Seemingly out of nowhere, Microsoft announced yesterday via YouTube that Johnson Controls had “reinvented the thermostat” and teased its new “GLAS” thermostat in a lifestyle-focused video showcasing the device’s features and beauty.
The iPhone as the “Ultimate Digital Device” as coined by Steve Jobs in 2007 became much, much more than even he could have predicted. Today, the iPhone (and modern smartphones) has powerful apps, voice control, proximity automation, the list goes on. And all of those features, based in a hand-held device, have largely solved the decades-old challenges of creating a (real) smart home.
The rumor mill ground to a halt and the long wait ended this morning, actually this afternoon, as Apple officially unveiled the HomePod: its high-end audio and smart speaker for the home.
Google continues its mission of organizing the world’s information, and then some. The search giant's AI efforts continue to pay dividends with its Google Assistant platform, now appearing on many more devices, including iOS. Now you'll be able to turn off your toaster from your Google Home, or from the middle of Iceland.
As previewed at CES 2017 and shown to Smarter Home Life at the Philips Hue Suite at the Aria in Las Vegas, Philips released pricing details, pre-order and in-store availability information today on the new Hue ceiling and table lamps, plus the new Hue White Ambiance candle bulb.
The highly-anticipated (and ridiculously leaked) Ecobee4 smart Wi-Fi thermostat launched this past week. The overall design and features of the new thermostat remain the same from the Ecobee3, and the Ecobee4 comes with a remote temperature and occupancy sensor just like its predecessor. But wait, there’s more: Ecobee4 doesn’t just “work with” Amazon’s Alexa, she’s built right into the device.
In the “good old days” of home automation, buttons were everywhere. You couldn’t escape them. This was especially true before the early touchscreen controllers hit the market from companies like AMX and Crestron. Today, smartphone apps and voice control have seemingly taken over control of everything in the modern smarter home, but is that really a better experience?
Samsung surprised no one this week with the launch of the overly-anticipated Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones at its Unpacked event, featuring the much-rumored Bixby digital assistant. Most citizens of planet Earth have been eagerly waiting for another virtual assistant to use, since the four existing platforms of Siri, Cortana, Alexa and the Google Assistant just didn’t give everyone enough choice.
Last fall, the Google Assistant debuted on the Google Home smart speaker and the Google Pixel smartphone. Initially, the only things that Google Assistant could help with were SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue and IFTTT. Since the launch, Google has slowly added a few more, such as support for Belkin WeMo and Honeywell. But this week, an entire dozen (not a baker’s dozen) of new integrations were added to the Google Assistant.
Ever since late December 2016 with the dual announcements by LIFX and Sylvania about their HomeKit-enabled, no-hub-required smart bulbs, many HomeKit enthusiasts have been patiently (ok, probably impatiently) waiting to see which one would ship first. As it turns out, they were both “one-upped” by a company that most of us have never heard of.