With its latest, and very possibly last, update to the Android 12 beta, Google is adding in a lot of creature comforts that flesh out the operating system's user interaction. One of the most handy is home controls (AKA device controls), quick links to your most-used actions for controlling a smarthome. Previously (and distractingly) placed in the power menu, they seem to have a much more easy-to-reach home now: right no the lock screen.
Arlo's security cameras are getting more popular thanks to wide availability and simplicity. And the company is embracing that simplicity with its latest change to its cloud subscription plans. Some people will like the expansions since they offer recording for more cameras. But if you're particularly worried about emergency services, you might be paying a little more.
Apple's WWDC 2021 keynote is nearly two hours long, because Apple has a lot in common with Zack Snyder. Nestled in the presentation on HomeKit was an interesting nugget of information: Siri will be available on third-party devices later this year.
Change is an inevitability in life, and unfortunately for those of us who invest in various product ecosystems, change ultimately means having to upgrade. Right now, Samsung is transitioning to a next-gen platform for its SmartThings smart home system. And while newer devices are coming along for the ride, some older components are going to need to be replaced before they stop working. Samsung's been sharing news of this transition with owners of these devices, including the SmartThings Link USB dongle that lets it integrate with the Nvidia Shield, as well as the original SmartThings Hub.
The arrival of the smart home has made everything from switching off lights to turning on the coffee maker easier than ever, but there are some problems that take extra smarts to solve. For Nest smart thermostats, that extra help comes in the form of the company's Seasonal Savings program, a feature designed to helps to save on energy costs. Previously restricted to users with specific utility providers, it's now starting rolling out to all Nest thermostats.
Amazon's tiny Echo Flex smart speakers are great because they can fit into areas where even the compact Echo Dot can't. That's because the Echo Flex simply plugs into any open wall outlets without blocking the other. After dropping the price from $25 to $20, Amazon is further sweetening the deal by selling two Echo Flex speakers for just $35 ($5 off) with a limited-use coupon.
The smarthome has a whole encompasses a great many elements. One of the ones often forgotten in our love of light bulbs, outlets, and cameras is the sprinkler control system. For those of you that this might appeal to, you should check out the deal that Woot is running on the Rachio 2nd generation 8- and 16-zone controllers; the former is $149.99 and the latter is $179.99, which means that the savings are $50 and $80, respectively.
Plex is simply awesome. I have been using the media server in some form or another for years and the Lifetime Pass sales are always extremely tempting. So when the service gets a new feature or addition, I pay attention. In this case, Amazon's personal assistant and Plex are coming together via a new Alexa skill.