smart home

Hunter Douglas Sonnette shades add a Kickback twist

Hunter Douglas Sonnette shades add a Kickback twist

Not all motorized shades are created equal, with Hunter Douglas' new Sonnette Kickback feature promising a snugger fit within the window. The new cellular roller shade option adds a little extra rotation as the blinds operate, bringing the fabric further into the window recess for benefits the company says are more than just visual.

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ecobee SmartCamera adds iCloud storage via HomeKit Secure Video

ecobee SmartCamera adds iCloud storage via HomeKit Secure Video

The explosion of smart home products from various manufactures pretty much mirrored a similar scenario when mobile phones landed on the market. Each one communicated only with others from the same brand unless some third-party platform tries to orchestrate the communication between different devices. Apple HomeKit is one such smart home platform and brands like ecobee are only too happy to boast support for such a big name, even if this new capability for its SmartCamera with voice control almost seems like a loss for the home automation company.

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Amazon Sidewalk 101 – A neighborhood network for the IoT

Amazon Sidewalk 101 – A neighborhood network for the IoT

Amazon Alexa has colonized the smart home, and now Amazon Sidewalk is coming to spread a shared network around your neighborhood. Both similar and different to mesh WiFi systems in approach, Sidewalk isn't just one wireless standard but a whole bundle of ways for Internet of Things (IoT) gadgets to get online, and future trackers to pinpoint your lost keys or pets. With a US switch-on soon, read on for what you need to know.

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Amazon Sidewalk is coming – and not everyone will be happy

Amazon Sidewalk is coming – and not everyone will be happy

Amazon is preparing to launch Amazon Sidewalk, its localized networks for Echo, Ring, and other devices, and it looks likely to be one of the most controversial products from retail behemoth so far. Echo owners have begun being notified by Amazon that Sidewalk shared networks are launching later in the year, along with apparent confirmation that it will be turned on by default.

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HomePod mini owners report random Internet connectivity problems

HomePod mini owners report random Internet connectivity problems

Apple was terribly late to the smart speaker party and even when the HomePod finally landed, it was initially a disappointment when it came to Siri's usefulness and control of smart home appliances. It definitely got better over time but its competitors have moved on to bigger and smaller smart speakers. At long last, Apple finally bit back with the HomePod mini but the smart speaker is reportedly giving new owners more headaches than the $99 speaker is worth because of intermittent and inexplicable Internet connection problems.

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Google Assistant adds scheduling for a smarter smart home

Google Assistant adds scheduling for a smarter smart home

Google has quietly added support for scheduling actions with the Google Assistant, with the new feature allowing for smart home tech like lights to be switched on and off according to what time it is or for the duration you want them active. It builds on the existing smart home integration, which lets the Assistant remotely control registered lights, smart plugs, and other devices by voice command.

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Sonnen takes on Tesla Powerwall with a new whole-home battery

Sonnen takes on Tesla Powerwall with a new whole-home battery

Tesla's Powerwall is getting some new competition, with Sonnen launching a home backup battery of its own for those wanting reliability should the grid go down. The sonnenCore home battery is designed to integrate with solar power systems if you have one, with enough juice in the wall-mounted pack to potentially keep a whole house running.

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HomePod mini teardown warns owners not to pull the power cable

HomePod mini teardown warns owners not to pull the power cable

Apple is not a fan of unauthorized or third-party repairs. While legislation on the right to repair still hangs in limbo, the company is doing every bit it can to at least discourage untrained hands from taking a whack at it. Sometimes it comes via some arbitrary software certification, other times it is based on how difficult it is to open up a device. The new HomePod mini clearly falls in the latter category, making it nearly impossible to even replace the power cable.

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Wyze Sprinkler Controller is a $50 WiFi watering upgrade

Wyze Sprinkler Controller is a $50 WiFi watering upgrade

Wyze's smart home range continues to grow, with the Wyze Sprinkler Controller aiming to take on watering your garden in a more intelligent way. As with the company's other products, part of the appeal here is the surprisingly low price tag, though that doesn't mean the gadget misses out on features you'd expect from much more expensive systems.

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Wyze Robot Vacuum promises premium features on a budget

Wyze Robot Vacuum promises premium features on a budget

Wyze is back again, this time with a robotic vacuum rivaling the bigger and more expensive names on the market. The new Wyze Robot Vacuum will arrive this January with a number of smart features, including the ability to map its surroundings, schedule sweeps, avoid virtual walls, run in a special quiet mode, and more.

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X-Chair X-HMT Heat and Massage Therapy Chair Review

X-Chair X-HMT Heat and Massage Therapy Chair Review

The folks at X-Chair have an office chair - or gaming chair, or sit-wherever chair, if you like - called the X-HMT. The HMT stands for Heat, Massage, Therapy. This chair is more than what I expected when I first read about its release. It's not just your everyday average super-comfortable long-lasting computer chair. This chair rumbles, heats up, and can be charged by your laptop.

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Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Review – Sphere of Influence

Amazon Echo Dot (4th Gen) Review – Sphere of Influence

Alexa is getting a fresh wardrobe for 2020, and the new Echo Dot (4th Gen) is going spherical just like its bigger Echo sibling. As always, the pitch is fairly straightforward: at $49.99, the Echo Dot is a more affordable way to add Alexa to a new room, while the $59.99 Echo Dot with Clock clamors for a spot on your nightstand. Unlike with the 4th Gen Echo, however, the advantages aren't quite so clear-cut.

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