Smart home apps are mostly MIA from Windows 10, but that doesn't mean you can't join in the fun. Even if you don't use Android or iOS, you can set up a full-featured smart home and feel like you're living in the future. It requires only one word: Alexa. Amazon's artificial intelligence platform that's baked into the Echo and other products is all you really need. With an Amazon Echo and your Windows 10 PC, you have all the infrastructure that's required to get going. Why the Amazon Echo and Alexa? To be clear, this isn't a complete workaround, and there will be products you just can't set up to work with Alexa without using an iPhone or an Android device. But the benefit Alexa has over something such as Apple's HomeKit is that you don't need a mobile device to interact with it. HomeKit still requires an app, but Alexa does not. You just talk to it (or "her," if you prefer). And honestly, it's a much better way to interact with your connected home than tapping on a screen. And $49 for … [Read more...] about How to set up a smart home using Windows 10 and Amazon Echo
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If you missed anyone on your holiday list, need to up your home tech game before the parties start, or are just ready to treat yourself, TechBargains is here for you. SEE ALSO: Get a WeMo mini smart plug for only $20 today Today's top deals include sales and coupon codes on laptops, 4K TVs, gaming bundles, wireless headphones, smart home devices, vacuums, and more. Our favorite deals are below, and read on for a breakdown of each category. Featured Deals Lenovo Yoga 910 Intel Core i7-7500U 13.9" 1080p 2-in-1 Touch Star Wars Laptop — $949.99 at Lenovo (use code HOLIDAY50 — list price $1299.99)Dell XPS 8930 Special Edition Intel Core i5-8400 6-Core Tower Gaming Desktop w/ 256GB M.2 SSD — $849.99 at Dell (use code TUESDAY15 — list price $999.99)Amazon Echo Dot Bluetooth Speaker w/ Alexa + Smart Plug — $34.99 at Amazon (list price $89.98)2x Ring Stick Up Cam Security Camera + 2x Solar Panel Bundle — $299 at Amazon (list price $456)Luma Home … [Read more...] about Get the lowest price on a Wi-Fi Mesh Router for $150, Amazon Echo with bonus Smart Plug for $35, and more
I am the proud human of two Alexas: Alexa the Older and Alexa the Younger. Alexa the Older arrived in May of last year. (Has it really been less than a year?) Alexa the Younger arrived in an Amazon box of joy a mere two months later. We have grown to love our two Alexas, even though they have slightly different personalities. Alexa the Younger is slower. She doesn't seem to understand us quite as well, and we often have to repeat commands even though she says "OK" the first time. Alexa the Older is dedicated, trying hard to meet our needs even in the face of hardship, like when the Internet goes down for 20 minutes. And yet, we're quite fond of the Alexa sisters. Alexa the Older stands guard in our media room/great room/living room while Alexa the Younger wakes us gently each morning and lives in the bedroom (where she feels safer, and is put under less stress, the poor thing). We have an open-ish floor plan. The main room, kitchen, and little breakfast nook don't have walls … [Read more...] about Dueling Alexas: With the Amazon Echo Tap and Dot, Alexa needs more names
2014 was a big year for home entertainment tech. 4K UHD TVs became less expensive, more sources of 4K UHD content emerged, the first OLED TV under $4,000 debuted, the first 4K OLED televisions arrived, LED/LCD TVs took a huge step forward in picture quality as plasmas were officially retired, everyone got in line to take on Sonos with their own take on a multi-room wireless speaker system, and Dolby’s groundbreaking new cinema surround sound tech, Atmos, made its way into the home.Whew! That’s a lot for one year, and it’s fair to wonder if 2015 could be as exciting. But from where we sit, we think 2015 is going to be another landmark year for the gadgets that entertain us at home and on the go. 2015 will be the year of more: more 4K everything, more price drops, and more bang for our buck. Here’s what you can expect in the coming year.More 4K UHD TVs and fewer 1080p TVsWe know it‘s hard to accept: You just got your 1080p TV and … [Read more...] about Affordable 4K, Quantum Dots, and all the other awesome TV trends coming in 2015
Today The Echo Nest announced it has integrated APIs with Spotify, which might not sound like much to the average user, but it’s music to a developer’s ears. You can think of The Echo Nest sort of like Spotify’s secret sauce; it’s an algorithm-based music recommendation engine that powers Spotify Radio.“It’s literally based on the science of the song,” The Echo Nest’s director of communications and operations Elissa Barrett told us late last year. “If you pick a track, [The Echo Nest] will then pick similar tracks based on the beat, the tempo, the pitch, the era, the genre […] Basically, we’ve mapped the Spotify universe of song IDs to The Echo Nest’s ID structure, through our API, therefore any song in the Spotify catalogue generates a radio stream of relevant songs.”And now that Spotify is solidifying itself as a music app platform, The Echo Nest will be a part of that creative process. “The Echo Nest … [Read more...] about Spotify and The Echo Nest integrate APIs – did you hear that, developers?
