We might have previously thought that it was an April Fools' joke, given the timing, but Amazon's Echo Look is quite real. The device, with its camera and fancy machine learning skills, is meant to add some fashion sense to Amazon's personal assistant. It is able to judge contemporary styling between a pair of outfits and even allows you to save your favorites. Today Amazon released the companion app for the Echo Look on Android, so now users of our favorite operating system can see on their phone which headband went better with that Blue Steel look. Read More
Dual speaker-equipped phones like the HTC U11, Nexus 6P, and Axon 7 may have better sound than their competitors, but the fact of the matter is that a phone's sound will never beat out a standalone speaker's. So if you want good portable sound and don't yet own a Bluetooth speaker, the UE ROLL 2 may be worth considering. Given its capabilities, the ROLL 2 is a no-brainer at just $45, which is less than half of its MSRP. Read More
Google's speech recognition error rate is getting lower and lower - yesterday, the company said it's now under 5% and has dropped from 8.5% this time last year. And I find that to be more and more the case in my own use: Google seems to recognize almost everything I throw at it now, even when I add Lebanese/Arabic names from my contacts list that I wouldn't expect it to get right.
But if you're wondering how Google's speech recognition fares in comparison to other voice assistants, Wired has made a video in conjunction with Andy Wood and Matt Kirshen (from Probably Science) to show you just that. Read More
Back in 2015, Amazon released its cheapest tablet yet - the 'Fire tablet' for just $50 (with lock-screen ads). There's still a sizable developer community around the device too, with plenty of hacks and ROMs available for owners.
Now the company is following up with a new model, named the Fire 7. The Fire HD 8 is also getting a minor refresh, in case you need something a little bigger. The 7-inch tablet still starts at $50 with lock-screen ads, and $64.99 without. The Fire HD 8 starts at $79.99 with lock-screen ads, and $94.99 without. Read More
One of my main problems with 'smart' assistants is that they aren't great at delivering information. Yes, you can ask "will there be storms," but having your Echo or Google Home proactively inform you about dangerous weather would be far more useful.
Amazon today announced that it is working on notification support for Alexa, which will allow skills to send notifications to the user (if allowed). Read More
Element Electronics, the manufacturer of affordable TVs, has taken to the internet to announce that pre-orders for its new line of 4K television sets with Amazon's Fire TV built-in are officially live. Featuring Alexa, voice controls, and all of the ecosystem's streaming apps, Element is poised to tackle the low-end 4K smart TV market. Read More
My Google Home isn't the best at figuring out if me (or someone else) actually says "Hey Google" or "OK Google." Sometimes I'll be watching a video where no one says anything remotely similar to those phrases, and the lights on my Home flip on. But I have noticed that most of the time, the lights turn off a split-second later, as the Home actually realizes that no one called for it (presumably once the voice clip is processed by Google's servers).
Amazon appears to be giving Alexa a similar ability, with the introduction of 'Cloud-based wake word verification.' Read More
Samsung announced a pair of Chromebooks back at CES 2017, the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro. The former is powered by a custom ARM-based OP1 processor, while the latter is equipped with an Intel Core M3 6Y30 chip. The Plus was released back in February, but the Pro was delayed - presumably to fix issues with the Android app compatibility. Read More
USB Type-C cables can get pretty expensive, but if you don't need the fast transfer speeds of USB 3.0/3.1, Amazon's own AmazonBasics cables are a good option. In fact, they're an even better option right now, because they're on sale. Now you can get the 9ft Type C cable for $7.99 (20%) and the 6ft for $6.79 (15% off). Read More
Amazon recently announced the end of its "Actually Free" program for the Amazon Appstore. Now, it's back to basics with things that cost money. Although, you can use Amazon coins instead of money if you want. New Appstore users can get a whole mess of coins at a steep discount right now, too. Read More