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Apple, Google, and Amazon team up to build open-source smart home standard – Herald Planet

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Apple, Google and Amazon have announced that they will team up to develop an open-source smart home standard to make it easier for manufacturers to create new devices that work together.

The goal of the new project is to ensure than any smart device a consumer buys will work in their home regardless of which smartphone or voice assistant their using.

Google Nest’s VP of engineering Nik Sathe and the company’s principal engineer Grant Erickson explained how the new open-source smart home standard will benefit both developers and consumers in a blog post, saying:

  • Smart home devices are being hit with more cyberattacks than ever
  • Protecting your data in the age of smart homes
  • Smart home security: 10 hacks to protect your home from hackers

“Developers and consumers will benefit from this new universal smart home connectivity standard. For developers, it simplifies product development and reduces costs by giving them one standard for building their products. You will then have the power to choose how you want to control your homes, independent of which smart home technology you choose. Smart home devices will be compatible with various platforms, so you can choose between Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri or other platforms.”  

Project Connected Home over IP

Apple, Google and Amazon have joined forces to form a new group called Project Connected Home over IP that will also be joined by the Zigbee Alliance smart home protocol whose board members include Ikea, Samsung SmartThings and Signify, the company behind Philips Hue.

Technology from each of the three tech giants’ existing smart home systems, Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Weave, will also be contributed to the new standard and they plan on releasing an initial draft in late 2020.

Project Connected Home over IP will also work alongside existing connectivity protocols such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as opposed to trying to replace them. According to the group, devices will likely have to support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy or Thread in order to work with the new system.

The new standard will also be based around internet protocol (IP) as should be clear from its name. However, not all devices will need to be directly connected to the internet and IP will be used for sending messages from a smart home device to “another device, app, or service” with “end-to-end security and privacy”.

According to CNBC, Project Connected Home over IP will focus on physical safety devices such as smoke alarms, door locks, smart plugs, security systems and thermostats at its onset with other consumer devices coming down the line.

  • We’ve also highlighted the best VPN services

Via The Verge

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Redmi Note 10 series likely to come without a charger in the retail box – gizmochina

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Samsung started experimenting with the exclusion of accessories from the retail box of its phones started with the Galaxy Note 20 last year as it didn’t offer earphones but shipped them for free to those who requested.

The strategy seems to be gaining more traction after Apple excluded the charger a few months back from all its iPhone devices. Xiaomi followed the suit with its Mi 11, but unlike Apple, it offers an option to customers to have a charger in the box.

Redmi Note10 No Charger Tease

Now, Xiaomi’s sub-brand is expected to do the same with the upcoming Redmi K40 series smartphones, if the newly released images are to be believed. It seems that another device from the company is also expected to remove the charger from the box — Redmi Note 10.

Lu Weibing, General Manager of the Redmi brand recently posted on Weibo, asking for suggestions for the upcoming Redmi Note 10 series smartphones. In the comments, some users suggested removing the charger from the box, and to one of those comments, Lu Weibing responded by saying “message received,” which indicates that the charger won’t be included in the retail box.

Smartphone manufacturers are justifying removing the charger from the box by citing the move as “environment friendly” and claiming that most users already have a charger at home. But they ignore the fact that the charger users might have at home won’t be compatible with the latest fast charging technology and to get the advantage of that feature, they will have to purchase a new one.

While the Weibo post may hint that the Redmi Note 10 lineup could be launched soon, we don’t expect the official launch at least for a couple of months as the company is currently gearing up to launch the Redmi K40 flagship smartphone by the end of next month, after the Spring Festival in China.

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Speedrunner Completes 'Hitman 3' Dubai Level in Just Eight Seconds – HYPEBEAST

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Hitman 3 speedrunners have managed to complete one of the game’s new levels in just eight seconds.

The game officially released just five days ago, but speedrunners have already managed to pull off some pretty impressive feats, especially on completing the Dubai-based level “On Top Of The World.” So far, Swedish player Goron sits at the top with a time of just eight seconds, while three other players tie for second place with a nine-second completion time. The incredible times involved players running up the steps of the lobby as soon as the level starts, where you can shoot both your targets right after they spawn, before racing back to the level’s exit. While these record times are for the “Any %” category, even players in the “Silent Assassin” category managed to complete the level in just 16 seconds.

Hitman 3 is now available for the PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Google Stadia and PC.

Elsewhere in gaming, Microsoft has reversed its latest controversial Xbox Live price increases.


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Netflix Update to Deliver Better Audio on Android With xHE-AAC Codec – Gadgets 360

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Netflix is rolling out a new update that promises better audio quality on Android devices, including a fix for sudden volume changes, better sound in noisy environments, and better performance on slower mobile data connections. The company has implemented the Extended HE-AAC with MPEG-D DRC (xHE-AAC) audio codec on its streaming platform for Android mobile devices running Android 9 Pie and newer software. Although the technical aspects behind the change are quite complicated, the simplest way to explain the change is that Netflix is now promising “studio-quality audio” to go with its already excellent video content on Android devices.

Netflix has listed all of the changes brought about by the xHE-AAC audio codec in detail in a blog post. A key change that will make a difference to users across the world but particularly in India is the variable bitrate for audio streaming. This means that the codec will be able to adapt to the quality of the Internet connection; slower mobile data connections will see the stream scale back a bit to adjust, while maintaining some level of sound quality.

Additionally, all of this could mean that you’ll be able to watch Netflix movies and TV shows using your smartphone’s speakers — that is, without headphones — and still be able to hear dialogues and other sounds intelligibly even in noisy environments. The Netflix update will also offer a solution for the issue of sudden volume changes that often have users rushing to grab either the volume button or headphones to avoid disturbing others in the household.

The new upgrade is the latest in Netflix’s efforts to offer high-quality video and audio on its streaming platform. While some of its picture technologies such as Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos require supporting hardware and fast Internet connections to work, small tweaks such as xHE-AAC will enable improvements even at the most basic level, especially for users who rely on slower mobile data connections as is common in India.


Can Netflix force Bollywood to reinvent itself? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

For the latest tech news and reviews, follow Gadgets 360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Google News. For the latest videos on gadgets and tech, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Ali Pardiwala
Ali Pardiwala writes about audio and video devices for Gadgets 360 out of Mumbai, and has covered the industry for a decade now. Ali is a Senior Reviewer for Gadgets 360, where he has regularly written about televisions, home entertainment, and mobile gaming as well. He is a firm believer in 4K and HDR on televisions, and believes that true wireless earphones are the future of the personal audio industry. Ali is available on Twitter as @AliusPardius and on email at alip@ndtv.com, so do send in
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