smart home

Google Pi Intercom: How to build your own Google Home

Google Pi Intercom: How to build your own Google Home

Who said going retro is only for games? Vinyl is back in fashion so why couldn’t other electronics be as well? That is probably the thought going through the mind of MisterM over at instructables when he started this “Google Pi Intercom” project. The name might be a bit misleading, because it is essential a makeshift Google Home that is activated by pressing a button. It’s not a two-way communication device, unless you consider talking to Google Assistant two-way communication.

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Kenmore Smart appliances add Alexa support in Sears Amazon deal

Kenmore Smart appliances add Alexa support in Sears Amazon deal

Kenmore's Smart home appliances are getting Amazon Alexa integration, with the Sears-brand home tech also headed to the online retail behemoth's virtual shelves. The deal, announced today, is the biggest shift in availability for Kenmore appliances to-date, Sears said. However, even if you buy an appliance through Amazon rather than at a Sears location, the company will still offer its own delivery and installation services.

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Samsung Bixby Speaker shelved claims report

Samsung Bixby Speaker shelved claims report

Samsung's Bixby Voice may have finally arrived on the Galaxy S8, but there could be a big wait involved before it gets a standalone Bixby Speaker to take on Amazon Echo. Although the company is believed to be working on a so-called smart speaker, taking on Google Home, Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo, and the upcoming Apple HomePod in the process, the going hasn't been easy, it seems. Now, one report out of South Korea suggests the project has been put on the back-burner.

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Bluetooth Mesh: What you should know about this IoT revolution

Bluetooth Mesh: What you should know about this IoT revolution

You might associate Bluetooth with cutting the cable between your headphones and your phone, but Bluetooth Mesh aims to make it a ubiquitous backchannel for the Internet of Things. Launched today, Bluetooth Mesh is a way that low-energy radios can build many-to-many (m:m) links between devices, evolving to encompass new gadgets, temporary blackouts, and more. Initially, it's setting its sights on the lucrative smart lighting segment.

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Alexa’s newest ability: telling you when Amazon orders are out for delivery

Alexa’s newest ability: telling you when Amazon orders are out for delivery

Amazon may be keeping busy lately by expanding its Echo line of devices, along with Alexa, the voice assistant that powers the devices, but the connected speaker has received a small but useful new feature this week. Simply put, Alexa can now notify users when their packages from Amazon are out for delivery, something frequent shoppers can expect to get some use out of with next week's Prime Day sales event.

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These are the things you can do when you buy an Amazon Echo Show

These are the things you can do when you buy an Amazon Echo Show

When the Amazon Echo launched nearly three years ago, barely anyone knew how to make heads or tails of it. Fast forward to today, even the likes of Google and Apple are seen as trying to catch up with the retail giant. Amazon stepped up its game when it announced the Echo Show, which goes on sale later this week. And to remind everyone what they're really getting when they purchase one, Amazon released some videos showing off what can be done on what is probably the closest we'll get to a real-world Star Trek LCARS.

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Amazon Echo Show Review: Alexa’s screen shows promise

Amazon Echo Show Review: Alexa’s screen shows promise

Amazon's Echo has grown from a voice-controlled curiosity to being a legitimate home assistant, and now, with Echo Show, it's gaining a display. The latest iteration in the smart speaker series bucks the trend of spoken interactions only, adding a touchscreen so that Alexa can show & tell. At $229.99, however, it's the most expensive version so far, and at this early stage not everything has quite got to grips with the new abilities.

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Google Home, Assistant can now say “Bonjour” in Canada

Google Home, Assistant can now say “Bonjour” in Canada

It might surprise some people but almost a quarter of Canada call French their second tongue. That makes it a bit tricky to roll out products in this major market that have to straddle not only English but also French, specifically French Canadian. Google, however, as sufficiently overcome that hurdle and, starting today, users in the French-speaking quarters of the country can comfortably talk with Google Home in French. Oh, and they can buy the smart speaker too.

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New message or new call? Just glance at your Amazon Echo

New message or new call? Just glance at your Amazon Echo

Smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Home are mostly verbal affairs. You talk to them and they respond by voice. Visual feedback is mostly an afterthought, an add-on, or a different device altogether. That makes it sometimes difficult to check the type of notifications you get without having these assistants blurt out potentially incriminating information. Fortunately, at least one of them does have an alternative means of calling your attention. Amazon has just given the Echo a few more light signals, distinguishing between an incoming call and an incoming message.

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Tertill is a solar-powered weeding Roomba

Tertill is a solar-powered weeding Roomba

Even before this current generation of smart home appliances and the Internet of Things wave, homes of the future were already flaunting the rolling robot discs that is the Roomba. But Roombas only take care of the unwanted materials inside the house. For unwanted things outside the house, like weeds in your garden, there's Tertill. Perhaps taking its name from a certain green, slow-moving reptile, Tertill is described as a solar-powered weeding robot. That it looks like a Roomba is no coincidence, as it was created by Joe Jones, the same man behind iRobot's Roomba.

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Nest considering support for Apple’s HomeKit in iOS 11

Nest considering support for Apple’s HomeKit in iOS 11

As the creator of some of the first connected home devices, Nest has long been one of the odd holdouts in supporting the HomeKit, Apple's platform for controlling such products from their iOS devices. A big part it is likely the fact that Nest is owned by Google. But even with that caveat, this situation could eventually change with this fall's release of iOS 11, announced earlier this month at WWDC.

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Prepare for a flood of smart speakers like Echo and HomePod

Prepare for a flood of smart speakers like Echo and HomePod

The number of smart speakers looks set to grow exponentially, with Qualcomm cooking up a turnkey platform to speed up manufacturers getting the next Google Home or Amazon Echo to store shelves. Dubbed the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform, it's a combination of a low-power Snapdragon processor, AllPlay music streaming, and wireless connectivity, all on one chipset. To that, Qualcomm bakes a "Far Field Voice" multi-microphone system.

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