Joaomgcd's AutoVoice app is one of the most powerful tools you can try on Android for customizing your Google Assistant commands, especially when used in conjunction with Tasker (which he recently acquired as well). Most recently, the app added Google Assistant integration with v3.0, and now v3.5 is kicking that up a notch by letting you customize what you can ask Assistant and what it answers back. Read More
A new page appeared on Amazon yesterday: white text on a blue backdrop, asking "What is Fire TV Cube?" with a button to sign up for email updates. The question, obviously rhetorical, is a clear teaser for a new Fire TV device. Read More
Amazon is rolling out a feature today that lets users broadcast messages to connected Echo devices. The company is calling it Alexa Announcements, and the functionality is very similar to the broadcast feature Google Home has had since late last year. Read More
When you're putting together a smart home, it's easy to get a little carried away. Maybe you start with a speaker connected to a voice assistant. Then you're ordering pack after pack of smart light bulb, wiring in a doorbell cam, and before you know it your curtains and blinds are opening all by themselves. Well, homeowners aren't the only ones going down this path, we've also seen the companies behind these devices start out making just one kind of smart-home accessory, before finding themselves building a whole home's worth of connected tech. You may be familiar with Ecobee from its smart thermostats, and now the company's expanding with the release of the Switch+ smart light switch. Read More
When Amazon upended the publishing industry with the advent of the Kindle, it also paved the way for an approach to luring consumers into a larger sphere of influence, a strategy that is now being successfully adapted for the new age of smart speakers and digital assistants. Both the Kindle and the Echo provide consumers with valuable services, encouraging them to shop and receive content within Amazon's ecosystem. Most of the experiences of its Kindle and Echo hardware also come in the form of apps or services that appear on other manufacturers' devices without additional charge to the consumer, making that connection even stronger. Read More
Smart home security cameras are very much in vogue these days. From Amazon's Cloud Cam to Nest's assorted cameras, it's a popular and growing market. Canary might not be quite so big as its competitors, but it offers affordable alternatives in the wake of its crowdfunding campaign back in 2013. The newest home security camera in the Canary lineup is the $99 Canary View. In addition to this new hardware, Canary has also announced an AI-based Package Detection feature and skill integration with Amazon's Alexa. Read More
I look around at my hallway console nowadays and see a Canary camera, a Google Home, and a SmartThings Hub v2. Not to mention the Synology server, router, and a few other miscellaneous tech items. The idea of having all three integrated in the same device, saving space and unnecessary wiring is quite appealing, and that's what Toshiba's new Symbio aims to do.
It's a 6-in-1 device: a 1080p wide-angle "low-light" camera with sound and motion alerts, a smart sound detector for babies and pets and even legacy alarms around the house, a Bluetooth and WiFi streaming speaker with ODMD driver, a voice control interface with Amazon Alexa built-in, a smart home hub with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, and an intercom for communicating between Symbios and phones. Read More
There is no denying that Amazon's Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant are a huge success at this point. What started out as a weird little cylinder you can command to play music and ask a few questions has now become an entire line-up of devices, an ecosystem that has engendered many integrations from thousands of companies worldwide, and has kickstarted an entire product category and tech section that was nearly non-existent before it.
But since Amazon doesn't divulge any sales numbers for Echo devices, all we've had to go with are estimates from statistics companies or vague numbers from Amazon itself. Read More