Tech News

Nest CEO steps down as the company joins Google's home division

July 17, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


According to CNET, Nest has announced today that Marwan Fawaz will no longer be its CEO. As part of his departure, Nest will now be folded into Google’s home and living room products team. In a joint interview with Fawaz, Rishi Chandra, vice president of product management for Google’s home and living room products, said that the combination would make it easier for Google to integrate some of its machine learning technology and artificial intelligence into Nest products.

This move comes six months after Nest merged with Google’s hardware division. Nest co-founder Matt Rogers left soon after as well. Now, Nest will live under Google’s home devices (like the Home smart speakers) umbrella, which is led by Chandra. “This is the natural evolution,” he said to CNET. “We thought, let’s connect these things and build experiences that we really couldn’t do before.”

According to CNET, Fawaz will stay on at Google as an executive adviser, and that the Nest brand will stick around. CNET also reports that his exit came after an internal push for leadership change.

Tech News

Wirecutter's best Amazon Prime Day deals: the PM edition

July 17, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions. that support its work. Read Wirecutter’s continuously updated list of Prime Day deals here.

DJI Spark Fly More Combo

Street price: $550; deal price: $500

A solid $50 discount on a great starter drone, this discounted price extends to all colors.

The DJI Spark Fly More Combo is the budget pick in our guide to the best drones. Mike Perlman wrote, “it has all the important features you need from a video drone: 1080p video recording, image and flight stabilization, collision-avoidance technology, and an included controller, and smart-flight modes like ActiveTrack (tracks and follows a subject) and gesture controls all come standard.”

Dyson V8 Absolute

Street price: $450; deal price: $365

This matches the best price we’ve seen on a similar new model, the V8 Animal. While we sometimes see great $300 deals on refurb models, you’ll be hard pressed to do better on a new model.

The Dyson V8 Absolute is the upgrade pick in our guide to the best cordless stick vacuum. Liam McCabe and Michelle Ma wrote, “the very best cordless vacuum cleaner, with more attachments, a longer battery life, and slightly stronger suction than our main pick.”

Bonavita BV382510V 1.0L Gooseneck Kettle

Street price: $65; deal price: $45

A new low by nearly $10 on our runner-up pick for best electric kettle and top pick for pour-over coffee.

Michael Sullivan, Winnie Yang, and Tim Barribeau wrote, “We recommend this precise-aim gooseneck kettle for anyone preparing pour-over coffee, or for tea lovers who will geek out over its spot-on temperature accuracy.”

TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch

Street price: $35; deal price: $26

Although this product tends to experience a lot of price fluctuations we would estimate the street price to be around $35, and the drop to $26 is a really solid discount.

The TP-Link Smart Wi-Fi Light Switch is the budget pick in our guide to the best in-wall wireless light switch and dimmer. This is the least expensive stand-alone model we tested.

iRobot Roomba 671

Street price: $350; deal price: $230

Although we’re changing our runner-up pick, this is still a solid deal and the lowest price we’ve seen on this variant of our runner-up pick in our guide to the best robot vacuum. Great for pet hair and Wi-Fi enabled, this is a great price to pick up a good robot vacuum.

Crucial MX500 250GB

Street price: $73; deal price: $60

The price of the 250GB version has been slowly declining over the past months with a new low of $65 just recently. When you take this SSD to checkout your final price will be $55 before tax, the best price we’ve ever seen and nice discount from a street price around $73.

The Crucial MX500 is the top pick in our

Tech News

GE's Alexa microwave cooks when you scan a barcode

July 17, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

GE Appliances

Want to know just how connected even a relatively ordinary microwave has become? Just ask GE Appliances. The brand has unveiled the Smart Countertop Microwave with Scan-to-Cook, which touts both Alexa voice control compatibility and its namesake scanning feature to speed up your culinary duties. The Alexa support is fairly self explanatory (you can use an Alexa device to add time or stop cooking), but Scan-to-Cook could be particularly helpful if you hate interpreting instructions on food boxes. You just have to scan a barcode on the packaging with a mobile app and it’ll choose the appropriate time and power levels. In other words, you shouldn’t risk ruining your macaroni the first time you nuke it.

