When Google renamed Brillo to "Android Things" at the end of the last year, it also announced new partners for Google Home. Beside Hue and SmartThings, there would be Belkin WeMo, Honeywell, Wink, LiFX, and TP-Link. The first two are already live in the Home Control section of Google Home's Assistant settings, and the third should be available starting today.
Wink makes a home hub that works as a central control place and bridge between all of your connected gadgets. The Hub 2, which I reviewed a few months ago, has WiFi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, Zigbee, and plenty of other protocols to communicate with many smart home products. As I discovered, it's also very easy to set up and one of the simplest ways to start building your connected smart home without feeling overwhelmed. As long as the product you choose is supported by Wink, there will be clear requirements, tutorials, and graphics for you. Read More
Watching HTC release phones is almost as frustrating as Google's current messenger app situation. After two years of incremental releases to the company's 'HTC One' lineup, many considered last year's HTC 10 to be a great phone (besides being rather expensive at launch). The company followed up this year with the HTC U Ultra and HTC U Play, neither of which has received positive reviews. Read More
Scandinavian brand Urbanears is branching out of the headphones market to launch its first speakers: the Baggen and the Stammen. These are almost the same speaker made in two different sizes, wrapped in 360-deg fabric, and available in neutral colors like black, grey, and navy, but also interesting shades like light pink, dark green, and bold orange.
The reason we're talking about them is that they're connected speakers and come with plenty of integrations out of the box: Chromecast Built-in, Apple Airplay, and Spotify Connect. Read More
In continuing its crusade to bring Snapchat-like features to its repertoire of applications, Facebook has taken to its blog to announce some new features in the main app itself. Users will be able to use and share a variety of camera effects, 24-hour Stories, or send photos to specific friends with Direct. Read More
Truecaller had its first annual "Stay Ahead" event in India today and made plenty of announcements regarding its app and platform with partnerships across the board. The popular service, which first started as a way to help you identify unknown callers, is now spreading its wings beyond being your complementary phonebook and voice call app.
With Truecaller 8, the app can be your default SMS inbox, handling unknown senders, blocking spam messages and specific numbers, and integrating flash messaging for sending quick requests and bouts of information to your contacts, like your location or an emoji. Read More
The news has been abuzz for a couple of days in the Middle Eastern region, but it has now been made official, press release and all: Amazon has reached an agreement to acquire SOUQ.com.
For those of you who don't live in the Middle East and haven't heard of SOUQ (which means "market" in Arabic), you can think of it as India's Flipkart maybe or well, Amazon, but serving a few local countries in the region: UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and also shipping to Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. It has made a name for itself as one of the leading online retailers for shopping for clothes, electronics, beauty products, home items, sports equipment, baby products, and more. Read More
The Google Home and Google Wifi are about to land in a new country all across the ocean: the United Kingdom. After being exclusively available in the USA since their launch last year, both of Google's new gadgets will expand to their second official territory.
Google made the announcement today, focusing on everything you can do with the Home and Wifi, including asking questions, playing media, and controlling your home with the former and setting up mesh networks with the latter. It also said that it has been working with several partners in the UK to bring more local apps and services to the Home and Assistant. Read More
Earlier in March, Cortana got updated on Android to version 2.5 with one important feature: optional lockscreen integration. This allowed users to swipe from their lockscreen to reveal their personal feed including calendar appointments, news, and contextual information they might need. However, it didn't include the ability to interact with Cortana or ask it questions.
With today's update to v2.6, that is now possible. You can ask Cortana questions, set reminders, and more without unlocking your device first. It's more about convenience and less about security I presume. There are also improvements to the way the Cortana home feed is displayed on Android, easier ways to set reminders and lists without using voice, and a few other enhancements. Read More
If you like your phones to not just be dark or drab, but really, completely, and utterly black like your soul (as my fiancé likes to joke), then you better have your wallet ready and aiming to fire dollars at the OnePlus online store. The limited edition Midnight Black version of the OnePlus 3T is now available for sale, but supplies aren't as infinite as the blackness of the phone.
The OnePlus 3T Midnight Black was announced last week and said to be available on March 24 exclusively through boutique retailer HBX. That exclusivity only lasted a few days and it has now landed on the main OnePlus site. Read More
Last week, Google announced new location sharing features in Google Maps that would allow you to easily share your current position momentarily or indefinitely with select people. The option is the same that we've had in Google+ for a few years, except it would now be in the app that made most sense, Maps. It also follows Google's trend of decoupling options and features from Google+.
In the official announcement, Google said the feature would be rolling out "soon" worldwide, but didn't give an exact timeline, and we have yet to see it on our devices regardless of the version of Maps we're running. Read More