Amazon’s next Echo speaker might look radically different from any that have come before it — and it could launch as soon as Tuesday.According to The Wall Street Journal, Amazon will take the wraps off its new flagship Echo on Tuesday. It will support video and voice-based calls in a manner similar to Microsoft’s Skype, and retail in June for more than $200.Voice calling might not be ready in time for launch. It, along with a multi-Echo intercom feature that Amazon employees have reportedly been testing for “months,” will roll out “in stages.”The Wall Street Journal’s scoop follows the leak of Amazon’s new Echo in early May. On Friday, AFTVnews pulled a thumbnail of an unannounced device from Amazon’s servers — a touchscreen Echo. Just a few hours later, another leak posted by Evan Blass of Venturebeat suggested that new Echo will come in black and white color variants.The image … [Read more...] about Amazon’s touchscreen Echo may launch as soon as Tuesday, for more than $200
Amazon has been teasing us with Black Friday deals since the start of the month, but today the Internet giant is giving the world a bigger sneak peek at its official holiday sales. Prime members with an Alexa device will have access to the deals as early November 22. Otherwise, deals will kick off on November 24 unless otherwise noted. Digital DealsStarting today, Amazon is offering 3 months of its Music Unlimited on-demand music service for 99 cents. Music Unlimited gives you access to tens of millions of songs. Traditionally, Amazon only offers a 30-day trial. Subsequent months are $7.99/month for Prime members or $9.99/month for non-Prime members. new release movies and TV shows. These videos will be available to rent or purchase via Amazon Video. Kindle Store will also see big deals on Black Friday. Select eBooks will be marked up to 80 percent off. Amazon DevicesBlack Friday wouldn't be the same without steep discounts on Amazon's latest hardware. Devices that will be on … [Read more...] about Amazon Black Friday 2017: Here Are the Best Early Deals
Apple unveiled the company's long awaited competitor to the Amazon Echo smart speaker at the company's WWDC conference on Monday. Like the Echo and the Google Home, the HomePod is an always-listening speaker that plays music, answers questions and controls your smart home. It's due out this December in the US, UK and Australia and will cost a lofty $349. (UK and Australian prices weren't announced, but that converts to roughly £270 or AU$465.) That's expensive -- the Echo's only $180 and the Home's even cheaper at $130. Apple's upcoming HomePod has to sound better than both the Amazon Echo and the Google Home. That's the expectation the company set, and the HomePod has to follow through for it to outdo the highly competent competition. Apple avoided making a direct comparison with the wildly successful Echo, instead pitching the HomePod as a hybrid of Echo-like smarts and a Sonos-quality speaker. Marketing VP Phil Schiller promised it would "rock the … [Read more...] about Apple HomePod vs. Amazon Echo vs. Google Home
Editors' note, May 18, 2017: Since I updated this piece a month ago, both Google and Amazon have announced major upgrades to their respective smart speakers. The piece has been updated accordingly, though these latest changes won't be heavily factored in until they launch and we have time to test them. Given the surprising success of the Amazon Echo -- a smart speaker that responds to your voice commands, plays music, and controls your smart home -- competition was inevitable. With Google Home entering the arena, complete with the backing of the company's ubiquitous search engine, the Echo's place on top is no longer secure.Like the Echo, the Home functions as a source of entertainment, a personal assistant and a smart-home controller. When we reviewed the Home back in November, it couldn't keep up with the Echo on the latter two fronts. The Home put up a valiant fight, but the Echo had a two-year head start and many more skills at its disposal. At CES this January, the Echo continued … [Read more...] about Google Home vs. Amazon Echo, round 2: Google strikes back
The cylindrical Amazon Echo ($179) looks like an unassuming Bluetooth speaker, but it's so much more. It has Alexa, a built-in personal assistant that listens to your queries and speaks, and can do such things as stream a particular Spotify playlist, turn on your connected lights, add items to your shopping list, order an Uber or just get traffic info. The only buttons on the black device are on top: one for power and one for microphone.With compact measurements (9.3 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches, 1.7 pounds), the Echo fits most anywhere, as long as a wall plug is nearby. Inside, you'll find a 2.5-inch woofer and a 2-inch tweeter that projects 360-degree sound. If you want something truly portable, there's also the $99 Amazon Tap with Alexa inside and the $49 Echo Dot, which connects to your existing speakers.Here's everything you need to know about the Amazon Echo. Q.: What does the Amazon Echo do? The Amazon Echo can play music, read the news or an e-book, report the weather and traffic … [Read more...] about What is the Amazon Echo?