There are more than 3,000 meal items in the microwave’s database to start (including frozen, refrigerated and shelf-safe foods), but GE Appliances is promising an expanded catalog over time.

Beyond that, the main allure is the price. While this isn’t the lowest-cost microwave you’ll find at a $139 regular price, it’s arguably smarter than machines costing considerably more — you might rarely need to touch the buttons on the microwave itself to set cooking times. And while there’s the hidden cost of an Alexa device to get the most value out of your purchase, that might not be an issue if you act quickly. GE Appliances is offering a “limited time” deal that bundles an Echo Dot speaker with the microwave for $125, making it a fairly safe choice if you were hoping to create a voice-controlled household.

Tech News

Wirecutter deals: The best Prime Day deals so far

July 16, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commissions. that support its work. Read Wirecutter’s continuously updated list of Prime Day deals here.

TCL 32S305 32″ TV

Street price: $150; Deal price: $130

This is just slightly above the lowest price we’ve seen on this TV, though only by a couple of dollars.

The TCL Roku TV (32-inch) is the top pick in our guide to the best 32-Inch TV. Chris Heinonen wrote, “The TCL Roku has a decent picture right out of the box, integrated Roku functions, and one more HDMI port than other small TVs.”

Kindle Paperwhite

Street Price: $100; Deal Price: $80

At $80, this matches the best price we’ve seen on the Paperwhite this year. That deal price was last available in April, with newer sales only dropping to $90.

The Kindle Paperwhite is our pick in our guide to the best ebook reader. Nick Guy wrote, “The 2015 Wi-Fi edition of the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader for most people thanks to stellar hardware, a massive library that frequently offers better prices than others, and a slew of services unavailable on other readers.”

Amazon Echo Dot

Street price: $45; Deal price: $30

Our affordable Echo down down to $30, matching a low we’ve seen a couple times this year, which will likely continue to be the most affordable way to expand your smart home options.

We discussed the Amazon Echo Dot in our blog post, Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini: Which Should You Get? Grant Clauser wrote, “The biggest difference between the Echo Dot and the Home Mini are the platforms that enable them to work their magic. The Echo Dot runs on Amazon’s Alexa platform, and the Home Mini runs on Google Assistant.”

Insta360 One

Street price: $300; Deal price: $240

This is the second best price we’ve seen on this recommended 360 cam, our fantastic editing features and software pick.

The Insta360 One is an also great pick in our guide to the best 360-degree camera. Geoffrey Morrison wrote, “the Insta360 One doesn’t quite have the image quality of the Theta V, but it almost makes up for it with a stellar app that lets you edit videos in lots of different ways, most interestingly by creating a square 1080p “regular” video out of your 360 content with smooth pans, subject tracking, and more.”

Sony UBP-X800 Blu-ray Player

Street price: $250; Deal price: $158

This is a deal we typically see only during deal holidays: a great drop on this 4K Blu-ray player, within $10 of deal pricing we saw during holiday season.

The Sony UBP-X800 Blu-ray Player is our pick in our guide to the best 4k Blu-ray player. Chris Heinonen wrote, “this Sony plays 4K UHD discs, offers better image quality with Blu-rays and DVDs,

Tech News

Google Assistant brings voice control to Dish Hoppers

July 9, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Dish launched Alexa support for its Hopper and Wally set-top boxes last year, so the devices can already do your bidding with just a spoken command. Now, the satellite TV provider is giving you another voice control option: one that should make you happy if you prefer Google’s AI to Amazon’s. The company’s Hopper family of receivers, all Joey clients and Wally single-tuner HD now work with Google Assistant. So long as you have an Android device, an iPhone loaded with the AI’s app or an Assistant device such as a Home speaker or a Home mini, you can navigate its channels and shows with your voice.

You can ask Assistant to play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and adjust the volume of what you’re watching. If you have no idea what to watch, you can also search for shows based on channel, title, actor and genre. Unlike Alexa, which only launched with those capabilities and gained the ability to set recordings and launch apps much later, though, Assistant can already do it all. Simply tell it to record shows (“Hey Google, record Game of Thrones on Hopper”) and fire up Netflix, YouTube or other applications when you want to. Sadly, you’re out of luck if your Dish receiver isn’t included in the list above, but if it is, then you don’t have to keep digging for that lost remote in your couch anymore. The feature is now available

Tech News

'Alexa, is football coming home?'

