If you have purchased a Google Home or any of Amazon's products with Alexa on-board, chances are that you are itching to add more connected devices to your residence that can be controlled with your voice. If that's the case, then a smart thermostat, like the 3rd Gen Nest Learning Thermostat, should definitely be on your shopping list. Particularly since you can pick one up for 15 percent off at Target this week. Read More
Are you looking to make your home more... smart? All those WiFi-connected lights, appliances, and speakers can easily make a dent in your wallet. But right now, you can grab a pack of three LED color Philips Hue lights, with the wireless bridge included, for just $124.99 manufacturer-refurbished. Read More
Google does weird things. Assistant for example has different capabilities if you use it on Google Home, in Google Allo, on the Google Pixel, or on Android Wear 2.0. Why? It's hard to explain and even harder to remember what is possible where, and more importantly, what is not possible.
For example, you could control your compatible smart home gadgets from Assistant on Google Home, but the functionality wasn't available on the Pixel. Last December, a small workaround showed up: if you already enabled Nest control on Google Home, you could issue the command on your Pixel and it would be interpreted correctly, but if you didn't have a Home already, Google would reply that it doesn't know how to do that yet. Read More
Ever since I got my Wink Hub 2, one of the services I kept seeing in conversations when trying to bridge together different smart appliances and services was Stringify. The app was limited to iOS though, so I never got to use it because I wasn't going to carry my iPad around all the time to toggle a light bulb. But at CES, Stringify made a few announcements that we just came across (excuse the delay, we had tons of emails and releases to sift through) and that are sure to please Android users.
Before going further, here's a quick rundown of what Stringify is for those of you who'd never heard of it. Read More
Blink, the company that makes affordable and portable home security cameras (see my full review), has been on a bit of a roll over the past few months. First, it added Alexa support to arm and disarm the system and inquire about the latest recorded videos, then it announced an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and an IR night vision sensor. Now it's releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its system.
To begin, Blink's Sync Module, the one that connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there's no power. Read More
I bought an apartment in October. You can imagine the joy at the thought that it'd be my future family's home, terror at the sight of the mortgage value on the signed contract, and all the excitement about getting to set up a house from scratch. I could pick everything that I loved from design to materials to colors to organization, and yes, also automation.
I wanted lights that turn on when the doors open, A/C units that cool the place when I'm coming home and the outside heat is too much to bear, cameras that catch intruders the moment they are detected, a washing machine that notifies me when the load is done, colored lights that coordinate with whatever I'm watching on TV, blinds that open and close with the sunset and sunrise, and much more. Read More
A lot of the things we do depend on the weather and outdoor conditions. We crank up the thermostat when it's too cold, wear coats and carry an umbrella when it's raining, turn on the AC when the summer heat is too much, plug in the lights when the sun sets, and more.
Now you can automate many of these things with Weather Underground's new IFTTT channel. There are plenty of existing applets already, including ones from WU that contain many thats as consequences to one this, like the one that transitions the house into night mode by adjusting Hue lights, WeMo switches, and Nest thermostats or the weather preparedness one that notifies you, emails you, and creates a calendar event for rainy times. Read More
Samsung's SmartThings is one of the most popular smart home product lines. The company has developed outlets, light bulbs, sensors, and more all designed to work seamlessly together. Tying everything together is the SmartThings Hub, which acts as the bridge between your smart devices and your home's internet connection. Now you can get the second-generation SmartThings Hub (the latest model) for $50 on Amazon, half off the original $100 price tag. Read More
BestBuy has a sweet deal going on today. You can pick up a Phillips Hue A19 starter kit (3 bulbs plus a hub) and an Amazon Echo for $260.40. That's about $120 less than you would pay if you bought each item separately at full price. This a great combo for those of you wanting to add some tech to your home to make it a little smarter.
I own several Phillips Hue bulbs. I love being able to change the color and intensity of the lights to fit my activity and mood. Waking up to gradually increasing lights instead of an alarm has helped me tremendously in handling the dark Seattle winters. Read More
Today is the day you've been waiting for... maybe. Google Home is available for purchase from Google and other retailers. The voice-activated Assistant hub is priced at $129 and works with many of your smart home devices, assuming you have those. Read More