smart home

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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Amazon Dash Wand is a barcode scanner you can speak into

Amazon Dash Wand is a barcode scanner you can speak into

How many ways can you take an idea and turn it into different things? If you’re Amazon and you’re talking about Echo and Alexa, it might be a near limitless list. Even if the idea ends up being slightly laughable. After the Amazon Echo Look comes the Amazon Dash Wand. Don’t worry, you don’t actually wave it around to make magic. You don’t even hold it that way. Instead, you use it to scan barcodes or speak into it to ask Alexa anything, like converting from different units of measure.

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Google Home gets two, like, hip ads and, like, a price cut

Google Home gets two, like, hip ads and, like, a price cut

With Apple finally and formally taking the gloves off in the smart home speaker fight, Amazon and Google have no choice but to pick up the pace. So far, the Amazon Echo and Google Home have been marketed mostly at tech savvy adults. Google’s new ads for the Home, however, position it as something young and hip users will also appreciate. Like, you know, Apple’s biggest demographic.

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Bixby speaker rumors spark even as voice remains absent in US

Bixby speaker rumors spark even as voice remains absent in US

As expected, Apple has just jumped on the smart speaker arena that Google, Amazon, and, soon, Microsoft already occupy. And as expected, this has started rumors that Apple’s biggest frenemy will also be joining the fray. Samsung is now believed to be aiming for a piece of that pie, with patents pointing to potential smart speaker powered by Bixby no less.

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Wink Bright kit, new services secure homes in a wink

Wink Bright kit, new services secure homes in a wink

There are dozens upon dozens of connected products in the market these days, all promising to make your homes smarter or more secure. From smart speakers to smart doorbells to smart lights, it can be an overwhelming task to choose which product to start with, let alone actually get started. To help ease consumers into this new IoT frontier, Wink is making available a new Bright “starter kit” and two new security services that help you set up a secure smart home without batting an eyelash.

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Siri Speaker up close: this is Apple HomePod

Siri Speaker up close: this is Apple HomePod

This morning Apple revealed the HomePod, their first "home speaker" - or Siri Speaker, if you prefer. This device has the same processor as the most modern iPhone, no display, and a much more powerful set of speakers than an iPhone. It needs to be plugged in to a physical wall socket and it's able to do a litany of tasks if you ask it - through Siri, of course. Today we're having a closer look at Apple official.

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Apple HomePod speaker release date and details

Apple HomePod speaker release date and details

The Apple Home Speaker is what Tim Cook suggested would be Apple's attempt to "reinvent home music." This device, says Apple, is in line with the legacy of the iPod, and reinventing personal mobile music. Phil Schiller stepped on stage and detailed the speaker top to bottom as a piece of equipment that had not existed before - "Why hasn't this happened yet?"

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Google Home crosses over to Canada, in French too

Google Home crosses over to Canada, in French too

At its recent I/O developers conference, Google made an even bigger push for AI and machine learning, which takes form in its Google Assistant. It also pushed the Assistant-powered Google Home front and center of its connected ecosystem. Now it’s pushing Google Home to its third official country. Following the arrival of Android Pay, Canadians will soon be able to officially get their hands on a Google Home. And even better, they’ll be able to converse with Assistant in English or French.

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Forgetful? Now Alexa can juggle your crazy reminder list

Forgetful? Now Alexa can juggle your crazy reminder list

Amazon's Alexa can now remind users of specific tasks, with the ability to set not only an alarm but assign a reason for it too. The latest in Alexa's growing skillset on the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap, it opens the door to far more useful reminders than simple alarms. Both reminders and timers are supported by the update.

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