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Amazon Debuts Echo Show 5: Smaller, Cheaper, More Private
May 30, 2019
Amazon has announced the Echo Show 5 and is taking preorders. This third-generation Echo Show is called the "5" because it has a 5.5-inch diagonal display. he Echo Show 5 is available in the line's standard Charcoal and Sandstone colors. It is priced at $90. New Alexa routines are available on the Echo Show 5, such as a nighttime routine that turns off the bedroom lamp and plays soothing sounds.
How to Set Up Your Computer to Auto-Restart After a Power Outage
May 28, 2019
Aside from malware and viruses, nothing has the potential to be more dangerous to your computer's health than power outages. Here is how to ensure your computer keeps it boot on when a power failure turns the lights off. With the approach of the turbulent summer season, it is important to know what kills the electrical lifeline, how to safeguard your digital gear from fatal reboot disease.
No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
AI Raises the Bar for Home Network Security
May 2, 2019
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about the hacking of their devices and data as they hear about more data breaches and have their own experiences with issues such as ransomware, identity theft and botnet attacks. Concerns about data security also have been shown to increase with ownership of more connected devices. Currently, U.S. broadband households own an average of 10.4 connected devices.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
The Future According to Nvidia
March 25, 2019
I spent last week at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, and I expect this will be the last year it will go by that name. The company has evolved significantly during the last decade with robotics, AI, and even complete workstations and servers taking it well beyond its GPU roots. However, Nvidia doesn't yet have an effective way to convey how all the things it is doing will change the world.
August Adds Wireless HD Video Doorbell to Smart Home Line
March 6, 2019
The August View is a wireless doorbell that can stream sharp 1440p HD video. It supports two-way audio, so you can talk to guests via an Internet connection. The View can be paired with August and Connected by August smart locks. That means you not only can speak to visitors remotely, but also can let them into your house. That functionality can be handy for accepting package deliveries.
Amazon Meshes With Eero
February 13, 2019
Amazon has scooped up mesh WiFi network maker Eero, the home network company known for making an easy-to-set-up product that can blanket a home with high-quality WiFi. "We are incredibly impressed with the Eero team and how quickly they invented a WiFi solution that makes connected devices just work," said Dave Limp, Amazon's senior vice president for devices and services.
Driving Smart Home Product Value Through AI Applications
January 29, 2019
Annual sales of all connected home devices are expected to exceed 520 million units by 2022, based on Parks Associates forecasts. Specific use cases for artificial intelligence in the smart home will help drive adoption of new devices and services as intelligent outcomes increase product value. Security use cases are the leading drivers of adoption.
Google Assistant Gets More Features, Greater Reach
January 10, 2019
Google this week debuted a slew of new capabilities for Google Assistant at CES in Las Vegas. The new Connect platform lets device manufacturers incorporate Assistant into their products easily and cost-effectively. Connect uses Google's existing smart home platform to expand to new device types, while making device setup and discovery easy for consumers.
Apple, Samsung Buddy Up in Smart TV Deal
January 8, 2019
Apple movies and music are coming to Samsung Smart TVs this spring. Samsung's 2019 Smart TVs will support iTunes Movies and TV Shows, and Apple AirPlay 2, Samsung said Sunday at CES in Las Vegas. Smart TVs made in 2018 also will be able to play Apple content via a firmware update. Apple content can be accessed from the smart TVs via an exclusive app.
2019: The Year Everything Changes
January 7, 2019
We are approaching critical mass on a number of technologies that we will see increasingly this year. This wave will start at CES, where we will see an impressive number of attempts at personal robots and AI-powered digital assistants. Most will fail, but both the failures and the few successes will set the stage for the first true mobile personal robots that will arrive in the following years.
The Smartest Tech Products of 2018
December 31, 2018
Picking a product of the year is anything but trivial because the products I cover every week range from headphones to laptops to books, cars and more. So, I thought I'd try something different this year and pick six products that each deserve the title and then name a winner that stands out from the rest. This allows me to simplify the task and get around a bit of a writer's block I've been having on this subject.
Users Rate 'Creep Factor' in New Privacy-Security Product Guide
November 16, 2018
The Mozilla Foundation is expanding a campaign begun last year to help consumers buy safe, secure connected toys and mobile gadgets this holiday season. Mozilla's 2018 edition Privacy Not Included buyers' guide offers an assessment of the privacy and security qualities of 70 products, ranging from connected teddy bears and smart speakers to game consoles and smart home gadgets.
Black Friday Deal Sprawl Grows
November 13, 2018
Although retailers are slating some outstanding deals for Black Friday, the shine of the once-feverish shopping day has diminished, as product discounts have started to appear earlier and earlier in the holiday season. Discounts formerly found exclusively on Black Friday -- and on its online equivalent, Cyber Monday -- gradually have migrated to earlier in the fall.
Amazon Has Big Plans for Alexa in Homes, Cars
September 19, 2018
Amazon will unveil eight new Alexa-powered devices for the car and home before the end of the year, according to a report. They include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget. Amazon is expected to reveal some of the devices at an event later this month. All the devices will connect easily to Alexa, and some will have the voice assistant built in.
Sonos Welcomes Devs With Open APIs
September 12, 2018
Getting Sonos' top-shelf speakers to play nice with other connected devices in the home has been challenging in the past, but that's about to change. The company has announced the Sonos Sound Platform, which includes new APIs, developer tools and documentation to make it easier for Sonos products to operate with third-party hardware and software. Sonos also announced integration with IFTTT.
