Items tagged with smart speaker

There are rumblings from one of Apple's suppliers that the company is supposedly planning to release a new HomePod model with Beats branding attached to it. You might recall that Apple acquired Beats for a whopping $3.2 billion just over four years ago, though for the most part is hasn't really integrated the popular brand into its other products and services. Perhaps that's about to change. We're taking the rumor with a dose of skepticism, though as the story goes, the new HomePod model with Beats branding is to be priced at $199. That's significantly cheaper than Apple's current HomePod, which... Read more...
Facebook is in the midst the most ferocious user backlash it has ever faced after its data privacy policies (or lack there of) have come to light. Much of the user outrage focuses on Cambridge Analytica's capturing and use of data on a huge number of Facebook users. Facebook is also facing ire over allegedly harvesting Android call and SMS data for years, something Facebook denies. Because of all this negative reaction from users, people familiar with the matter claim that the social media giant has decided to skip the launch of any new home products at its developer conference in May. The new... Read more...
Google has carved out a significant chunk of the smart home speaker market with its Home speaker line, which now accounts for nearly a third of all installed home automation devices, according to data and analysis by Consumer Intelligence Researcher Partners (CIRP). Just as importantly, Google has managed to shrink the gap in the market place between its speakers and Amazon's Echo line. No small feat, Amazon essentially created the smart home speaker market when it unexpectedly launched its first Echo product over two and a half years ago. It was an immediate success, and continues to be today.... Read more...
It hasn't exactly been smooth sailing for Apple's HomePod AI smart speaker, but it appears that calmer waters lie ahead. Apple announced today that the HomePod will be available in stores beginning February 9th. The HomePod was originally supposed to launch in December 2017, but Apple couldn't meet that original deadline. “We can’t wait for people to experience HomePod, Apple’s breakthrough wireless speaker for the home, but we need a little more time before it’s ready for our customers," said Apple in a mid-November statement. "We’ll start shipping in the US, UK and... Read more...
When Apple first announced its HomePod smart speaker in June of last year, the company said it would be available to purchase starting in December, initially in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Well, December has come and gone and we are not into early 2018, which is the new launch time frame listed on the HomePod's product page. To go along with that, the FCC has made public documents Apple filed with the agency, suggesting a release is imminent. The documents are actually dated September 27, but have just now been released. That being the case, the hardware likely has not... Read more...
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...
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