The week in smart home: Fake Alexa app causes trouble, and more

Plus, Philips Hue's Xmas blackout

Fake Alexa app causes trouble

Christmas is (basically) over and we're firmly in "festive limbo". The turkey is finished but there's still booze to drink and waistlines to expand. What day is it? Don't ask us. But we're pretty sure it's not yet 2019, which means there's time for the last Week in Smart Home of 2018.

You might think that Christmas week would be a quiet one in the world of the smart home, but you're forgetting that we're just days away from CES, and companies are scrambling to get ahead of the chaos. LG announced some tasty new soundbars coming in 2019, which will come with Google Assistant baked in. Meanwhile Amazon kicked off a bumper smart lighting sale.

But that certainly wasn't all. Here's what else you missed.

The week in smart home: Fake Alexa app causes trouble and more

Fake Alexa app tops App Store

Christmas means lots of people unwrapping new Alexa devices, and some enterprising scammers have been praying on new Echo owners with a fake app. The app, named 'Setup for Amazon Alexa', asks users for their IP address and device serial number.

The app has now been removed, but not before it got enough downloads to push it up into the top 60 free apps in Apple's App Store. Oddly, people who were caught out haven't reported any nefarious behavior, but still, if it's on your phone or tablet, delete it. The app you want is called 'Amazon Alexa'.

The week in smart home: Fake Alexa app causes trouble and more

Your Roomba can create Doom levels from its cleaning maps

The received wisdom of all technology is that if it can run Doom, someone will make it happen. The latest gadget to get involved is Roomba thanks to game developer Rich Whitehouse, who's found a way to transform the robo vacuum's cleaning maps into Doom levels. The cleverly named 'Doomba' software converts image data from the cleaning map and turns it into a playable Doom map. It's in no way useful, but when has that stopped anyone?

"I soon realized that there was a clear opportunity to serve the Dark Lord by conceiving a plethora of unholy algorithms in service to one of the finest works ever created in his name," Whitehouse told Polygon. Simultaneously, I would be able to unleash a truly terrible pun to plague humankind. Now, the fruit of my labor is born."

The week in smart home: Fake Alexa app causes trouble and more

Philips Hue goes down for the holidays

It wasn't just copious Alexa devices being opened over the holidays - apparently a lot of Philips Hue lights were also gifted for Christmas, so many that it caused a service outage. Users were unable to login into their accounts and connect their new Hue lights.

On 27 December the company tweeted that it was due to "a lot of new activations". The issues was soon resolved, but it goes to show that Amazon and Nest aren't the only ones to experience blackouts.


This week's best deals

Philips Hue Premium 2-Pack Starter Kit - Save $40
Philips Hue Premium 2-Pack Starter Kit - Save $40
Amazon
$109.99
Lifx smart light bulb - Save $20
Lifx smart light bulb - Save $20
Amazon
$39.99
Google Home Mini two-pack - Save $29
Google Home Mini two-pack - Save $29
Walmart
$49
Google Nest Hub - Save $20
Google Nest Hub - Save $20
Walmart
$129

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