This week brought good sales on Apple and Amazon devices, as well as some intriguing gaming deals. The Apple Watch Series 5 dropped to $299 again after WWDC kicked off earlier this week and Amazon still has some of its Echo speakers on sale (including the handy Echo Dot with clock). You can grab some extra storage for your Nintendo Switch for less at Newegg and Steam's Summer Sale has just begun. Here are the best deals we found this week that you can still get today. The latest Apple Watch has dropped to its lowest price ever again at Amazon and Walmart.
Google wants to make the Assistant more powerful, and is announcing today a slew of developer-centric updates that will make it easier to build tools for the digital helper. Three new features in particular are most intriguing: Home Storage, Continuous Match mode and AMP support on smart displays. Google is also releasing a new web-based console and SDK that will make it easier for developers to create for Assistant. These announcements are the largest since the company acquired conversational user experience platform Dialogflow in 2016, according to director of product management Payam Shodjai. With Home Storage, programmers can tap into a pool of information shared by devices in the same household (or, in developer speak, connected on the home graph).
Amazon launched Echo Auto in the US back in 2018, designed to bring Alexa voice commands to vehicles where they wouldn't normally be an option. Now, finally, it's arrived in the UK and Canada, as well as Germany, Italy and Spain (it was previously also available in Australia and India). The device uses your phone's cellular connection via a Bluetooth link, letting you talk to Alexa in the usual way -- asking about the weather or to play audiobooks, for example -- as well as carrying out journey-orientated tasks, such as turning on your houselights as you pull into your driveway. Many newer cars already include some kind of voice assistant as standard -- drivers of vehicles without have also had other Alexa-based options to choose from, such as Garmin's Speak series and Anker's Roav Viva. However, a more'official' Amazon Alexa device could be the thing to convince those that haven't yet adopted the technology, even if it's a couple of years in the making.
Best Buy is making it easier than usual to outfit your home with smart displays. It's running a sale on Amazon's second-generation, 10-inch Echo Show that offers two units for the price of one, or $230. This could give you an easy way to video chat with distant family, a recipe guide in the kitchen or a bedside video viewer. The display quality of the second-gen model is merely average, but that big screen still makes it ideal for catching up on shows or checking information from afar. And more importantly, this Echo Show has surprisingly good sound quality -- in some ways, this is a quality Echo speaker that just happens to have a display.
Ever wished you could poll the entire household about what they want for dinner, even when everyone's in a different room? Thanks to a newly updated Alexa feature, you can do just that. Alexa's aptly named "Drop in" feature, which lets you connect to a nearby Echo speaker or display and have a two-way conversation with whoever's on the other end, now lets you drop in on all your household Echo devices at the same time, perfect for holding a group chat. On a related note, you can now set some of all of your Alexa reminders to sound off on all your Echo devices at once. For those who are new to Alexa, "Drop in" is a feature that essentially turns your Echo device into an intercom, allowing you to connect to another Echo speaker or display on your home network and either listen in or hold a two-way conversation.
In 2017, Amazon unveiled one of its most unusual Echo-branded smart devices in the form of the fashion-focused Echo Look. Three years later, the Look is being discontinued and they will all stop working on July 24. The Echo Look was launched in April 2017, but the $200 device could only be purchased by way of invitation until that restriction lifted in June the following year. The Alexa-enabled camera was designed to act as your personal stylist, working in sync with the Look's companion app and offering suggestions on what to wear while also allowing you to share photos and videos on social media. As The Verge reports, the Echo Look becomes a useless device on July 24.
We hope you wren't leaning on Amazon's Echo Look for fashion advice -- you'll have to find an alternative soon. Simply put, the company no longer feels the Look is necessary given recent changes. Now that Style by Alexa features have found their way into Alexa devices and the Amazon Shopping app, "it's time to wind down" the Look, a spokesperson said. You can read the complete statement below. You aren't completely stranded if the smart camera was a mainstay of your morning routine.
If you're just starting out with smart speakers or want multiple tech-savvy clocks around the house, this might be the deal you're looking for. You can buy two Echo Show 5 smart displays for the price of one at Amazon for $90 if you enter the code SHOW52PK at checkout. Best Buy is offering a similar deal if you add two of the screens to your cart. This is a daily deal at Best Buy, so you'll likely need to act quickly at both sites if you want to take advantage of the sale. A previous deal dropped the price of an individual unit down to $50, but this is a steeper overall discount if you're in the market for two.
I read a pretty heartbreaking story this week about a young girl named Alexa who has reportedly been bullied at school. According to NBC San Diego, Alexa's classmates have been treating her just like an Amazon Echo, asking "Alexa" the weather and treating her like a "servant." Unfortunately, at least for that young girl, the name "Alexa" has become pretty much synonymous with the Amazon Echo and is often used interchangeably with other smart home devices. My guess is that Amazon won't change the name to something else. However, there is a way for you to change the name.
Alphabet is using its dominance in the search and advertising spaces -- and its massive size -- to find its next billion-dollar business. From healthcare to smart cities to banking, here are 10 industries the tech giant is targeting. With growing threats from its big tech peers Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, Alphabet's drive to disrupt has become more urgent than ever before. The conglomerate is leveraging the power of its first moats -- search and advertising -- and its massive scale to find its next billion-dollar businesses. To protect its current profits and grow more broadly, Alphabet is edging its way into industries adjacent to the ones where it has already found success and entering new spaces entirely to find opportunities for disruption. Evidence of Alphabet's efforts is showing up in several major industries. For example, the company is using artificial intelligence to understand the causes of diseases like diabetes and cancer and how to treat them. Those learnings feed into community health projects that serve the public, and also help Alphabet's effort to build smart cities. Elsewhere, Alphabet is using its scale to build a better virtual assistant and own the consumer electronics software layer. It's also leveraging that scale to build a new kind of Google Pay-operated checking account. In this report, we examine how Alphabet and its subsidiaries are currently working to disrupt 10 major industries -- from electronics to healthcare to transportation to banking -- and what else might be on the horizon. Within the world of consumer electronics, Alphabet has already found dominance with one product: Android. Mobile operating system market share globally is controlled by the Linux-based OS that Google acquired in 2005 to fend off Microsoft and Windows Mobile. Today, however, Alphabet's consumer electronics strategy is being driven by its work in artificial intelligence. Google is building some of its own hardware under the Made by Google line -- including the Pixel smartphone, the Chromebook, and the Google Home -- but the company is doing more important work on hardware-agnostic software products like Google Assistant (which is even available on iOS).