smart home

Essential Home revealed to take on Amazon Echo and Google’s assistant

Essential Home revealed to take on Amazon Echo and Google’s assistant

With the reveal of the Essential Phone, Android cofounder Andy Rubin announced the Essential Home. This is a device - part of an ecosystem of devices in the future - which runs a smart home. While the company hasn't said so directly, this device looks to take on already existing systems like Amazon Echo with Alexa and Google's assistant in Google Home.

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Belkin Wemo Bridge adds Apple HomeKit to smart plugs, switches

Belkin Wemo Bridge adds Apple HomeKit to smart plugs, switches

Smart home products these days speak different languages, which sometimes defeats the purpose of having an automated home. But rather than trying to force existing and future products to speak a single language, device and platform makers are solving the language barrier like we do in the real world: with translators. The Belkin Wemo Bridge is one such translator and it is quite adept at one language. This tiny square that you connect to your Wi-Fi router allows Wemo's switches and plugs to speak Apple's HomeKit language.

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Amazon Echo Dot price cut briefly offers Alexa for $10 less

Amazon Echo Dot price cut briefly offers Alexa for $10 less

Curious to dip your toe into the smart home assistant market? Amazon's Echo Dot has been given a rare discount, bringing the cost of the Alexa-packing connected home puck down to under $40. It's the cheapest way we've seen to pick up a single Echo Dot in some time.

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IFTTT gives Makers the multi-stage IoT Applets partners had to pay for

IFTTT gives Makers the multi-stage IoT Applets partners had to pay for

IFTTT has built a reputation for itself as the glue that can hold the Internet of Things and the cloud together, and now it's opening up its most advanced features for regular users. IFTTT - or If This, Then That - is effectively a cloud-based hub for connected devices and services that might not normally work together. With its Applets, users can hook up their Nest thermostat to their Gmail account and get a notification if the temperature drops, for instance, or flash their Hue lights if their favorite team scores.

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Hands-on with Brilliant’s aptly-named smart home Control panels

Hands-on with Brilliant’s aptly-named smart home Control panels

There's a ridiculous blind-spot in the smart home, and it's all about control. Our light bulbs speak to the internet, and our connected speakers stream from there, and we can adjust our thermostats from halfway around the world. When we're actually at home, though, actually having to pull out a phone or tablet to do something as simple as turning on the light is an oddly involved process. It's also something startup Brilliant believes it has the answer to.

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IKEA smart lighting price confirmed; HomeKit, Google Home, Alexa incoming

IKEA smart lighting price confirmed; HomeKit, Google Home, Alexa incoming

IKEA is continuing its assault on the smart home, with its new TRÅDFRI smart lighting range undercutting stalwarts like Philips Hue when it hits US stores this spring. The popular homewares and furniture company - known as much for its competitive pricing as its flat-pack, self-assembly products - has confirmed US pricing for the connected bulb range. Notably, the TRÅDFRI line-up will support Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa support natively.

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Amazon Alexa now controls your DISH DVR by voice

Amazon Alexa now controls your DISH DVR by voice

DISH is looking to end "where's the remote?" hunting with an update for its Hopper and Wally set-top boxes that adds Amazon Alexa support. The new feature works with Amazon's Echo, Echo Dot, and Amazon Tap, with voice control for everything from navigating between channels, search, and the basics of pause, fast-forward, and rewind. It's the first official integration of this sort between Alexa, Amazon's virtual assistant, and a third-party TV provider's hardware.

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Amazon Echo Look’s mobile apps are now available

Amazon Echo Look’s mobile apps are now available

Amazon's launch of the screen-toting Echo Show may have made people forget the fact that it launched a different Echo model just two weeks prior. And for good reason too. The camera-enabled Echo Look, after all, seemed to cater to a very niche market. Some might even look at it, pun totally intended, like a month-late April Fools or an SNL skit. But to show it really means business, it has just released the Android and iOS apps to help users fend off the fashion police.

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Google Home understands accents better than Siri, Alexa

Google Home understands accents better than Siri, Alexa

It seems that voice-controlled personal assistants are all the rage these days. Microsoft and Harman Kardon just revealed the Invoke Cortana speaker, Amazon put a screen on the Echo and called it a a Show, and Google just gave the Assistant more smarts, more features, and more places to be on. But one of the inherent drawbacks of relying on voice as a medium is that no one really speaks the language in the same way. Yes, we're talking about accents, which has tripped up many personal assistants. Years after their initial debut, how far have these AI-powered agents come along? The folks over at WIRED made some rather comical tests to find out.

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Your Hue lights now play nicer (and smarter) with Xfinity Home

Your Hue lights now play nicer (and smarter) with Xfinity Home

If you've embraced the smart home with Philips' Hue connected lights, and you're an Xfinity Home subscriber, your fancy lighting options are now becoming even cleverer. The two companies have announced a deal this morning which sees Hue light control brought under the umbrella of the Xfinity Home app. There, it joins IoT gadgets like Nest's smart thermostat and August's connected locks.

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SNL’s Amazon Echo Silver responds to almost any name

SNL’s Amazon Echo Silver responds to almost any name

Let's admit it. Today's fancy gadgets and technologies are really designed for younger, more agile consumers. While market dynamics and profits do demand that, it doesn't have to be that way. Good technology is inclusive technology. Take for example the new Amazon Silver Echo, as seen on Saturday Night Live and only on Saturday Night Live. It's a super limited and nonexistent version designed with well-aged users in mind, responding to almost any name even loosely sounding like "Alexa".

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Lighthouse is Android inventor Andy Rubin’s secret project

Lighthouse is Android inventor Andy Rubin’s secret project

The fight for smart home dominance is a pretty stacked one, especially when it comes to cameras, but Lighthouse is hoping that a few standout features draw your attention to its own interactive assistant. Masterfully named Lighthouse, this new smart home assistant is launching out of Andy Rubin's Playground Studio. At its core, Lighthouse is an Internet-connected security camera, but to leave it at that undermines what all it can do.

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