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Best 19 smart home assistant-ready devices for 2020 – NBC News

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Turn on and control your TV with Logitech Harmony, Amazon Fire Stick and Google Chromecast

5. Logitech Harmony Elite with Harmony Hub

I like to watch TV while I make lunch. I used to have to walk into the living room, turn the TV on, wait for it to start up and then pick a show before I could start making lunch in the kitchen. With the Logitech Harmony Hub, I can just tell my smart assistant to turn the TV on and control it with my voice. The Harmony Hub comes on its own or with the universal Elite Remote Control to let you simplify your remote situation. I can ask it to switch the input to a smart TV hub and then use that through a smart assistant.

6. Amazon Fire Stick

If I was using the Amazon Fire Stick, I’d be asking Alexa to turn on my latest show.

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7. Google Chromecast

If I was using the Google Chromecast, I’d ask the Google smart assistant for it.

With either of the above options (or additional alternative like the Apple TV, Roku TV and others), I’d be choosing the day’s streaming content all while I’m making a sandwich.

Smart thermostats from Google and ecobee allow you to control, schedule or just tweak the temperature

8. ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

The biggest draw of a smart thermostat like the Google Nest Learning Thermostat or Ecobee SmartThermostat is automation: If you program it right, you’ll rarely have to touch it again. It can automatically change the temperature in the morning when you leave for work, in the evening when you come home, at night when you go to sleep and on a mix of these while you’re off on vacation or out of town. Such automation can also go a long way in saving you on your utility bills since you can keep heaters or the A/C off when you don’t need them working.

But sometimes you still need to adjust the thermostat by a degree or two in the moment, and I can’t tell you how convenient it is to do so with a simple voice command — especially when the lone, wall-mounted thermostat is on the other side of the house from you or you just don’t feel like getting up. Bonus: The Ecobee SmartThermostat comes with an Alexa-ready microphone built-in so you don’t actually need a smart assistant for it to work.

9. Google Nest Smart Thermostat E

Google Nest’s more budget-friendly option is another good way to get started on your smart home temperature control.

10. ecobee3 lite Smart Thermostat

And the similarly priced ecobee3 lite is your budget-friendly and Alexa-centric option.

Clean your home — and maintain it — with a smart vacuum from Roomba, Eufy and others

11. iRobot Roomba 675 Robot Vacuum With Wi-Fi Connectivity

I always dreamed of having a robot butler and the Roomba brings me one step closer to my imaginary utopia. If you spring for one of the Wi-Fi connected models — like the Roomba 675 or Roomba 960 — you’ll be able to start a cleaning job with a simple voice command. You’ll also also be able to easily find it if it goes missing under a bed or couch or tell it to “go home” — that is, return to it charging dock — when company unexpectedly arrives at the door.

12. eufy BoostIQ RoboVac 35C Robot Vacuum Cleaner With Wi-Fi

Some relatively budget-friendly vacuums like the Eufy RoboVac 35C also support Alexa commands as well.

Turn any appliance into a (somewhat) smart device with smart plugs from Belkin, AUKEY and more

13. Belkin WeMo Mini Smart Plug

When there isn’t a smart version of the product you want — or you already have a perfectly good non-smart version at home — a smart plug can help bridge the gap. With a simple voice command, you can turn on a lamp, fountain, space heater, or any other plug-in device. Belkin’s WeMo Mini is one of the more popular, brand-name products.

14. AUKEY Wi-Fi Smart Plug 2-Pack

AUKEY has a solid budget-friendly option for about half the price of the Belkin WeMo.

Smart home devices: endless possibilities for your doorknobs, yard, music and more

I could go on forever. These days, just about any smart home device worth its salt will support Alexa and Google Assistant Whatever you’re looking to control with your voice, there’s probably something out there for you

15. Smart locks

16. Smart speakers

17. Smart sprinkler systems

18. Smart garage door openers

19. Smart security cameras

Look for legitimate tags like “Works with Alexa” or “Works with Google Assistant” labels on the box (or product page), and you should be good to go.

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Economy

Nigeria launches eNaira amid hope, scepticism – and plenty of uncertainty

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Nigeria on Monday became the first African nation to launch a digital currency – the eNaira – a move its leaders said will expand access to banking, enable more remittances and even grow the economy by billions of dollars.

Africa’s most populous nation joins the Bahamas, the first to launch a general purpose central bank digital currency, known as the Sand Dollar, in October. China has ongoing trials and Switzerland and the Bank of France have announced Europe’s first cross-border experiment.

But experts and cryptocurrency users in the continent’s biggest economy say the fact that there are more questions than answers regarding the eNaira – and a large amount of worry over the consistency of Central Bank (CBN) rules – means the government faces a tough path to make the eNaira a success.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said during Monday’s launch that there had been “overwhelming interest and encouraging response”, adding that 33 banks, 2,000 customers and 120 merchants had already registered successfully with the platform, which is available via an app on Apple and Android.

