Speaker

Apple HomePod gets FCC approval, expected to launch soon

Apple HomePod gets FCC approval, expected to launch soon

For those waiting to get their hands on Apple's upcoming HomePod, the wait appears to soon be over. The Siri-powered smart speaker was delayed from its original release last fall to sometime in "early 2018," but the device was recently granted approval by the FCC for sale in the US. There's still no solid launch date, however, but the approval means the HomePod could soon be challenging the Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers for users' living rooms.

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Best Smart Speakers of 2018: the Pros and the Cons

Best Smart Speakers of 2018: the Pros and the Cons

At CES 2018, the usual circus of new products, experimental devices, and moonshot projects seem to have a common undertone: AI assistants. At almost every turn, you’ll find something, be it a “smart display”, a TV, a car head unit, or a door lock that integrates with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri, or even Microsoft Cortana. The age of the personal AI assistants have come, and it all started with the somewhat unassuming and still really bewildering smart speakers. We take a brief look at some of the best ones in the market, and some still to come, and why, despite their appeal, they might not exactly be worth your money just yet.

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Amazon Echo Spot available now in the UK

Amazon Echo Spot available now in the UK

The battle of the AI assistants and their devices is on. At CES 2018, a large portion of consumer electronics revolved around or, at the very least, supported the likes of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Sometimes even both. As the competition, not to mention the nastiness, between the two heats up, so do the expansion to global markets. Hot on the heels of CES, Amazon is finally making available in the UK one of its latest, and oddest, products, the Echo Spot.

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LG WK9 Google Assistant touch screen speaker completes the trio

LG WK9 Google Assistant touch screen speaker completes the trio

Like any CES, there is a wide variety of technologies and products that flooded the Las Vegas Convention Center. But if there’s one thing that binds most of them, it would be AI assistant. Product after product advertising support for Amazon Alexa and/or Google Assistant have been announced, heating up the rivalry between the two. Drumming it up even more, Google and its OEM partners announced touch screen speakers to rival the Amazon Echo Show. Following the JBL Link View and the Lenovo Smart Display, LG is also revealing its new ThinQ WK9 speaker with Google Assistant inside.

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Anker Zolo Model Zero Google Assistant speaker has an odd design

Anker Zolo Model Zero Google Assistant speaker has an odd design

If you thought Anker was done flooding CES with all sorts of devices, whether they were directly related to its core charging business, better think again. It still has one last hurrah to give and it’s a head-turner. Its ZOLO smart audio brand has announced a new smart speaker with a very unique design that you’ll want to show off in your home. Inside the Zolo Model Zero, however, lies not just power but also intelligence, thanks to Google Assistant at your bekc and call.

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Milo smart speaker doubles as home hub, Google Assistant inside

Milo smart speaker doubles as home hub, Google Assistant inside

CES is usually a time for big announcements but, this year, there is a somewhat silent undercurrent happening. An army is silently growing, made up of smart speakers that integrate this or that AI assistant. But, smart as they are, they are often just another device you have to add to your network. Startup Hogar Controls thinks it has the solution. Meet Milo, a smart speaker that almost looks like any other smart speaker, except for one invisible talent. It can also double as the central hub for your smart home instead of being just another node in the network.

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Google Assistant displays, Android Auto, speakers headline CES 2018

Google Assistant displays, Android Auto, speakers headline CES 2018

CES isn’t usually Google’s time to grab the spotlight but this year, it’s making its presence felt in a rather new way. No, there’s no new Google product or device being announced. Instead, there are dozens of new ones. Confused? You probably will be once you take a load of all the new speakers, headphones, smart displays, and in-car audio systems debuting at CES 2018. Despite hailing from different brands and coming in different forms, they all have one thing in common. They all have Google Assistant inside.

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Sony MDR-1AM2, EXTRA BASS, sports earbuds: 2018 mobile audio lineup

Sony MDR-1AM2, EXTRA BASS, sports earbuds: 2018 mobile audio lineup

Sony has unveiled a slew of mobile audio products, including portable speakers and earbuds. Joining the lineup is the new Sony MDR-1AM2, a sequel of sorts to the 1A model Sony launched back in 2014, as well as Sony's own alternative to AirPods -- the WI-SP700N "truly wireless" earbuds, which feature a charging case and no wires at all.

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Anker floods CES 2018 with speakers, projectors, Alexa car kit

Anker floods CES 2018 with speakers, projectors, Alexa car kit

Anker is perhaps best known for its charging accessories but that doesn’t mean that’s is all that it knows to do. At CES 2018, it is proving exactly that by unveiling a new batch of accessories covering a wide range of uses, from wireless earphones to a car kit that makes any car smarter with Amazon Alexa. All of them, of course, have an element of Anker’s famous charging tech inside.

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Google Home Max reported to have latency with line-in connection

Google Home Max reported to have latency with line-in connection

Google’s latest foray into the world of smart home speakers hasn’t been exactly smooth sailing compared to the first gen Google Home. The Google Home Mini had a manufacturing defect that ruined the touch controls for everyone. And now the Google Home Max, which only just started shipping in time for the holidays, has its own issue as well. Fortunately, it might be something that can be fixed by a software update and might not even matter much to the majority of the speaker’s users.

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Samsung NW700 Soundbar tries to disappear into your wall

Samsung NW700 Soundbar tries to disappear into your wall

TV makers these days are trying to make their products almost impossibly thin for the purpose of making them blend with walls.While they may have succeeded in doing that, the price they sometimes have to pay is in sound, which is either too weak because of the small space, or decent but has to be routed to bulky speakers, breaking the illusion. Samsung may have the solution in the new NW700 Sound+ soundbar designed to perfectly go with your super thin Samsung TV but still has enough space to pack its own woofer inside.

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Samsung Bixby smart speaker winds up for 2018 debut

Samsung Bixby smart speaker winds up for 2018 debut

2017 could very well be considered the year of the smart speaker. Though Google Home launched at the tail end of 2016, Google introduced two new models this year: the Google Home Mini and Home Max. Apple revealed its Siri-powered HomePod for an early 2018 launch, while Amazon let its new Echo Show out of the gate and released a new version of the standard Echo. Surely we can't expect Samsung to sit on the sidelines and just watch all of this happen, right?

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