn it on

Ring is switching on end-to-end encryption for video worldwide, adding extra security to its camera and video doorbell streams. The expansion follows Ring's technical preview of encryption that launched earlier in the year, though which at the time was only available to users in the US.

Continue Reading

Nest Hello Quiet Time and Quick Responses are coming to Google Home

Nest Hello Quiet Time and Quick Responses are coming to Google Home

Google's acquisition of Nest and eventual migration of brands and accounts unsurprisingly met with some pushback. In addition to privacy concerns, there were some issues when moving from Nest's own platform to Google's. One pain point, in particular, revolved around features in the Nest app that haven't made their way yet to Google Home. Fortunately, it seems that Google is indeed working on resolving that problem, and an upcoming version of the Google Home app could see the arrival of two old Nest Hello features to the new app.

Continue Reading

HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

Beta software is labeled "beta" for a reason. They are often distributed only to people willing to test software for bugs and are willing to take the risk using potentially unstable software. Of course, some beta versions are in a better state than others but that doesn't remove the chance of a bad release wreaking havoc on devices. That is the unfortunate reality that owners of some HomePods are now facing after what they claim to be a rather buggy HomePod Software 15 beta caused smart speakers to overheat and, in some cases, fry the logic board beyond repair.

Continue Reading

Google Nest products to get five years of security updates

Google Nest products to get five years of security updates

Smart home products are getting more common and more accessible, but, as recent events prove, they are far from being the completely reliable and trustworthy parts of our lives that ads and videos would have us believe. Part of that relies on companies and agents on the remote side acting more responsibly in their ability to control these devices from afar. Another part of that formula, however, also depends on manufacturers ensuring the security and privacy of their products and customers, something that Google's Nest is promising to do better.

Continue Reading

This unified smart home standard will matter

This unified smart home standard will matter

You can count on your smart home setup but all the pomp and show falls flat when a doorbell isn’t on the same ecosystem as the lights and you need to employ different methods to control each of them. This scenario is subject to change with the introduction of Matter - a new smart home protocol that will let smart devices from different manufacturers work seamlessly together as if they were built in harmony under the same smart platform.

Continue Reading

IoT has a long ways to go to be trustworthy

IoT has a long ways to go to be trustworthy

The smart homes and cities of the future are often painted as places full of transparent touch screens, voice-controlled assistants, and robots that can often predict what we need before we even ask. Unfortunately, what these advertisements and marketing materials don't always show is who is really in control of these future worlds.

Sure, most of these videos or images show regular people like you and me as the main actors, but it is really the companies that run the services and networks behind the scenes that are really in control, and it's going to take a long while before we can and should completely trust these systems with our safety and our lives.

Continue Reading

1 2 3 4 Next