CES: Support for Matter Helps Drive Smart Home Momentum

Matter was a big player at CES 2022. Built around the premise that smart homes need a single, unifying interface standard that makes devices “secure, reliable and seamless to use,” the Matter alliance now has more than 220 member companies, including Apple, Comcast, LG and Samsung. Amazon announced developers can add Frustration-Free Setup on Matter-certified devices using the Matter SDK, and Google declared its Fast Pair simple setup is supporting Matter. As companies build new smart products, Matter believes that users should merely plug them in to make them operational on the home network. Continue reading CES: Support for Matter Helps Drive Smart Home Momentum

Amazon Debuts 4K Fire TV Cube With Alexa-Centric Strategy

Amazon, which started shipping its Fire TV video streaming devices four years ago, is now planning the release of its 4K Fire TV Cube, which combines Fire TV capabilities with Amazon Echo and acts as a TV control center for other devices. Fire TV Cube offers built-in Alexa and was designed with a “voice first” strategy to, as Amazon Fire TV vice president of product development Sandeep Gupta said, “highlight the use of voice.” Priced at $119, Fire TV Cube is the most expensive device in the segment and the sleekest. Continue reading Amazon Debuts 4K Fire TV Cube With Alexa-Centric Strategy

Apple Installs Interactive HomeKit Experiences in 46 Stores

In an effort to help consumers better understand the benefits of Apple HomeKit products, Apple has installed interactive smart-home displays in 46 of its retail locations worldwide. Apple customers can use the Home mobile app via an Apple Watch, iPhone or iPad to perform functions such as turning on Philips Hue light bulbs and controlling Hunter ceiling fan speeds. Apple’s Home app allows users to control HomeKit-enabled smart devices from a single location (or even collectively with a single command) by tapping the screen or interacting with virtual assistant Siri. Continue reading Apple Installs Interactive HomeKit Experiences in 46 Stores

Amazon and Lenovo Discuss the Integration of Alexa into PCs

Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC manufacturer, is in discussions with Amazon about integrating Alexa into its computers and other devices. Also recently, LG decided to integrate Alexa support into its SmartThinQ Hub. These moves underscore Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos’ goal to incorporate Alexa into a wide range of electronics, to spread the company’s influence to more consumers. Other tech companies attempting to do the same are Microsoft with Cortana, Apple with Siri and Google with Assistant. Continue reading Amazon and Lenovo Discuss the Integration of Alexa into PCs

Target Display Educates Shoppers About the Connected Home

Target recently joined forces with Local Projects, the New York design studio that worked on the interactive installations of the 9/11 Museum, to build a new retail space and test lab in San Francisco that leverages interactive storytelling to help illustrate how smart products work. Open House is arranged as a 3,500-square-foot model home filled with the latest Internet-connected gadgets, from Drop’s smart thermometers and scales in the kitchen to Withings’ wireless blood pressure monitors and Sonos speakers in the bedroom. Continue reading Target Display Educates Shoppers About the Connected Home

New Universal Remote Controls All Your Smart Home Devices

While universal remotes are primarily used to control cable boxes and TVs, Cupertino-based startup NEEO is taking the idea a step further. The company claims its universal remote can control a home theater system and almost every smart device that a homeowner could imagine. The NEEO touchscreen remote works with over 30,000 Internet-connected gadgets such as the Nest, Philips Hue and others. It also uses hand recognition software to create profiles for each user. Continue reading New Universal Remote Controls All Your Smart Home Devices

Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

According to videos recently posted to YouTube, Best Buy will offer a smart home hub through a $9.99-per-month service called Peq, which is provided by the newly launched SmartHome Ventures. Ted Schremp, CEO of SmartHome Ventures, suggests that Peq makes setting up and operating home automation and security very simple. Best Buy will become the fourth major retailer to join the home automation space following Lowe’s Iris, Staples Connect and Home Depot’s deal with Wink-Quirky. Continue reading Best Buy Plans to Offer Smart Home Hub via New Peq Service

Wink App Controls Smart Devices from Different Companies

For homeowners with a variety of smart devices and appliances, operating within the Internet of Things can be complicated because many hardware makers manufacture products that do not work with devices from other companies. Wink, however, is a smartphone app that connects all of those products, from Samsung smart TVs to Philips Hue smart light bulbs. Earlier this week, Wink also launched a series of Wink-enabled devices from 15 manufacturers. Continue reading Wink App Controls Smart Devices from Different Companies