Smart home technology is great. The Nest Learning Thermostat, Phillips Hue, and Sonos sound systems are wonderful products that make life more convenient, automated, and beautiful. These technologies are great, but many components in a smart home are controlled by applications from a smart phone or tablet. Having to pull your phone out of your pocket and unlock it every time you want to turn off the lights while watching a movie can be a little annoying.
Fortunately, the Logitech Harmony Home Control makes running a smart home a little easier. The remote works great for controlling your media center, but it also can be programmed to control many different home automation devices.
You know what's better than a robot that looks like a thick frisbee and slides around your house? It's the one that cleans where it walks without hitting walls and furniture on its way, so that you can come home to less dirty floors as if a magical fairy passed by and did her deed. But what if you can have an even better version? Yes, better, because not only it's a robot, it's also WiFi-connected to an app on your smartphone, so you can control it from afar. That's the new iRobot Roomba 980.
iRobot knows its vacuums. This isn't the first Roomba it releases, so it has been learning from past products, improving and perfecting them.
Did you see that white box floating across the Atlantic ocean? That was a SmartThings Hub. You can now purchase one in the UK and Ireland.
Okay, maybe that's not entirely what crossing the pond means, but the end result is the same. Actually, it's better, because you won't have to leave your device out to dry before powering it on. Not to mention the damage salt water can do to electronics.
It's always fun to have the latest and greatest version of the gadgets we love, but sometimes the previous generation is nearly as good and a better overall value. Such may be the case with the new Nest Learning Thermostat.
The 3rd generation of the popular temperature controller was announced yesterday and boasts a few minor improvements over the now "old" 2nd generation Nest. The display is larger, it's a bit thinner, and sports a couple of new features and sensors. If you want to read the full breakdown of changes you can read Cameron's article about the product announcement here.
This is pretty cool, and here's why. If you have your hub controlling a bunch of other devices, you can now use Amazon's device to boss them around. Alexa, turn on the television. Alexa, turn off the lamp. Alexa, have your way with whatever else is plugged into my SmartThings Power Outlet (okay, maybe this command won't work exactly as written).
Maybe you're seeing this and you're thinking: Gee, maybe I'd like one of these Echo things after all.
SmartThings is a company (owned by Samsung) that connects and manages your smart things. Smart lights. Smart sensors. Smart alarms. Whatever. Connecting them to the SmartThings Hub allows you to control them from your smart phone, even if you're not at home.
Some homes are smart, and the Logitech Harmony serves as their brain. It provides a single location to control all the things, assuming of course that the products are supported. The latest update adds quite a few more to the list ranging from door locks to thermostats and a few things in between.
The Echo is Amazon's little smart tube that perks up whenever you say "Alexa" and proceeds to do whatever you say. Well, as long as what you say is something it has the capability to do. If you have a house filled with Wink-compatible products, that list now includes telling Echo to take control of your home.
Try, "Alexa, turn off the fan" or "Alexa, turn on the kitchen lights." Then watch as you never burn calories getting up to flip switches yourself.
By connecting Echo to your Wink Hub, you can use your voice to control a range of supported devices.
IKEA is jumping on the wireless charging bandwagon. The world's largest furniture maker and retailer understands the demands of the modern home. In a bid to streamline your interior's design as much as possible, remove redundant elements, and get rid of the cable clutter everywhere, it has designed a collection of bedside tables, lamps, and desks, with integrated wireless charging spots.
The collection, which is designed by David Wahl, employs the most common standard, Qi. If your Android device has wireless charging built-in, like the LG G3, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and dozens of others, chances are it uses Qi. If it doesn't, IKEA plans to make charging cases available for select smartphones, including some Samsung models.
The Czar has spoken. After his anointment as Google's Senior Vice President of Products last October, which put him in charge of Chrome, Android, search, ad technology, Google+, Maps, social, commerce and infrastructure, Sundar had been operating in incognito mode, occasionally letting loose a few tidbits of information, like Inbox' deployment to Apps users. In a recent interview with Forbes, the man behind most of the things we talk about here on Android Police has answered some interesting questions regarding his vast portfolio of products, tried to put an end to a few concerns, and remained mum about other issues.
The most intriguing section of the interview starts when Google+ is addressed.