Some 200 million nairas’ worth of eNaira, which will maintain parity with the traditional currency, has been issued to financial institutions, he said. President Muhammadu Buhari said use of the currency could grow the economy by $29 billion over ten years, enable direct government welfare payments and even increase the tax base.

Nigeria’s young, tech-savvy population has eagerly adopted digital currencies. Cryptocurrency use has grown quickly despite a Central Bank ban in February on banks and financial institutions dealing in or facilitating transactions in them.

Nigeria ranked seventh in the 2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index compiled by research firm Chainalysis. Official digital currencies, unlike crytocurrencies such as bitcoin, are backed and controlled by the central bank.

But some of what drove Nigeria’s enthusiastic adoption of cryptocurrencies was the Central Bank’s own shifting rules regarding accessing foreign currency – and the naira’s plunging value on parallel markets that saw savings shrink.

“It’s not clear looking at the CBN’s body of work that Nigerians would be comfortable using this,” said Ikemesit Effiong, head of research with Lagos-based consultancy SBM Intelligence.

He added that the CBN had not yet made clear whether users could transfer eNaira back into traditional naira, whether they could use cryptocurrency to buy or sell the eNaira or even whether there would be physical locations to use and transfer eNaira, or whether it would be entirely digital.

“There are more questions than answers, even though we are looking at the launch of this digital currency. The fact that this is the case so late in the game is concerning,” he told Reuters.

The CBN issued a nine-page FAQ, which said eNaira users would access it via the phone app, internet banking or a code dialled from mobile phones, but it did not address transferability or other questions raised by Effiong.

Only three local television channels were allowed to attend the launch, and officials took no questions.

For 28-year-old Ebuka Joseph, an art dealer and enthusiastic cryptocurrency user in the commercial capital, Lagos, the uncertainty means he will stay on the sidelines, for now.

His concerns centre on whether he would easily be able to change eNaira back into normal currency.

“I have had issues trusting the central bank … because they have already banned crypto,” he told Reuters. “I want to hear from people, see people use it, before I venture into it.”

 

(Reporting by Libby George; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou returns to work in Shenzhen, after extradition drama – Global Times

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Meng Wanzhou, CFO of Huawei Technologies, returned to work at the tech giant’s headquarters in Shenzhen on Monday after almost three years fighting extradition to the U.S. in Canada, state-backed Chinese newspaper Global Times reported.

Meng, the daughter of Huawei’s founder Ren Zhengfei, completed three weeks of quarantine last week after returning to the southern city of Shenzhen where a crowd of well-wishers chanting patriotic slogans awaited her at the airport.

“Over the last three years, although we have struggled, we have overcome obstacles and our team has fought with more and more courage,” she said in a speech at an internal company event that was circulated online.

The extradition drama had been a central source of discord between Beijing and Washington, with Chinese officials signalling that the case had to be dropped to help end a diplomatic stalemate.

Meng was detained in December 2018 in Vancouver after a New York court issued an arrest warrant, saying she tried to cover up attempts by Huawei-linked companies to sell equipment to Iran in breach of U.S. sanctions.

She was allowed to go home after reaching an agreement https://www.reuters.com/technology/huawei-cfo-meng-appear-court-expected-reach-agreement-with-us-source-2021-09-24 with U.S. prosecutors last month to end a bank fraud case against her.

 

(Reporting by David Kirton; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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Here’s what Google says about Pixel 6 features coming to older Pixels – Android Authority

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Eric Zeman / Android Authority

TL;DR

  • Google has told Android Authority that it aims to bring as many Pixel 6 features to older Pixels as possible.
  • The company added that porting some features will require “additional technical investments.”

One thing that you can count on with new Pixel flagship launches is that at least some of the newest features will come to older Pixel phones. We saw that with the astrophotography mode, Cinematic Pan option, and Call Screening, to name a few.

The Pixel 6 range is a slighty different case though, as Google is leaning heavily on its in-house Tensor processor for some of these features. These features include Live Translate, Motion Mode, and more. Now, Google has revealed whether some Pixel 6 features could come to older devices.

“Some technologies will require additional technical investments, such as Live Translate, as our on-device language models are engineered to run on Pixel 6’s proprietary Tensor chip on TPU (which older Pixel models don’t have),” the representative continued.

“We currently do not have a firm date for rollout to older Pixels at this point in time, but stay tuned for future announcements.”

In other words, it seems like Google is well aware that it will need to work on finding ways to port some of the latest Pixel 6 features to the older Pixels. But we’re guessing that the transition to custom silicon could mean some new features simply don’t make it to older Pixels. Here’s hoping Google proves us wrong.

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