Welcome to another week in smart home, where we outline some of the top stories of the week – and some killer deals – all in one place.
This week has seen a more big players enter the smart home race, and it seems like everyone wants to get involved. But it looks like Facebook may have to miss the boat for now, as the ongoing controversy about its role in election malpractices continues. Let’s see what happened this week.
Foxconn's $866m smart home switch on
Foxconn may not be a household name, but anyone who follows tech will recognise it as the manufacturer in chief of Apple’s phones and tablets. Well, a subsidiary of the company, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, has just forked out $866 million for Belkin.
Belkin has been around in the networking game since the get-go, owns Linksys and Wemo – and has been having a resurgence since the smart home started making networking cool again. They're big on smart plugs as well as mesh network systems. So cool, in fact, that Foxconn has decided it wants a piece of the action.
"FIT is excited to acquire Belkin and its capabilities in the premium consumer products space," Sidney Lu, CEO of FIT, said in a statement. "Integrating Belkin's best-in-class capabilities and solutions into FIT, we expect to enrich our portfolio of premium consumer products and accelerate our penetration into the smart home."
Welcome to the party.
JennAir goes smart…and leathery
Whirlpool has been showing off its new wares in New York this week, and it included some pretty techy appliances. Its new range of smart fridges, freezers and ovens, in the JennAir range, all feature fine-tuning via an app – and crucially, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Works with Nest support. That means you can fine tune temperatures of your chillers and turn on the oven remotely.
But the new JennAir range is even smarter than that. Built-in sensors will detect the load inside the fridge and alter temperatures accordingly, it will talk to Nest to drop the temperature when you turn the oven on – and each appliance has some serious tech inside, such as the JennAir Trifecta Wash System – a dishwasher to you and me – which boasts pressurized wash arms and alternating wash action. Oh and they do a fridge made of Italian leather. There’s no pricing yet – but gonna bet they’re not cheap.
Facebook smart speaker on hold
We were getting fairly psyched for the Facebook smart speaker, but according to a Bloomberg report, it seems the company has shelved plans. That’s not entirely surprising: launching an always-listening living room smart speaker when you’re in the midst of a data security storm that has the potential to rip Facebook apart may not be the best idea.
That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, however. The pair of devices mooted – 15-inch screened Amazon Echo Show-style speakers designed for video calling – weren’t due for a release until late 2018 anyway. We just won’t see them, as expected, at the F8 conference on 1 May.
Deals of the week
US: Etekcity 4 Pack Voltson Wi-Fi Smart Plugs – $49.99 save $35
US: Amazon Echo Show – $159, save $70
UK: Hive Easter deals – 20% off on most products
UK: Amazon Echo Dot smart speaker - £35 save £15.