Amazon's DVR Scheme May Be Taking Shape
August 24, 2018
There's a rumor in circulation that Amazon has been working on a DVR that would allow users to record live TV, and then stream that content to a smartphone and other mobile devices. Amazon aims to mount a direct challenge to DVR pioneer TiVo -- a company that was at the forefront of digital video recording 20 years ago -- according to reports. The Amazon DVR is codenamed "Frank."
Celebrating Cable TV and All the Wonders That Followed
August 17, 2018
One of my reporting beats is TV technology. In my lifetime I've seen some of the most significant advances in television, and unlike many who take it for granted, I have a very deep respect for TV. My actual birthday is in January, but Aug. 21 is a date that is much more momentous to me. Back in 1980, it was the date on which my family was first connected to cable TV.
Alexa and Cortana: Two AI Heads May Be Better Than One
August 16, 2018
Microsoft and Amazon have released a public preview of the integration of their Cortana and Alexa voice assistants. Cortana will be available on amazon Echo devices, while Alexa will be available on Windows 10 devices and on Harman Kardon Invoke speakers. "Our ongoing goal has been to make Cortana your intelligent assistant, wherever you need assistance," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
At-Home Eldercare Goes High Tech
August 11, 2018
The call came in less than an hour before the 8 a.m. shift was scheduled to start: A family emergency meant the regular caregiver for an elderly client couldn't make her shift that day, so a replacement caregiver was needed ASAP. Homewatch CareGivers of San Juan Capistrano had to quickly send a substitute from its pool of licensed, trained and security-bonded caregivers.
Galaxy Note9 Is Front and Center in Samsung's Connected World
August 10, 2018
Samsung unveiled its much-anticipated Galaxy Note9 Thursday at its Unpacked event in New York City. The company made several other announcements as well, as it presented its vision for a seamlessly connected world. "We are creating a galaxy of experiences that span not just devices and locations but platforms and brands," said DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Electronics, at the event.
7 Ways to Supercharge Your Netflix Experience
August 2, 2018
We've all been there: scrolling through a seemingly never-ending carousel of shows and movies available on Netflix, trying to find the one thing we might want to sit down and enjoy. Except we often end up spending more time looking for something to kick back and view than actually watching the thing itself. But fear not! You too can optimize your Netflix viewing experience.
Lenovo Smart Display Shows Loads of Potential
July 27, 2018
Lenovo's Smart Display with Google Assistant has hit the market. There are two versions of the device, 8-inch and 10-inch, both with full HD screens, and priced at $200 and $250 respectively. "The cost is significantly below an iPad mini and it offers far more functionality than just a digital picture frame or a Bluetooth speaker," said Alan Lepofsky, principal analyst at Constellation Research.
New Roku Speakers Offer Sophisticated Audio for Smart TVs
July 17, 2018
Roku has earned a reputation for making streaming TV products that are easy to set up and use, and that deliver above-average quality at affordable prices -- and that's the approach it has taken with its new Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The company unveiled the speakers on Monday, and expects to start shipping them in October, when they will sell for $199.99.
How Smart Should a Home Be?
July 12, 2018
One of the loudest buzzes in the Internet of Things is around smart homes. Vendors have rushed to connect everything imaginable within a house, including lights, appliances, entertainment systems, windows, shades, door locks, ceiling fans, faucets, smoke detectors, security systems, furniture -- basically anything with a battery or power cord now can be connected.
Apple May Go All-In With Audio
June 26, 2018
Apple plans to expand its audio product line next year with new AirPods, HomePods and possibly studio-quality over-the-ear headphones. The new generation of AirPods will feature noise cancellation, be water resistant, and have greater range, according to a report citing people familiar with the developments. Apple's plans reflect an expanded role for audio in the company's future.
Fire Cubes, Home Theater Beams, and X-ray Cases
June 21, 2018
Amazon's latest gambit for taking over your living room is the Fire TV Cube. It works in much the same way as the Fire TV stick, but with the added impact this time around of stuffing in a smart speaker with the familiar tones of the Alexa voice assistant. You can use it to play whatever you want to see in up to 4K resolution from various streaming services.
The IoT's Perplexing Security Problems
June 19, 2018
Worldwide IoT spending will total nearly $773 billion this year, IDC has predicted. The IoT will sustain a compound annual growth rate of 14.4 percent, and spending will hit $1.1 trillion by 2021, according to the firm's forecast. Consumer IoT spending will total $62 billion this year, making it the fourth largest industry segment, after manufacturing, transportation and utilities.
Cisco, Dell, and the Race to Make a Better World
June 18, 2018
To say we live in troubled times would be an understatement. It often feels like the politicians and executives who surround us are interested only in who can tell the biggest whopper while lining their own pockets and leaving their constituents and customers to pay the bills. I recently read that the real reason Jon Stewart stepped down from The Daily Show was that he was incredibly angry all the time.
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Should government regulators force the breakup of big tech companies?
Yes -- it's the only way to restore competition.
No -- breaking them up would make them less useful to consumers.
Yes -- it would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
No -- but some regulation is needed to restrict their power.
Yes -- but only the firms that function as utilities.
No -- the government should keep its hands off and let the market decide.