I reviewed the Owlcam, then known as the Owl Car Cam, nearly two years ago. I felt that I had been a bit hard on the product in the review, but the complaints that I'd highlighted were all valid.
Now that Owl Cameras has been bought out by a company called CallPass (this PCWorld piece does a great job of describing Owl's demise), things have taken a turn for the worse. Owlcam's LTE subscription fee is now $215 per year, a dramatic increase from the $99/year cost under previous ownership. If you were hoping you could just use your Owlcam without LTE now, think again — many Owlcams that haven't been registered for a subscription, mine included, have been completely disabled. Read More
Before there was the Echo Auto, there was the Anker Roav Viva: an accessory that is part phone charger, part microphone for Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. If that sounds like something you might get some use out of, it's just $17.99 at B&H Photo for the next few hours. Read More
Google Assistant started with native support for basic smart home products like thermostats and lights, but has since expanded to dozens more from locks to vacuums, cameras, kitchen appliances, bedroom furniture, and bathroom equipment. With today's addition of chargers, Assistant has upped its tally to 60 different product types. Read More
Android Auto is making its way into more and more cars. Even notorious holdout manufacturer BMW announced 2019 that it would add support for Google's platform to its vehicles this year, though it'll have some weird limitations. While we're still waiting on the German manufacturer to pull through, the first Lexus and Infiniti models have been added to the growing list of supported cars, along with Ferrari. Read More
Google Assistant is everywhere these days: phones, tablets, speakers, Chromebooks, and more. The first Assistant devices for cars were unveiled earlier this year, and the first model from Anker launched in April. The other device, JBL's Link Drive, was announced at CES and seemed like it wasn't going to come out. Of course, JBL is no stranger to delays, and the Link Drive just became available recently. So, how is the JBL Link Drive? It's an almost identical experience to the Anker Roav Bolt, but with more hardware disadvantages and a higher price. Read More
Back in February, Toyota announced it was finally working on adding Android Auto support in its vehicles. Given it's one of the largest car manufacturers worldwide, it's very surprising it was so late in making the move, but the Japanese company seems to be serious in its commitment to Android Auto, as its luxury division's cars will also support it. Read More
At the start of this year, Google announced it was working on Assistant devices for your car. The idea is to bring the same convenience of an always-listening smart speaker into your vehicle of choice, without requiring an expensive Android Auto head unit. The first product in this category is the Anker Roav Bolt, a small device that plugs into a car charging port.
I was very excited to try out the Roav Bolt, after years of dealing with annoying adapters and Bluetooth receivers in my Android Auto-less car. I've always had issues with my phone hearing voice commands while I'm driving, even when using a vent mount. Read More
Volvo has just taken the wraps off of the Polestar 2, an all-electric sedan-crossover thing intended to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. The affordable electric car aspect isn't the only talking point of this; it's also the first vehicle with Google's deeply-integrated Android Automotive infotainment system. Read More
JBL is bringing Google Assistant everywhere this year, from speakers to soundbars, displays, headphones, and more. The latest addition to its line-up, the JBL Link Drive, is meant to help you use Google Assistant while driving, but without taking your eyes off the road or fiddling with your phone. Read More