Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo or Echo Dot can be used to control smart home products such as the Ring Alarm Kit. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from USA TODAY's newsroom and any business incentives. Prime Day is a great opportunity to find money-saving deals on smart home products that can be controlled using Amazon Alexa on your Echo device. From smart doorbells to pressure cookers, here are the best Alexa-compatible Prime Day deals of 2019.
Not all voice assistants can handle the same requests. We put Siri, Alexa and Google to the test. As privacy concerns loom large over smart speakers, a new investigation has found that Google's smart speakers might infringe on individual privacy more than buyers realize. Even when Google Home smart speakers aren't activated, the speakers are eavesdropping closely, often to private, intimate conversations, a report by Dutch broadcaster VRT has uncovered. Recordings found by VRT contain startling content: Couples' quarrels that may have potentially resulted in domestic violence, explicit conversations in the bedroom, men searching for pornography, confidential business calls, and talks with children.
If you own a home, there's a good chance you're working on some kind of fix-up project right about now. Americans spend more than $400 billion a year on residential renovations and repairs, according to a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University -- and June is one of the busiest times of the year for upgrades. Whether you're fed up with a leaky washing machine, or trying to figure out which neighbor's dog is using your lawn as a personal porta-potty, here are a handful of impressive, new AI-powered gadgets that can do most of the thinking -- and even some of the heavy lifting -- for you. Amazon Prime Day 2019: How to prepare for this year's big sale Whirlpool Smart Front Load Laundry Pair uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automatically manage both laundry soap and fabric softener for up to 40 loads on a single fill-up. Short of hiring a maid to do your laundry -- we can always dream! -- Whirlpool's Smart Front Load Laundry Pair (starting at $1,499 for each) is like a stain-fighting magical genie.
At CES, LG announced that its 2019 ThinQ AI TVs would support Amazon Alexa, and now the voice assistant has arrived in 14 countries. On top of Google's Assistant, you'll be able to use it on any of the ThinQ AI 4K models including NanoCell and OLED models. If you own one, you'll be able to access numerous Alexa Skills, ask questions, control smart home devices and more, without needing an Echo or other Alexa devices as before As with any Alexa device, you can string together a series of commands using Alexa routines. For instance, you can get the traffic, weather and your agenda for the day by saying, "Alexa, start my morning." You can also listen to music, audio books and other content, and get all the latest Alexa updates and features.
Chatterbox is a build-it-yourself, program-it-yourself smart speaker that teaches kids how to program a voice-based AI system. The company is able to ensure complete privacy because it is using Mycroft, an open-source voice assistant that is not always listening, not collecting any data, and not advertising. In addition, the product is fully compliant with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is what the Federal Trade Commission uses to regulate governing online services directed at children under 13 years of age. The company announced recently that it would be launching a Kickstarter campaign on April 30th, and will ship to consumers in schools in December 2019, with a suggested retail price of $179. We've honed in on privacy, safety, and accessibility because our mission is to provide the healthiest and safest alternative computing platform for children.
Sure, Siri can open Netflix for you and search for a George Clooney movie, but only if you spring $179 to $199 for the Apple TV accessory streamer. Now, Apple's personal assistant can turn on the TV, change the channel and find a specific TV show, on certain newer TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG. It's part of a radical rethink on Apple's part to bring Apple outside of the ecosystem, and onto mainstream television sets. Samsung pushed out Apple's AirPlay features on new smart TVs that began shipping May 13. AirPlay lets you mirror what's on your device.
After months of beta testing, Sonos is nearly ready to roll out Google Assistant to its Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers. In today's quarterly earnings letter to shareholders, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence confirmed that the company is planning to launch Assistant next week. The functionality will launch in the US initially, "with more markets to come over the next few months," said Spence. "This feature will truly elevate the customer experience and marks the first time that consumers will be able to buy a single smart speaker and get to choose which voice assistant they want to use. We think giving consumers choice is always the right decision, and we anticipate this philosophy will be adopted in the industry over time," he said.
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.
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.
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.