July 6, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

PA Wire/PA Images

You’ve gotta hand it to England’s football fans — what they lack in World Cup wins they more than make up for in boundless optimism. It’s been 52 years since the team won the World Cup, but after their unbearably tense win against Colombia earlier this week, football (or “soccer”, except not soccer) is now closer to coming home than it has been for more than half a century — and even Alexa knows it.

If you’re a Brit who’s ever been within 100 feet of a pub during an England match, the phrase “It’s coming home” will be indelibly etched into your consciousness. For the uninitiated, it’s a line from England’s official football song Three Lions, released back in 1996 for the Euro 96 football championship hosted in England. It’s like the country’s second national anthem, and fans are no longer content simply bellowing it from cars or on crowded trains as they tuck into a big bag of cans with the lads — it’s now a meme, too.

Alexa’s response to ‘is football coming home’ is 👌🏻.

— Matt Brian (@m4tt) July 6, 2018

As The Verge points out, ahead of England’s forthcoming match against Sweden, the internet is awash with “It’s coming home” memes, thanks in part to a dedicated Reddit thread (of course). From dubbed over Friends clips to scenes from The Matrix — even Alexa knows what’s up. When asked, “Alexa, is football coming home?” it replies “Fifty-two years of hurt hasn’t stopped me dreaming. I hope it doesn’t get to penalties again in the quarter final though, my circuits can’t take the stress.” Your circuits, Alexa, and the hopes and dreams of fans around the country.


— Clair Hayley Norris (@clair_norris_) July 3, 2018

What if I told you it’s coming home?

— Puppy (@puppyvybes) July 3, 2018

Even Putin knows… 👀 #ENG #WorldCup

— SportsJOE (@SportsJOE_UK) July 4, 2018

Tech News

For victims of smart home abuse, there's no easy out

July 2, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

The New York Times recently published a report that revealed a disturbing trend of harassment and domestic abuse via internet-connected devices. In addition to using them to stalk and monitor their victims, abusers are also doing things like changing door-lock codes, turning lights on and off and boosting the thermostat to unbearable heat. In short, making their victims miserable.

On the surface, this seems like a relatively straightforward problem to solve: Just change your password or unplug the devices, right? Except the issue here is two-fold. Not only are the devices sometimes solely controlled by the abuser, but oftentimes making these changes will result in even worse abuse, especially if the couple is still living together. Asking these victims to stop using the devices is like telling them to just leave their abuser; these situations are usually much more complex, and the victims could be putting their lives in danger by doing either.

“It is very hard to give broadly applicable security advice to victims of domestic abuse, because every victim has to judge how much independence they have from their abuser and whether or not taking action to will cause them to back off or spur them to even more drastic action,” said Eva Galperin, director of cybersecurity for the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

But let’s assume a scenario where there’s still some recourse. In that instance, pretty much every security expert Engadget interviewed said that the best tool one can have is an awareness of both their devices and surroundings. Everyone should know how many smart home products are in their house. If possible, they should get a unique credential and password for each household member so not one person is controlling the device. “Find out how it works, how it’s configured, how you can get into it and how they could be shut off,” said Jonathan Knudsen, a senior security strategist for Synopsys, a software and security company.

If the abusive partner has left the home and the remaining person wants to continue using the same devices — say it’s something difficult to remove like a connected doorbell or a smart thermostat — experts say they could try resetting them to factory settings. “Make sure to hard-reset the device and update the username and password,” said Sam Levin, a community specialist for Independent Security Evaluators. At DEFCON, Levin also runs the IOT Village event, which helps researchers improve the security of smart home devices. “Another countermeasure not to be overlooked would be to replace any devices since they may have been physically tampered with in such a way that they would remain compromised even after a hard reset,” he added.

As mentioned, however, changing passwords and doing a factory reset aren’t options for everyone. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for domestic abuse.

