Get ready for the little person living inside your phone and speaker to sound a lot more life-like. Google believes it has reached a new milestone in the quest to make computer-generated speech indistinguishable from human speech with Tacotron 2, a system that trains neural networks to generate eerily natural-sounding speech from text, and they have the samples to prove it. Read More
When my husband and I began designing our new apartment about a year ago, one of the first things I wanted to account for was smart lights. I love well-lit environments and the idea of having lights turn on and off automatically in the different rooms was appealing. I thought it'd be easy to find a smart lighting solution for the entire house, but my search eventually hit so many walls I'm surprised I didn't completely give up after the 10th week of frantic Googling and pointless research.
There were so many things to account for: 220V electricity in Lebanon, different size of wall switch and box compared to US, 908.4 MHz Z-Wave on my smart hub (US frequency), compatibility with SmartThings and Google Home, I didn't want an additional hub hanging off my router, and best of all: super frequent electricity cuts and blackouts. Read More
Verizon surprised everyone when the company announced its Wear24 smartwatch the same day as Google unveiled the LG Watch Sport and Style. The watch was discontinued just four months later, probably because not very many people want a $350 smartwatch. Now you can get it for just $74.97, a $275 savings over the original price. Read More
Garmin has long been associated with GPS navigation, but most people aren't buying standalone GPS units anymore. The company has, however, been branching out to other product categories like wearables. Garmin's Vivofit fitness trackers have been reasonably popular, and there's a new version available today. The Vivofit 4 launches at $79.99. It's a bit more expensive, but the screen is color and it still gets a year of battery life. Read More
B&H is running a massive year-end sale right now, fittingly named the 'Mega Deal Zone.' We already covered some of the offerings here, but there are also seven Motorola phones on sale. That includes the Moto G5S Plus, Moto G4, and last year's Moto Z Play. Read More
Wireless charging was the hot new thing a few years back, then it faded away a bit. Now, it's coming back with Apple's decision to finally adopt one of the existing wireless charging standards. Every phone with wireless charging still needs to be sitting on the charging pad, but that could change soon. Wireless charging startup Energous has announced that its WattUp system has been approved by the FCC, making it the first "at-a-distance" wireless charging tech ready for consumers. Read More
Christmas has come and gone, but you might still be in the market for something to spend some cash or a holiday bonus on. B&H is running a year-end sale on a ton of products, including the first-generation eero Home Wi-Fi System, a nice Samsung Fast Charge bundle, and several other goodies you might want. Read More
Nest has made its name by adding smart features to things that you might already have around the house. It's worked pretty well in the past with devices like the Nest Thermostat, but home security is a more serious business. It's different than a thermostat—people rely on a security system to control access to their homes. The new Nest Secure is trying to take the place of an existing product with an important function. It's a balancing act between convenience and safety, and Nest mostly gets it right. The hardware is capable and innovative, and setup was a breeze for me. However, it's missing a few features, and the price is high at $500. Read More
As a tech enthusiast with the brains and taste to prefer Android over the other options, you're probably someone who also appreciates the need for privacy and security. You may even keep a spare "burner" phone for when you travel to some less-than-confidence-inspiring situations like hacker conferences or the Winter Olympics. But what if you needed something even more powerful to protect data and even physical objects of monumental importance?
A new open source project from the Guardian Project and the Freedom of the Press Foundation may be what you're looking for, an app that turns your smartphone into a security system, known as Haven. Read More