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Google Home and Assistant now work with more than 1500 smart home devices from 200+ brands

The list of supported smart home partners on Google Assistant and Home continues to grow and that growth even seems to be accelerating as time passes. Just last October, we reported on 65 direct partners being supported by Assistant and now if you go over to the Home Control section of your Google Home app or Assistant's settings, you can find that the number has jumped a little over 100. But that's not the entire story.

As we all know, smart home companies can integrate into Google Assistant/Home in one of two ways. One is directly through Home Control, which is easily recognizable by the fact that all the devices imported show up in a list, you can assign them to rooms, you can use regular voice commands to trigger them, and the same Assistant voice will answer you back.

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Toshiba introduces Symbio, a smart home hub, security camera and system, and Alexa speaker in one

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.

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Alexa will soon operate your very complicated microwave for you

The more capable a microwave oven is, the harder it is to figure out what buttons to press to make it do the thing you want. Or so I've heard. Today, Amazon announced that it will save us all from furiously button-mashing to just heat up some leftovers by adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API and working with appliance manufacturers to add its Alexa assistant to cloud-connected microwave ovens.

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InBrief
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Firefox 57.0.4 rolling out to all platforms with initial fixes for 'Meltdown' and 'Spectre' CPU vulnerabilities

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Nokia 6 (2018) loses capacitive keys and moves fingerprint sensor to back

It's been about a year since we first heard about the new Nokia phones, including the Nokia 6. Although it took a bit longer for the phone to hit stateside, it rounded out HMD Global's new Android portfolio reasonably well. What few disadvantages we might have seen appear to be fixed in the 2018 version, which just leaked in a detailed product listing by Chinese retailer Suning.

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Password manager Dashlane wants to kill passwords in 2018

Dashlane is one of several popular password managers that aims to make remembering long passwords a thing of the past. However, Dashlane now says it wants to make passwords themselves a thing of the past, too. The company has announced "Project Mirror," a service that will somehow eliminate your passwords. Dashlane is a little vague on the specifics, but the first piece of the puzzle is launching very soon.

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[Hands-on] My Tamagotchi Forever, everything you love about the original digital pet toy mixed with too many free-to-play mechanics

Bandai Namco's upcoming My Tamagotchi Forever game for Android currently exists as a soft-launch title on the Google Play Store that is only available to those that live in Canada. The marketing behind this game seems to point towards a 20-year revival of the famous handheld digital pet game for modern times. But has Bandai Namco succeeded in making a proper reimagining of the franchise, or is this more of the same free-to-play junk we are all used to seeing?

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Sony Xperia L2, XA2, and XA2 Ultra leak ahead of possible CES reveal

Rumors about Sony's 2018 smartphone lineup have been circulating for a few weeks now. Earlier this week, 3D renders appeared of the XA2, XA2 Ultra, and L2. The phones represent Sony's mid-range and low-end lineup, and now VentureBeat has released more details about them.

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Google is investigating Pixel 2 XL voice messaging bug affecting WhatsApp, Allo, and Telegram

The Pixel 2 XL has suffered from several issues since its launch, both hardware and software-related, just like pretty much any other consumer product of its kind. The latest bug to come to light is a curious one that affects the sound output level of a voice clip sent via a messaging app. According to a number of users on this Pixel User Community thread, this issue is limiting the volume level when recording voice messages on the Pixel 2 XL.

When you send a voice clip recorded on a phone suffering from the bug, the recipient gets a message with very low volume, even when their phone is turned up all the way.

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Mophie launches 22,000mAh Powerstation AC battery with 30W USB-PD and 100W AC output

It can be a challenge to find a good portable battery that has the ports you need, sufficient capacity, and the right fast-charging standard. Mophie's latest battery should have all your bases covered with up to 100W of power over an AC outlet, but it'll cost you. The new 22,000mAh Powerstation AC is now live for a whopping $199.95.

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