The Week in Smart Home: Ikea delays launch of its smart blinds

A look back at the week that was

Ikea delays smart blinds launch

Welcome back to another edition of The Week in Smart Home, our roundup of all the going ons in the world of, well, the smart home.

This week saw Amazon's purchase of Eero becoming official, and the mesh Wi-Fi company promising to double down on privacy. It also announced that Eero will work with Amazon's WiFi Simple Setup program to make buying and setting up devices even easier.

Meanwhile Apple Music made its way to Fire TV and Ikea and Sonos teased their new affordable speaker collab.

Here's what else went down.


The Week in Smart Home: Ikea delays smart blinds launch

Ikea delays smart blinds

Yeah, Ikea was supposed to launch its Kadrilj and Fyrtur smart blinds in the US in April 2019. Originally, the blinds were going to launch and the smart portion were to be released later in the year. Now they'll be smart as soon as they launch, with Ikea confirming it delayed the release to work on firmware a little more.

As for when we can expect them, Ikea France tweeted that it could be expected in August. We don't quite know what sizes they'll be available in, but Ikea typically sells five different sizes: 100x195cm, 120x195cm, 140x195cm, 60x195cm, and 80x195cm.


The Week in Smart Home: Apple acquires a startup to improve Siri

Apple acquires machine learning company Laserlike

Apple has spent a lot of 2019 making business moves to make Siri better. Last week we learned its hiring people to collect and analyze Siri complaints, and now it's acquired machine learning company Laserlike, according to The Information.

Laserlike used machine learning to gather as much information from the web as possible and then deliver user-specific results. It would also take your interests and surface things like news you might be interested in. Once it learned your browsing habits, it could even recommend websites for you.

Laserlike's team has joined Apple's Siri team, and it's likely that they'll be used to buff Siri's search powers. One thing Siri is especially not good at right now is searching the web. It can pull up websites for you, but it can't tell you what's on them. It basically just does a Google search for you, which pales in comparison to Google Assistant's search powers (as you'd expect).

This move would seemingly make Siri more helpful at finding information on the web, and could even use all that web-based information to make more recommendations to you via Siri Suggestions.


The Week in Smart Home: Apple acquires a startup to improve Siri

Google Assistant adds smart blind support

Google Assistant technically had support for smart blinds already, but it was limited to a couple of brands. Now the company has updated its developer tools to open up that support, reports Android Police. This means you can not only open and close them, but open them by a specific amount. What a time to be alive.

This is native support too, so you won't need to ask Google Assistant to ask your chosen brand to open the blinds - it will just know. This was all nicely timed for the launch of Ikea's smart blinds, but as we've already said, they're going to take a bit more time.


The Week in Smart Home: Apple acquires a startup to improve Siri

Alexa Auto gets a boost

Alexa is already available in the car, whether it be devices like Roav Viva or by having the assistant directly built in. But now Amazon is making it easier for skill developers to customize their experiences for the road.

Amazon is opening things up so that skills can now recognize whether someone is in a car and then tailor the experience accordingly. For instance, it could use location to recommend upcoming restaurants.

It can also understand that you're on the go and limit your access to certain things. This could help skills become more useful in more scenarios, and it could also open up new skills that are built specifically for the car.

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