It's the final weekend before Christmas, and we've seen a number of great last- minute deals to stuff our stockings. Like a number of deals on Echo devices. Plus, we saw Amazon launch Alexa's new Guard feature and learned that Alexa has played 60 years worth of Baby Shark in 2018.
But that's not all that happened this week. We've assembled a number of stories below for your perusal. Of course, if you need even more yummy news content you can head to our dedicated news section.
Samsung adding Google Assistant to its TVs
Samsung's 2018 TVs gained the power of Bixby, though you couldn't actually do much. You can control video playback and, well, that's it - you can't even open apps. But now Samsung is planning to supplement Bixby with Google Assistant, reports Variety.
Samsung is planning to announce the move at CES in January, and Assistant will be available in Samsung's 2019 line of smart TVs. Another big new feature - though in high end models - will be a new sound tuning feature.
Samsung's TVs will be able to tune music and sound to better fit the environment the TV is in. It'll work just like how the HomePod scans your room and adjusts itself for better sound in that room. Google Assistant and better sound will be the two big new features Samsung will try to sell.
Samsung adding QLED to its Frame and Serif TVs
If you ask Samsung about its Google Assistant integration, it'll simply point you to its big known announcement for CES: The company is adding QLED to its Frame and Serif TVs. Both of these TVs are aimed at being super fancy TVs that integrate with your home.
The Frame TV blends into your wall while the Serif comes with four legs and looks more like fancy furniture than a TV. QLED is Samsung's custom version of OLED that uses quantum dots to give screens a brighter look, deeper contrast and a more saturated look.
QLED is quickly taking over Samsung's more mainstream TVs, and as the company is looking to aim the Frame and Serif as the ultimate "lifestyle TVs" this is a good move. We'll get our first look at the new QLED versions at CES.
Smart speakers are most popular in the living room
If Amazon, Google and Apple had their way, you'd put a smart speaker in every room in your home - even your bathroom. But the fact of the matter is that people tend to buy one or two smart speakers and place them in places where they think they're the most useful.
You'd think most smart speakers would go in the kitchen, since they're wonderful kitchen timers, but a new study from Adobe Analytics jettisons that theory. It turns out smart speakers are most popular in the living room, with 63% of smart speaker owners saying they put one there. Next up is the bedroom at 42% and then, finally, is the kitchen at 37%. Elsewhere in the home, 22% of people put a smart speaker in their office, 13% put one in their bathroom and 5% put them outside.
It's not clear how many of these folks live in apartments or condominiums, which tend to have living rooms and kitchens so close together that a smart speaker could easily serve both areas at once.
Adobe Analytics group manager Heidi Besik says there's growth for developers to build skills and games for smart speakers that multiple people can use at the same time. In fact, 20% of those surveyed say they use smart speakers for games - with 64% of those respondents say they play a game every day. News is even more popular, with 46% of folks saying they check the news with their smart speakers, and 77% of news listeners saying they use the feature every day.
BT debuts a new smart home camera
UK broadband provider BT has been wading into the smart home waters recently, and it's dipped its foot in with a brand new smart home cam, creatively called the Smart Home Cam. The ¬£60 cam does live streaming at 720p, has multiple IR sensors for night vision, motion detection with support for snapshots and free storage for 30 days.
There's also the ability to record video to your phone, SD card support (up to 32GB) for motion detected video, two-way audio and it can be mounted on the wall. It's been out now for the past week, and it's not the last of BT's smart home push. There'll be three more products coming in 2019.
Philips Hue gets a new power loss feature
The cool thing about smart lights is that you can customize the warmth and brightness of the glow to best fit your preferences. You can tinker and safe and schedule and never think about it again - until your power goes out, then you have to do it all over again.
No longer, as Philips has rolled out a new feature that will save your previous state and return to it if you have a power loss. You just need to hit up your settings and go to Power-on behavior to set it up.
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