Appliances & Durable Goods


UK offers government info through Alexa and Google Assistant

Engadget

You now have access to a treasure trove of government info through your smart speaker if you live in the UK. The British government has made over 12,000 pieces of Gov.uk information available through Alexa and Google Assistant, saving you the trouble of wading through official pages. Some of them are simple questions like the next bank holiday, while others are more involved questions such as obtaining a passport. Not everything is available, so you can't completely depend on a voice assistant just yet. However, there are promises of expansion.


End of an era: Soon smart speakers will outnumber tablets

ZDNet

The number of smart speakers in homes and businesses will almost double this year, and within a couple of years these chatty new devices will likely outnumber our former gadget of choice, the tablet. There will be roughly 208 million smart speakers, like Amazon's Echo and Google Home, in use around the world by the end of this year, up from 114 million last year (82.4% growth), according to a forecast from Canalys. The tech industry analyst firm predicts that smart speakers will soon overtake tablets, probably next year. Although Canalys sees rapid growth in smart speakers, it predicts a gradual decline in tablets over the period covered by the forecast. One reason for the decline in tablets may be that smart speakers are taking over some of their functions in the home, such as controlling lights or playing music.


Vizio LED 4K TV on sale: Save $600 and get a $400 gift card to Dell

Mashable

If you were less than satisfied with the way the new season of Game of Thrones looked on your TV, upgrade your setup before next week's episode airs. The Vizio P-Series Quantum 65-inch 4K HDR Smart TV gives you a home theater experience and it's on sale for $1,499.99 at Dell right now -- a savings of $600. Plus, once you check out you'll get a $400 gift card to Dell. This Vizio uses Quantum Dot Technology to create cinematic colors, giving you the brightest brights and purest blacks. The picture appears with lifelike contrast with Dolby Vision HDR inside a bezel-less design, meaning you get the most screen possible.


Smart speakers: five ways to get one on the cheap

The Guardian

Sales of smart speakers are soaring despite some people's concerns over privacy, with Amazon's Alexa leading the charge into homes in various Echo devices and Google's Home and Assistant snapping at its heels. They come in various shapes, sizes and prices, but if you just want to dip your toe into the burgeoning voice-powered world, what's the cheapest way to get Alexa or Google Assistant into your home? Voice assistants don't actually need a dedicated speaker to work. If you have a modern smartphone chances are you either already have Google Assistant, if you have an Android phone, or can install the app on an iPhone. The same goes for Amazon's Alexa, which can even be set as the default voice assistant on an Android phone.


Save up to £90 on the Eufy RoboVac robotic vacuum cleaner range

Mashable

In any busy household, you actually have to plan your cleaning schedule around your family's sleep, work, or TV-watching timetable. You would think that if you're doing the housework, then your time should take priority, but just see how that works out when you start vacuuming in the early hours of the morning. You'll definitely hear about it. If you're tired of this nonsense, then the Eufy RoboVac robotic vacuum range might be a good fit. Unlike a loud and potentially conflict-inducing manual vacuum, the Eufy RoboVac range is quiet -- even in the high suction mode.


Get a massive 86-inch LG 4K TV for 50% off and a free $350 Dell gift card

Mashable

Are you mentally and physically prepared for the three hour crucible of Avengers: Endgame? If you got your tickets before every movie theater site crashed, there's still time to catch up with a Marvel movie marathon. But do yourself a favor and just stream all your Marvel movies at home so you don't have to worry about bathroom breaks. And with that, you will need a nice giant 4K TV to make the most of your time honoring the dearly departed Loki. With help from Dell you can upgrade your living room to your own theater with a giant 86-inch LG LED 4K TV for $2,297.


Smart speaker recordings reviewed by humans

BBC News

Amazon, Apple and Google all employ staff who listen to customer voice recordings from their smart speakers and voice assistant apps. News site Bloomberg highlighted the topic after speaking to Amazon staff who "reviewed" Alexa recordings. All three companies say voice recordings are occasionally reviewed to improve speech recognition. But the reaction to the Bloomberg article suggests many customers are unaware that humans may be listening. The news site said it had spoken to seven people who reviewed audio from Amazon Echo smart speakers and the Alexa service.


Apple cuts HomePod price by $50 as smart speaker battle intensifies

USATODAY

Apple's HomePod is officially getting a bit cheaper. On Thursday Apple quietly dropped the price of its Siri-powered smart speaker to $299, a $50 drop from its original price of $349. The speaker, which was praised by critics for its sound last year but dinged on its smart capabilities, is Apple's rival to Google's Home, Amazon's Echo and the increasingly crowded field of smart speakers powered by the Google Assistant and Alexa made by the likes of Sonos, Bose and others. All three smart devices can do tasks like play music, give you the weather or set timers, HomePod, however, still lacks the ability to do more advanced functions like call an Uber or play music directly from Spotify, Google Play Music or Pandora (you can play those services off your iPhone through AirPlay). 'What music should I play?':


17 Best Deals on Laptops, 4K TVs, and More Awesome Tech

WIRED

We recently ended our week-long investigation into How We Reproduce--or, as it turns out, how we don't. In addition to covering a few forms of contraception in our fertility and pregnancy gear roundup, we also took a look at advances in male contraception and gleefully childfree forums. The good news is that if you're not spending money on baby bottles and strollers, then you have plenty left in your pocket for Dell's March Madness sale. If you've been looking for an affordable smart speaker, Amazon's Echo and Fire Tablet sale ends today. We also have a few other great bargains on some of our favorite action camera, smart TVs, and more.


Amarey A800 robot vacuum cleaner review: This budget robot vac delivers premium performance

PCWorld

Despite being nearly synonymous with iRobot's Roomba, there are a plethora of makes and models of robot vacuums. Some, like Samusung's Powerbot line, carry familiar brand names, but many come from smaller, less-recognized companies. Surprisingly, some of the best products come from the latter camp. Case in point, the A800--just one of two robot vacuums offered by Amarey, a name that probably doesn't ring any bells even among the most tech savvy. This bare-bones budget vacuum delivers a cleaning performance on par with some of our favorite vacuums from Ecovacs and Eufy for just $200.