Smart Speakers

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) adds Dolby Atmos and HDMI eARC support

Sonos Beam (Gen 2) adds Dolby Atmos and HDMI eARC support

Sonos has revealed its newest soundbar, with the next-generation Beam (Gen 2) keeping the compact footprint but adding Dolby Atmos support and more. The updated version follows on from the larger Sonos Arc, with HDMI eARC support and 3D audio from a single box, though at a much more attainable price.

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Sonos is considering its own voice assistant: Here’s what we know

Sonos is considering its own voice assistant: Here’s what we know

Sonos is exploring the potential of its own voice assistant, offering an alternative to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, with one big advantage over its existing voice control feature. Sonos speakers launched in the past few years have distinguished themselves by including support for either Google or Amazon's voice tech, user-selectable rather than preconfigured like most smart speakers.

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How to switch to Amazon Alexa’s new Echo voice

How to switch to Amazon Alexa’s new Echo voice

Amazon's Alexa has a new voice option, and if you've wanted something new in your conversations, switching to a different sounding assistant could do the trick. The company quietly rolled out the new Alexa voice earlier this month, and changing over is straightforward.

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Alexa users can now tell Shaq what to do with new voice option

Alexa users can now tell Shaq what to do with new voice option

Amazon has added two new celebrity voice options to its Alexa assistant: Shaq and Melissa McCarthy. With these new options, Alexa users will get responses from the personal assistant in the voice of either celebrity, the latest additions in its line of novelty voice options. Amazon previously added Samuel L. Jackson's voice, which remains available.

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You decide if Amazon makes these Diane von Furstenberg Echo Dots

You decide if Amazon makes these Diane von Furstenberg Echo Dots

Amazon is adding a new project to its Build It crowdfunding system, with a set of Echo Dot x Diane von Furstenberg smart speakers customized by the famous designer. Launched earlier this year, Amazon Build It is an opportunity for the retailer to test the water for more unusual products, gauging consumer demand before giving them the green light for actual production.

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Sony LSPX-S3 wireless glass speaker keeps audio weird

Sony LSPX-S3 wireless glass speaker keeps audio weird

Sony revealed a new sort of speaker this week that keeps the entire experience strange with wirelessness, light, and glass. The Sony LSPX-S3 is a "wireless glass sound speaker" that works with an organic glass tweeter. Using this tech, the speaker is said to deliver "clear and powerful high tones" as well as a "widespread sound with uniform volume dispersion."

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HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

Beta software is labeled "beta" for a reason. They are often distributed only to people willing to test software for bugs and are willing to take the risk using potentially unstable software. Of course, some beta versions are in a better state than others but that doesn't remove the chance of a bad release wreaking havoc on devices. That is the unfortunate reality that owners of some HomePods are now facing after what they claim to be a rather buggy HomePod Software 15 beta caused smart speakers to overheat and, in some cases, fry the logic board beyond repair.

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Apple HomePod is no longer available, but owners need not worry

Apple HomePod is no longer available, but owners need not worry

Devices come and go, no matter how popular or how loved. Sometimes older devices are replaced by newer models, but there are also times when they are completely retired instead. The latter is the case for the first Apple smart speaker, the much-delayed HomePod that the company announced would be discontinued. Supplies of the full-sized speaker have finally gone out of stock but, while it can no longer be purchased from direct channels, nothing really changes for those who already own one, at least not yet.

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Apple Music Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio finally go live

Apple Music Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio finally go live

Before iPhones became its hottest products, Apple's name was also synonymous with music, both for its iPods as well as iTunes. These days, those roles have been taken up by the iPhone and HomePod speakers as well as the new Apple Music streaming service. Right at the start of its annual developer conference, Apple is flipping the switch to finally give Music some long-awaited features. But as enticing as Spatial Audio and Lossless Audio sounds, no pun intended, you'll have to make sure you actually have the hardware capable of supporting those modes.

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IKEA Symfonisk picture frame is a Sonos speaker in disguise

IKEA Symfonisk picture frame is a Sonos speaker in disguise

Swedish furniture brand IKEA enjoys both popularity and notoriety of its minimalist design, DIY assembly, and, more recently, integration with IoT technologies. Unlike makers of smart home products, IKEA incorporates Internet-connected features in tasteful and sometimes bizarre ways. Its newest attempt might be to sell you an IKEA Symfonisk picture frame that isn't really a picture frame but more like an art deco that happens to house an invisible Sonos speaker inside the frame.

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Apple rumor tips a new kind of device, at last

Apple rumor tips a new kind of device, at last

A new Apple device was tipped this week with a look and aim unlike any we've seen before. This new device is not a phone, or a tablet, or a laptop. It's not a desktop computer - but it can compute. It would appear that Apple's latest development is in a device that's something like a cross between a HomePod and an Apple TV, potentially making Apple TV a device with a screen, at long last.

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The Google Assistant is adding new ways to corral your family

The Google Assistant is adding new ways to corral your family

Google is adding new Assistant features and tweaking some existing ones to make them more user-friendly, including expanding its Broadcast system. The new Family Broadcast takes the existing functionality - where you can pipe your voice through multiple Google smart speakers and smart displays in the house, useful for announcing meals are ready or reminding people it's time to leave - and enhances it for smartphones and replies.

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