Smart Speaker

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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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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Amazon just revealed a bright new PRODUCT(RED) Echo speaker

Amazon just revealed a bright new PRODUCT(RED) Echo speaker

Amazon has revealed a new, limited edition version of its latest Echo smart speaker, with the PRODUCT(RED) model promising a share of the price goes to charity. As with other PRODUCT(RED) launches we've seen, sales of the red-finish Echo will include a contribution to the Global Fund to support HIV and AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Alexa is getting chattier as Amazon’s AI guesses what you really wanted

Alexa is getting chattier as Amazon’s AI guesses what you really wanted

Alexa is about to get chattier, but Amazon thinks a more vocal AI will be welcome if she can correctly intuit what you might want out of the conversation. While Alexa-powered smart speakers have been able to run in conversational mode for some months now, asking back and forth questions, a new update being rolled out will help the assistant figure out what Amazon is referring to as "latent goals" from users.

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HomePod mini preorders open – MagSafe Duo Charger and iPhone 12 Leather Sleeve now “coming soon”

HomePod mini preorders open – MagSafe Duo Charger and iPhone 12 Leather Sleeve now “coming soon”

Apple's iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPhone 12 mini aren't the only new devices going up for preorder today, with some hotly-anticipated accessories either available for your shopping cart or promising to arrive there soon. The HomePod mini, the smaller version of its smart speaker, can be preordered now, while two iPhone 12 accessories are now listed as "coming soon" on Apple's site.

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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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Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Review – Alexa gets vocal

Amazon Echo (4th Gen) Review – Alexa gets vocal

It's six years since the first Amazon Echo arrived, igniting a whole new category of smart speakers and making the idea of talking to a disembodied voice a little less weird, and now Alexa is getting some new, spherical digs. The fourth-generation Echo frees Amazon's chatty assistant from her cylindrical tower, transplanting her in a new, ball-like speaker instead. For 2020, though, there's a lot more to recommend.

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HAL 9000 crowdfunded replica will no longer deliver as creator goes under

HAL 9000 crowdfunded replica will no longer deliver as creator goes under

Although it has been misused and abused by well-funded companies, crowdfunding is, at its core, more like investing rather than pre-ordering a product. It always comes with the risk of failing, no matter how successful previous campaigns from the same group have been. There is no shortage of anecdotes about dashed hopes and even infuriated backers and the case of the HAL 9000 replica has just been added to that archive now that its creators have gone bankrupt and gone silent.

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Acer Halo smart speaker serves up Google Assistant with RGB and an LED display

Acer Halo smart speaker serves up Google Assistant with RGB and an LED display

Most of Acer's announcements today centered around laptops and PC gaming in some form, but one surprising reveal was that of the Halo smart speaker. Halo is powered by Google Assistant, and it almost seems like it's bringing the PC gaming treatment to smart home speakers through its RGB lighting. There's also an optional LED display, which might make the Halo stand out in a sea of other smart speakers.

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Apple HomePod 14.1 software adds HomePod mini, Intercom support

Apple HomePod 14.1 software adds HomePod mini, Intercom support

After nearly two years of no major movement in its smart speaker product line, which itself came years late to the market, Apple has finally announced a half-successor to the HomePod. The HomePod mini isn't due to ship until next month but isn't stopping Apple from pushing out a new version of its HomePod software that prepares for its arrival. Software version 14.1, however, which lines up with iOS 14.1 and iPadOS 14.1, isn't just about the mini speaker but also introduces features that make all HomePods, and Siri, smarter.

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HomePod mini makes Siri smart speaker $99

HomePod mini makes Siri smart speaker $99

Apple has wasted little time getting to the big announcements during its iPhone reveal event today, and it led the show with the confirmation we've all been waiting for: HomePod mini. As the name suggests, the HomePod mini is a smaller version of the HomePod, with Apple promising "amazing sound," from the speaker despite its tiny size.

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Nest Audio vs Sonos One vs IKEA Symfonisk – Speaker Wars

Nest Audio vs Sonos One vs IKEA Symfonisk – Speaker Wars

There's no denying that the Nest Audio fills a sweet-spot in Google's smart speaker range. Long-anticipated replacement to the original Google Home, the new speaker delivers markedly better sound quality than the Nest Mini, but a much more affordable price point - not to mention smaller footprint - than the Google Home Max. No product lives in isolation, though, and the most common question I've been getting is "what about Sonos?"

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