“Women can end up looking paranoid,” said Ruth Patrick, a

Tech News

T-Mobile now supports next-gen texting between carriers

June 30, 2018 — by Engadget.com0

Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

American carriers have had support for RCS’ next-generation text messaging for a while, but it typically hasn’t been very useful outside of your home network. Unless you’re with Sprint, you haven’t had that universal support needed to chat between networks. Thankfully, that support is widening ever so slightly. T-Mobile is rolling out a software update that brings RCS Universal Profile to “select” Android devices. In theory, you can participate in 100-person group chats (among other benefits) with people using Sprint and other Universal Profile-enabled providers.

The only problem: at present, the update is rolling out solely to Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge users. If you’re using a newer phone, you’re out of luck. T-Mobile has promised wider support over time, but this won’t help much if you’re a Galaxy S9 owner expecting to get the latest and greatest features. It’s a start, at least, and it does hint at a future where RCS is commonplace.

Tech News

The best smart garage-door controller

June 29, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


By Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter’s independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full article here.

After spending over 20 hours wiring and rewiring garage-door openers, opening and closing the doors with our smartphones and our voices, and controlling them through smartphone apps and home-automation routines, we found that the Chamberlain MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0301) is the best smart garage-door controller for most people. It was the easiest and quickest to install of all the controllers we tested, it’s among the simplest to set up and use, and it’s compatible with the most garage doors, thanks to the huge popularity of Chamberlain and LiftMaster products in homes across the country.

Who should get this

A smart garage-door controller is an add-on that works with your existing garage-door opener, letting you control the door from anywhere through an app on your smartphone, tablet, or computer. It does not replace your existing garage-door opener or prevent other devices that open your garage door—such as visor clips, push buttons, and keypads—from working as before.

A smart garage-door controller is an excellent security and access tool for your home, vacation home, or rental property. An estimated 71 percent of American homeowners use the garage door as the main entry point to their home, and being able to open and close it remotely is very convenient.

How we picked and tested

From left to right, the Gogogate2, Chamberlain MyQ Garage, and GoControl. Not pictured here are the Garageio and Iris controllers; the Iris is identical to the GoControl, just with the Iris logo. Photo: Jennifer Pattison Tuohy

We scoured Amazon, Google, and tech-review sites to compile a list of the smart garage-door controllers currently available. We came up with five models to test and put through their paces using four garage-door openers:

Chamberlain MyQ Garage (MYQ-G0301; Chamberlain and LiftMaster MyQ controllers are the same thing) Garageio GoControl/Linear Z-Wave Garage Door Opener Remote Controller Gogogate2 Iris Z-Wave Garage Door Controller

You’ll also find a few Bluetooth smart garage-door openers, including gLink and SecuRemote. But Bluetooth’s range is limited, so with these controllers you can control your garage door only from within or near your home, as you do with your regular garage-door remote.

All of the smart garage-door controllers we tested performed well in opening and closing the doors remotely, offered notifications if we left the door open, and allowed us to close the door through the companion app. We focused our testing on how easy each controller was to work with, both in installation and setup and in everyday use.

Not all smart garage-door controllers will work with all garage-door openers. And contrary to what you might normally expect with technology, the newer your door opener is, the less likely it is to work with the majority of replacement garage-door controllers.

Our pick

Tech News

Walmart test lets customers shop a curated, virtual apartment

June 28, 2018 — by Engadget.com0


Walmart announced this week that it’s introducing a new way to shop on its site. Starting today, customers can take a virtual shopping tour of an apartment that includes around 70 items sold by the retailer. The various products, from both national brands and Walmart’s own labels, are noted by a dot. Hover your mouse over it to see what it is and a link will take you right to its product page. You can explore the curated rooms on your computer or check it out in VR with your phone and Google Cardboard or a Samsung Gear VR headset.

Walmart has been adding a number of new services to its stores as it aims to compete with Amazon. It has been adding Pickup Towers to more locations and testing automated kiosks. It’s working with Postmates and DoorDash to provide grocery deliveries. It has also been working on a service that would let subscribers place orders via text message. The company is also reportedly in talks with Microsoft to test out its Amazon Go-like cashierless store technology.

The new virtual tour experience that Walmart is currently testing is probably not the only VR feature we’ll see from the retail giant. Earlier this year, it bought VR startup Spatialand, a firm that had already been working with Walmart’s Store No. 8 tech incubator.