smart home

Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

Ultimate Zelda fan uses ocarina to control automated home

The Legend of Zelda is a hot topic these days, what with the latest title, Breath of the Wild, debuting alongside the Nintendo Switch this month. To showcase his love for the series, Allen Pan of the YouTube channel Sufficiently Advanced took to automating his home and making it all controllable via an ocarina, the small wind instrument at the center of the iconic N64 Zelda, Ocarina of Time.

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Google Home’s Beauty and the Beast “ad” raises furor

Google Home’s Beauty and the Beast “ad” raises furor

Trouble seems to be piling up at Google Home land. Although rising in popularity and usefulness, Google’s smart home hub and speaker is also rising in notoriety. First was the admittedly comical and fortunately harmless incident with its Super Bowl ad triggering speakers everywhere. Then there was the rather embarrassing fake news issue. This time, it’s ads. Users have reported, and recorded, Google Home blurting out an add for the opening of the live action Beauty and the Beast film. Google insists, however, that it was just an honest mistake and not the start of ads on Google Home.

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Neato’s robot vacuums now obey Google Home’s voice orders

Neato’s robot vacuums now obey Google Home’s voice orders

The number of ways you can automate your home just by barking at it continues to grow, with Neato adding Google Home support to its connected robot vacuum range. Available as a new talent for the smart speaker today, the integration allows you to trigger a clean entirely hands-free. The functionality joins Neato's existing Amazon Alexa support.

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Amazon now offers credits to make Alexa skills development free

Amazon now offers credits to make Alexa skills development free

We could be seeing many more Alexa skills launch shortly, as Amazon is rolling out new incentives for developers today. Aimed at making development of Alexa skills more affordable, Amazon will begin offering Amazon Web Services promotional credit to developers who have already published an Alexa Skill. Amazon says that in a lot of cases, this could make development of new Alexa skills entirely free.

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Roomba vacuum cleaners now take orders from Amazon Alexa

Roomba vacuum cleaners now take orders from Amazon Alexa

Even before there were smart homes and the Internet of Things, robotic vacuum cleaners, popularized by iRobot’s Roomba, have been the pioneers of the “home of the future” market. Sadly, they seem to have been shoved to the sidelines in the flood of new IoT and smart appliance products. iRobot, however, isn’t going to take that sitting down. It is now boarding the personal assistant train by making its Roomba 900 series respond to your voice commands via Alexa, for those times when you want to be more in control of the little robot.

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Cheaper Nest thermostat tipped plus Nest alarm system

Cheaper Nest thermostat tipped plus Nest alarm system

Competition in the smart home is only getting fiercer, and Nest is reportedly readying a cheaper and more flexible range of connected gadgets to drive up adoption in the face of mounting rivals. The Alphabet-owned company is best known for the Nest Learning Thermostat, an iPhone-inspired HVAC controller that promises to track how the home is used and cut energy costs without an impact on comfort. It arguably kickstarted a new generation of smart thermostats, but since then cheaper, more capable alternatives have hit the market.

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Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon Echo might soon be able to tell voices apart

Amazon arguably kicked off the “personal assistant in a can” line of products, so it’s almost fitting that it also be the first to implement one of the most needed feature for smart speakers. These devices can already recognize and understand voices and speech, but they can’t really differentiate one voice from the next, which makes for a sometimes hilarious, sometimes frightening situation. Amazon, however, is tipped to be working on a certain “Voice ID” feature that would put those worries to rest.

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Qualcomm’s big IoT plan includes Android Things OS and tiny radios

Qualcomm’s big IoT plan includes Android Things OS and tiny radios

Qualcomm is pushing hard into the Internet of Things, embracing Google's Android Things OS as well as unveiling a pair of tiny, radio-packed chipsets for connected gadgets. Announced ahead of Mobile World Congress 2017 next week, the new tech is all about making smart home kit and other connected devices more power-efficient, smaller, and smarter. For device-makers, it'll mean speedier time-to-market, too.

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Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Turn Touch smart home controller is carved out of wood

Smart homes are usually more associated with science fiction but not everyone likes a hi-tech environment 24/7. Some would prefer a more cozy and natural feel to their homes, even with the pervasive presence of smart technology. Turn Touch delivers a small serving of that mix between technology and nature. Technically, it’s a Bluetooth controller for your connected appliances or even Apple devices, but one that looks and feels like it was made especially for you, because it really is.

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Google Home and Google Express now make shopping a breeze

Google Home and Google Express now make shopping a breeze

We are beyond being just an instant gratification generation. Why bother going outside even for essential supplies when you can do it all from home and have them delivered to you. Even better, you can do that without even lifting a finger. Although we’re probably still decades away from computers that can read our thoughts (which would be frightening), Google is offering the next best thing: shopping by voice using Google Assistant on the Google Home via Google Express.

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Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

That smart speaker in your living room is just about to get smarter. Or maybe more invasive, for that matter. Google and Amazon, two companies that dabble in smartphones (or previously, for Amazon) are reportedly mulling over evolving their Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers from smart home hubs to part time hands-free smartphones. While it might seem like a small step, considering how both companies already have strong presences in the mobile market, it is going to be a big leap in terms of what the companies may or may not collect from users.

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Home Control turns Pixel’s Assistant into smart home voice remote

Home Control turns Pixel’s Assistant into smart home voice remote

As of this afternoon Google's latest set of smartphones, Pixel and Pixel XL, have access to Google's brand of Smart Home control. This is enabled with Google Assistant and Google Assistant's command of "Home Control" connectivity. Users will be able to connect to devices from five brands (so far), including Honeywell, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, and WeMo.

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