Hogar Controls has unveiled the Google Assistant-powered Milo Smart Home Speaker with a built-in home hub that supports the Z-Wave Plus and Zigbee home automation standards. The versatile device can get you the news and weather from Google's AI, stream music across Bluetooth and WiFi, and control your blinds, lights, locks, thermostats and other devices via the hub.
One way to build out a smart home is to buy lots of components--sensors, smart bulbs, security cameras, speakers, and whatnot--and connect them all to a hub that helps them communicate with each other and with you, via your smartphone. But let's be real: That can involve spending a lot of money and investing a lot of time. If your wants and needs are simpler, just a few relatively inexpensive products will deliver most of the conveniences a high-end smart home can deliver, and on a much more modest budget. And if you make sure those smart home products are compatible with each other, you'll build a solid foundation that you can expand over time. The key is knowing which smart home products don't depend on a smart home hub to operate.
Amazon's smart devices are among the most popular on the market, especially if you're looking for easy home control. Today, Amazon is making them even more attractive with some deep discounts: The Echo Plus is down to $100 and comes with a free Hue bulbRemove non-product link, a savings of more than $80, while the Echo Show is $100 off its $230 list priceRemove non-product link--the lowest prices we've seen since the Prime Day blowout. The Echo Plus is a hands-free smart speaker built to serve as a hub for your smart home setup. It looks just like a metal version of the classic Echo, but it has a built-in ZigBee smart home hub for simple and direct setup of compatible lights, locks, plugs, and in-wall switches. You'll be able to connect a wide variety of devices, from TVs to light bulbs without additional hubs, and control them all using your voice.
At a surprise event in Seattle, Amazon announced updates to a few Echo-branded devices and unveiled what seems like a dozen entirely new Alexa products. From a new microwave to a wall clock (not joking), Amazon introduced basically everything but the kitchen sink during its event. Almost all these new devices come with built-in Alexa voice control, or they are designed to work with both existing and new Echo products. We've delved into all the details and have rounded up what matters most: Prices, features, and release dates. The updates include the voice-controlled Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Echo Plus, all three of which now come with sound improvements, though the new Echo Dot also comes with a redesign.
I've checked out a lot of smart light switches since I built my own smart home in 2007, but Brilliant's Brilliant Control is the most exciting lighting control I've seen since I've been able to control my lights with Amazon's Alexa. This one works with Alexa, of course--in fact, Alexa Voice Service is built in--but it also has a touchscreen; Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios; a motion sensor; an integrated camera and microphone; and it can control much more than just lights. Brilliant co-founder and CEO Aaron Emigh said he was in the midst of renovating his own home in the pre-Amazon Echo days when the inspiration for Brilliant Control struck. "I was looking at various smart home options. I wanted an a la carte option, because it suits my hackerish background.