Items tagged with smart speaker

It should not surprise anyone that Samsung is planning to enter the smart speaker market with a product of its own, one that is powered by its Bixby digital assistant. Smart speakers are in high demand, thanks in large part to Amazon and what it has been able to do with its Alexa-powered Echo products. Others have followed suit, including Google, Microsoft, and Apple. Samsung will join the fray within the next few months. People briefed on Samsung's plans told Bloomberg that Samsung is aiming to launch a smart speaker powered by Bixby in the first half of 2018. Samsung will be going up against... Read more...
What was supposed to be a temporary workaround that was doled out to Google Home Mini smart speaker owners has now turned permanent, effectively disabling a key feature of the device. Users can no longer activate the speaker's Google Assistant by tapping on the unit's touch panel. Following the latest update, the only way to engage the artificial intelligence technology is to say, "Okay Google" or "Hey Google." Google initially disabled the touch-to-activate feature ahead of the smart speaker's global launch in response to a glitch discovered by reviewers. Under normal circumstances, Google Home... Read more...
It seems that Google is taking another page from Amazon and prepping a smart speaker with a built-in display. Amazon already offers such a thing—the Echo Show, which ups the ante from Amazon's other Echo products by allowing users to make video calls and see content on the screen, as opposed to just hearing it. Google's answer, codenmaed "Manhattan," would offer similar functionality. The smart home speaker market is bristling with competitors trying to replicate the success that Amazon has had with its Echo line. Google is among them—it launched its voice-activated Google Home smart speaker last... Read more...
Bigger is better, right? When it comes to smartphones, larger screens have definitely won over the majority of consumers (save for the iPhone SE holdouts), but Facebook might be looking to go “big” in a completely different arena. A new report suggests that Facebook is working on a new smart speaker that will incorporate a display that will make the Amazon Echo Show’s 7-inch screen look puny in comparison. Facebook’s device would allegedly feature a massive 15-inch display, which makes us think that the actual “speaker” portion may be more of an afterthought. The device would incorporate touch... Read more...
Most people do not think of a smart speaker being a potentially life saving gadget, but with the ability to dial up the police in emergencies, there is the potential for such items to serve as much more than just an entertainment gadget that can relay the weather and fire up playlists. That is the case for a woman and her daughter who were house-sitting in Tejaras, New Mexico last week. While house-sitting, an argument broke out between the woman and her boyfriend, Eduardo Barros, which turned physical, according to Deputy Felicia Romero, a spokesperson for the Bernalilo County Sheriff Department.... Read more...
It looks as though Google is trying to unload any remaining Pixel XL handsets it still has before launching its next generation of Pixel phones. Or the Mountain View company finds itself in a giving mood. Either way, you can score a Google Home smart speaker for free with the purchase of a Pixel XL smartphone, though you will have to act fast—the offer is good while supplies last.The Google Home speaker is a $129 value. It is similar to Amazon's Echo products, in that it listens for a wake phrase ("OK Google") and can respond to various commands. The speaker's built-in Google Assistant can provide... Read more...
By the numbers, Apple's bread and butter is still the iPhone, which accounted for more than $33 billion of its $52.9 billion in revenue during the second quarter of 2017. That is all well and good, but having a diversified portfolio of products could help Apple get by on a rainy day, should that day ever come, and one sector the company is reportedly expanding into is the smart home speaker market. This could happen as soon as this summer.Citing people who are supposedly familiar with Apple's plans, Bloomberg says Apple might debut its Amazon Echo rival its annual developer conference (WWDC) in... Read more...
Launching a successful technology product is sometimes all about timing. That was certainly the case when Amazon came out Echo two and a half years ago. The proliferation of increasingly affordable Internet of Things (IoT) products had started to bring smart home functionality into the mainstream, and with every modern smartphone wielding a digital assistant of some sort, Amazon figured (correctly) the market was ripe for a smart home speaker. Hence the Echo was born. Now going on three years later, Amazon is still dominating the smart speaker market. That is according to a new study, which pegs... Read more...
Amazon and Google are duking it out in the smart home speaker market, the former with its Alexa-enabled Echo products and the latter with its Google Home device, but this is not a two-horse race. As the market grows, so does the competition. Harman Kardon has taken notice and is partnering with Microsoft to offer a smart speaker of its own, one that is powered by Cortana. According to a new teaser page on Harman Kardon's website, it will introduce its Invoke smart speaker powered by Cortana sometime this fall. The voice-controller speaker will work similarly to the competition, allowing users to... Read more...
Smart home products are gaining in popularity, and companies like Amazon and Google want to the ones powering the experience. Here's the thing—if you're buying into Google's ecosystem, you might yourself with multiple devices, even in the same room. For example, you might buy a Google Home smart speaker for voice commands and a Google Wifi mesh router for Internet connectivity. They'll work together, buy why not combine them into a single product?That's exactly what Google is considering. A paywalled report in The Information has it on some kind of authority that Google is thinking about "a version... Read more...
If sharing is caring, then Amazon cares an awful lot about Lenovo, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that is building a version of Echo...with Amazon's blessing. Lenovo is calling its Echo clone Smart Assistant and like Echo it is powered by Amazon's Alexa digital assistant. That means users will be able to do all the same things they already can with Echo, but with a competing smart speaker that adds a bit of style to the Echo's cylindrical design. Obviously Lenovo and Amazon came to some kind of licensing agreement here, one that Amazon feels is worth the risk of cannibalizing sales of its... Read more...
Police are hoping that audio captured from an Amazon Echo smart speaker can help shed light on a murder investigation in Bentonville, Arkansas. The device belongs to James Andrew Bates, who was arrested and charged with first-degree murder after the victim, Victor Collins, was found dead in Bates' hot tub at his residence. Police determined the cause of death to be strangulation followed by drowning. Bates and Collins had been drinking and watching football with two other friends the night the alleged murder took place. As the night went on, one of the friends left the residence while the other... Read more...
The Wynn hotel and casino in Las Vegas is going high tech by equipping all 4,748 rooms with an Amazon Echo smart speaker. Wynn Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn likened the hands-free speaker to having a personal butler, saying that in all the years he has been in the business he's never seen a better implementation of technology designed to make the user experience more seamless. He might be right, but having an Internet-connected speaker in every room also challenges the notion that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, as the popular phrase goes. "As we have moved through the years, technology has... Read more...
Google Home is Google's answer to the Amazon Echo, both of which are smart home speakers that will happily play music and perform a plethora of other voice-activated tasks. You can think of these things as intelligent hubs for smartly connected homes equipped with a range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, but happens if they break down out of warranty? Good news, folks—like Echo, a teardown analysis suggests that servicing Google Home isn't all that difficult. The teardown fanatics at iFixIt already put Echo on the operating table and, post surgery, awarded the smart speaker a 7 out of 10 Repairability... Read more...