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Amazon's motorized Echo Show 10 goes on sale February 25th

Engadget

Back at its fall hardware event last year, Amazon announced the Echo Show 10. And now it finally has a release date. You'll be able to pick the company's latest smart display on February 25th for $250. In case you need a refresher, the Echo Show 10 is one of Amazon's strangest devices to date. It features a rotating base and a computer vision algorithm that allows its 10-inch screen to reposition itself and face you head-on wherever you are in a room.


Tasker's Android phone automation connects with Google Assistant

Engadget

People have long used Tasker to take care of repetitive tasks on their Android device, or to customize its features based on things like whether they're at home or at the office. Now the app's features are a little easier to use since you can trigger them via Google Assistant. XDA points out a post by the developer on Reddit where he points out the currently available triggers, which you can use to run your favorite automations by name. Tasker is an incredibly powerful utility, but it can be a bit complex and intimidating, and voice control could be the difference in making it usable on a regular basis around your home. If you have the Google Play Pass subscription then access is free, and there's also a seven day trial available, otherwise it costs $3.49 in the Play Store.


Smart displays are stealing the show from smart speakers

ZDNet

Resembling a sawed-off section of stovepipe in black or PVC in white, the original Amazon Echo was the anti-smartphone. It operated tethered to an outlet, it was communal. And it was pre-pandemically touch-free if you didn't care about muting its microphone. Unbound by a display, it inspired voice-driven variants that ranged in size from tiny rings to giant rigs. We've hand-picked 11 smart displays that will satisfy a range of wants and needs.


Here's how to get an Echo Dot for just $10 when you buy a Fire TV Edition smart TV

Mashable

SAVE $39.99: Now through Feb. 7 at 8:55 p.m. PST, you can enter the code FTV2021 during checkout to get a 4th-gen Echo Dot for just $10 (normally $49.99) with the purchase of any Insignia or Toshiba Fire TV Edition smart TV from Amazon. Owning a smart TV but not a smart speaker is like having Mario but not Luigi, or Hall but not Oates, or a Wendy's Frosty but not a large order of French fries. Each of those entities can technically exist on their own, but they're much better as duos. Pair a smart TV and speaker and you open up a whole new world of extra functionality where you can use voice commands to boot up the next episode of your current binge-watch, adjust the display's volume, and search for different actors and genres. Conveniently, Amazon is running a promotion now through Feb. 7 at 8:55 p.m. PST where you can score the new 4th-gen Echo Dot for only $10 when you buy certain Fire TV Edition smart TVs.


Qualcomm aims to consolidate auto systems, expands GM, Amazon Alexa partnerships

ZDNet

Qualcomm on Tuesday outlined a broad strategy to advance its Snapdragon platform in the auto industry as it aims to expand in the cockpit as well as a bevy of subsystems. The Qualcomm playbook for the automotive industry rhymes with its plans for IoT, artificial intelligence and compute. That strategy revolves around using 5G and the Internet of everything to consolidate compute platforms. In an event dubbed Automotive Redefined, Qualcomm outlined a new software defined architecture called E/E (electronic/electrical) that aims to put its platforms in everything from the cockpit to autonomous driving to sensors to electric charging infrastructure. As automobiles become more connected via 5G enabled C-V2X technology, Qualcomm ultimately sees cars as the "ultimate mobility platform" with new experiences updated over the air.


Amazon's Alexa Guard Plus security subscription comes to the US

Engadget

Amazon's Alexa Guard Plus subscription service is now live in the US. The company unveiled Guard Plus back in September as a paid option for those who want the extra features that come with the premium version of its free Guard service. While the basic Guard feature can already turn Echo smart speakers and displays into home security devices, its premium version takes things a step further by giving subscribers hands-free access to emergency services and giving Alexa the power to deter intruders from breaking in. Customers who pay for a subscription will be able to ask Alexa to call Emergency Helpline for them to request medical, fire or police assistance. The service also gives Alexa the capability to detect sounds of activity in the house if its residents are away and to sound a siren from Echo devices if it does. Alexa could also play the sounds of dogs barking from the speakers if connected outdoor security cameras detect motion outside the door.


Sony WH-1000XM4 review: Bose-beating noise cancelling headphones

The Guardian

Sony's top of the line noise-cancelling headphones have long had a winning formula and the latest edition has a much-requested addition – multiple device connectivity – to make them the best of class. The WH-1000XM4 have an RRP of £350 and on initial inspection little has changed for the fourth edition of the 1000X line, with its understated design. The high-quality plastic body is well made and lightweight at 254g but doesn't feel as premium as some metal or carbon fibre competitors that weigh more than 300g. They are some of the lightest-feeling headphones you can buy, matching the longstanding comfort kings, the Bose QC35 II. The ear cups are well padded with a gentle, even pressure on the side of your head while a soft leatherette headband sits on your dome.


The best deals we found this week: $40 off Google's Pixel 4a 5G and more

Engadget

This week brought a return of some holiday sale prices, plus a few deals that are even better than those we saw late last year. Google's Pixel 4a 5G fell to a new record-low price, while the 8th-generation iPad remains on sale for $299. If you want to up your smart-home game, August's WiFi smart lock is more than $65 off and some Beats headphones are 50 percent off, too. Here are the best deals from this week that you can still get today. One of Google's newest smartphones, the Pixel 4a 5G is down to $459, or $40 off its normal price.


Go completely hands-free with Amazon's Alexa-enabled Echo Buds

Mashable

If you're still using an old pair of wired earbuds in 2021, it's time to trade them in for a pair that will actually make your life more convenient. Wireless earbuds are less hassle, perfect for workouts (achieve those fitness resolutions you set), and many of them are voice assistant enabled, meaning you'll be able to ask your headphones to set timers, respond to text messages, choose your music, and more. Amazon's Echo Buds check all the boxes of high-quality sound with helpful features that'll keep you hands-free, and as of Jan. 22, you can grab them for a 31% discount -- just $89.99. The Echo Buds boast high-quality sound and top-tier Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology to reduce any background noise that might be in your environment. Get some work done even if your kids are screaming, or listen to your favorite podcast on a busy street without all the interruption, thanks to the in-ear design.


Google's new Guest Mode for smart speakers is a privacy must

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Google is giving users a new way to take charge over their privacy when using its smart speakers and displays. The new security feature, known as Guest Mode, keeps your personal data confidential while still allowing others to get the most out of Google Assistant--and it's already available on your Google smart speaker. Guest Mode is a new privacy feature for Google smart speakers that, when enabled, doesn't store assistant activity and audio recordings, or provide personalized results. The new feature, announced on Jan. 13, is ready for use on Google speakers and displays like the Google Nest Mini and Nest Hub Max. To turn it on, say, "Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode."