Amazon Device Deals: Echo Dot for $30, Kindle Paperwhite for $95, and more: There are a lot of Amazon deals to choose from. Sales on these aren't rare, but these prices are good. Check our buying guides on the best Kindles, streaming sevices, smart displays, and smart speakers for more help deciding. Target also has Amazon Devices on sale. Amazon Echo Show for $75 ($55 off) at Amazon: The Echo Show gets its own bullet point, here.
The Apple HomePod is going the way of the dodo, as the tech giant recently announced that it plans to discontinue the four-year-old product to instead focus on the smaller, more wallet-friendly HomePod Mini. The original HomePod sounded great, but was hamstrung by its hefty price tag and comparatively limited smart assistant, Siri, which doesn't offer the tremendous compatibility that standouts like Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa boast. Now that it has one foot out the door, you may be looking for a solid replacement. Never fear, as we've pulled out some great picks that can (for the most part) replace the original HomePod without skipping a beat. Here are our picks for the best alternatives to Apple's stellar-sounding smart speaker. The HomePod Mini comes loaded with Apple's smart assistant, Siri.
This photo provided by Samsung Electronics Co. on Tuesday, shows the company's BESPOKE JetBot AI vacuum cleaner. Samsung Electronics Co. on Tuesday launched a new robot vacuum cleaner with upgraded artificial intelligence (AI) solutions here as the tech giant eyes to boost home appliance sales amid the pandemic-driven stay-at-home trend. The BESPOKE JetBot AI vacuum cleaner comes in five colors at a price of 1.59 million won ($1,430). The product, which was first unveiled at the all-digital Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021, is equipped with Intel's Movidius AI solution and utilizes LiDAR and 3-D sensors to avoid objects, while cleaning hard-to-reach areas. Samsung said the vacuum cleaner has active stereo camera-type sensors that can detect any object over 1-centimeter high at up to 1 meter of distance.
Apple sold 2.4 million smart speakers in the U.S. market during first quarter of 2021, according to the market research firm Omdia, beating Google's sales by 100,000 units during the same period. The firm estimates the new Apple HomePod mini accounted for 91 percent of Apple's U.S. smart speaker sales during that time. Apple's share of smart speaker shipments in the U.S. market reached 17.8 percent during the first quarter, a 9 percent increase year over year. But Omdia estimates there were 75 million smart speakers based on Google Assistant on the market at the end of 2020, compared to just 10 million based on Apple's Siri. And Amazon dominates both of those competitors, with a current installed base of 141 million smart speakers using its Alexa voice assistant.
Apple has announced a second-generation Apple TV 4K with a new and unambigously designed Siri remote--at last, there's no more holding the remote the wrong way! The new streamer is powered by Apple's A12 Bionic processor, which will enable high frame rate HDR (high dynamic range at 60 frames per second) on streaming services that offer it. The new Siri remote, and an intriguing color-balance feature that is part of tvOS 14.5, will also be available on the first-gen Apple TV 4K as well as the Apple TV HD. One thing that hasn't changed about the new Apple TV 4K is the price: Yes, it's still a whopping $199 for the 64GB model and $179 for the 32GB version, with the updated models slated to ship in May following an April 30 pre-order date. The new Siri remote costs $59, or it can be purchased with an Apple TV HD for $149--that's about $50 higher than the most expensive 4K players from Amazon, Roku, and other competitors.
When Amazon first introduced Alexa and the Echo speaker six years ago, the idea of talking to a digital assistant wasn't totally novel. Both the iPhone and Android phones had semi-intelligent voice controls -- but with the Echo, Amazon took its first step toward making something like Alexa a constant presence in your home. Since then, Apple and Google have followed suit, and now there's a huge variety of smart speakers available at various price points. As the market exploded, the downsides of having a device that's always listening for a wake word have become increasingly apparent. They can get activated unintentionally, sending private recordings back to monolithic companies to analyze. And even at the best of times, giving more personal information to Amazon, Apple and Google can be a questionable decision. That said, all these companies have made it easier to manage how your data is used -- you can opt out of humans reviewing some of your voice queries, and it's also less complicated to manage and erase your history with various digital assistants, too. The good news is that there's never been a better time to get a smart speaker, particularly if you're a music fan.
PREORDER: Priced at just $39.99, the new Roku Express 4K streaming media player is available for preorder at Amazon and Walmart ahead of its May 16 release. You can easily spend a fat wad of cash on a fancy 4K TV. The question is, must you do the same if you want a streaming device that's up to par? Not if Roku has anything to do with it: With this week's reveal of its all-new Roku Express 4K, a powerful 4K UHD media player that comes in under $50, you don't have to break the bank to enjoy smooth wireless streaming with top-tier picture quality. It doesn't officially drop until May 16, but if you want to lock one down ahead of time, you can now preorder the Express 4K from either Amazon or Walmart for only $39.99.
Would you buy an Apple TV/HomePod Frankenstein device? According to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman, Apple has one in the works. "The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters." Read more: Who do I pay to get the'phone' removed from my iPhone? Never one to underestimate Apple's ability to take an idea that, on the face of it, seems stupid and irrational and turn it into a multibillion-dollar craze, but this feels a bit weird even for Apple.
Apple is working on a new product that combines its HomePod smart speaker with the Apple TV. The upcoming device would include a camera for video conferencing and control over smart home equipment, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with Apple's internal developments. It would also include the same functionality we've seen from Apple's existing products: streaming video and audio, gaming capabilities, and Siri support. Apple is also said to be working on another product that would combine an iPad with a HomePod speaker. Similar products have been released by Amazon and Google recently, such as the Echo Show 10 or the Google Nest Hub.
Apple is reportedly planning to come up with an impressive product that brings together its HomePod speaker, FaceTime camera and Apple TV set-top box. A recent report hinted that Apple is working on combining the HomePod speaker with the AppleTV. The technology will come with the FaceTime camera for video conferencing through a connected TV set, according to Bloomberg. With this ambitious smart-home device, users can enjoy watching videos and playing games like when they are using an Apple TV. They can also play music and use Siri, Apple's smart assistant, and have an experience that's similar to what Apple's smart speaker can deliver, sources told Bloomberg.