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More Digital Home Opinion

  • Opinion: Honeywell's Lyric brings geolocation to smart thermostats

    The Nest got people to look at formerly mundane appliances like a thermostat in a new way, as something that should be smarter and could stand to get better-looking too. We loved the last Honeywell Wi-Fi Smart Thermostat that we tested, but dinged its design compared to the circular elegance of the Nest.

  • Opinion: Vivint launches a "learning" home-control system

    The Nest thermostat famously created the notion of home-control gadgets that learn from and adapt to a homeowner's activity patterns. But a thermostat is limited as to what it can sense, what it can learn, and what it can control. Vivint's second-generation home-control system--Vivint Sky--uses dozens of sensors in addition to a thermostat, and it monitors and controls not just your heating and air-conditioning system, but also your home's lighting, door locks, small appliances, video cameras, and security systems.

  • Opinion: The Amazon phone's killer app could be shopping

    If we haven't already reached smartphone saturation, we're awfully close. Walk into any AT&T or Verizon Store and you'll find enough to make you dizzy, everything from cheap plastic affairs to fancy high-end offerings from the likes of Samsung, HTC, Nokia, and LG. It's a bit of a zero-sum game--and a rather cutthroat one at that.

  • Opinion: U.S. ambassador decides to get sworn in on a Kindle

    When George Washington started the tradition of swearing in on a bible, he probably couldn't have dreamed of electronic ink.

  • Opinion: Glance is an $80 wearable that puts smart notifications on your existing wristwatch

    You can stop complaining that all the world's smartwatches are too ugly to actually wear. A new $80 smart accessory called Glance puts a small selection of smartwatch-like functions on a thin slab of hardware that slides underneath the band of your existing wristwatch.

  • Opinion: Nest Protect gets a recall and a software update

    If you have a Nest Protect smoke detector, you'll want to make sure that its software is up to date. On Tuesday, Nest officially recalled 440,000 Nest Protect smoke detectors, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, because of an issue that could prevent the alarm from sounding right away in case of a fire.

  • Opinion: Would you like VR with your pizza? Chuck E. Cheese to test Oculus Rift at its restaurants

    It has been decades since I set foot inside a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant--eateries promising family fun don't really cater to gentlemen in their early 40s unaccompanied by children. So my memories of the place tend to be frozen-in-amber recollections of skee-ball machines, whack-a-mole games, and audio-animatronic animals singing along to songs about pizza.

  • Opinion: Meet Darma, the non-activity tracker you sit on

    Quantified butt. The Internet of chairs. An unactivity tracker. Jokes aside, the Darma cushion might be the smartest thing you ever sit on. Unlike your smartphone, it can't butt-dial anyone, but Darma can dial up stats about how much time you spend in a chair and how good your posture is while you're there.

  • Opinion: Skylock prevents theft while letting you share your bike

    Having a bike stolen is a terrible feeling, and in the hive of scum and villainy known as the United States, it happens 1.5 million times every year. Being able to share your bike with friends while always knowing right where it is, and getting a push notification if it's been in a crash or someone is messing with your lock--that would be pretty great. That's what Skylock thinks too.

  • Opinion: Google Glass once again on sale for all U.S. residents (this time with no time limit)

    The Explorer version of Google Glass is back on sale again--and this time Google isn't limiting purchases to a strict 24-hour period like it did in April. In a Tuesday post on its Glass Google+ page, Google explained that it's "decided to move to a more open beta," inviting anyone who lives in the U.S. to join the Explorer program "as long as we have it on hand."

  • Opinion: Clippers fans look for a hand from the crowd to buy NBA team

    Thanks to crowdfunding, we've been able to back smartwatch makers, help rock legends fund the high-resolution audio player of their dreams, and even bring a long-canceled TV show to the silver screen. So why not use the deep pockets of the crowd to buy up a share of your very own sports franchise?

  • Opinion: Dropcam expands its home security platform with Dropcam Tabs

    Dropcam Pro is one of the easiest Wi-Fi cameras to set up and use--we thought it could have helped the people in the Dexter universe avoid those pesky serial killers, or maybe just assisted the cops in catching them, with its CSI-like zoom-and-enhance feature. But even the best camera can only see so much.

  • Opinion: We asked early adopters: Why did you buy Google Glass?

    Who would leap at the chance to spend $1500 on a set of high-tech eyewear? Thanks to Google's one-day sale for Google Glass in April, we're getting a clearer picture of who wants to own Google's wearable computing device--and just what it is they find appealing about Glass.

  • Opinion: Google may integrate Wallet into Google Glass (because that's what engineers do)

    Google Glass is still a prototype product--a fuzzy vision of smartglasses in a volatile state of becoming. Anything can happen to Google Glass. Its R&D overlords can add and subtract features at whim. As well they should.

  • Opinion: LeapFrog's LeapBand activity tracker for kids actually makes sense

    When my 2-year-old runs in circles at top speed until I'm dizzy just watching, I've definitely thought about strapping my Fitbit on him to see how many steps he pitter-patters each day. So far my accessories-adverse toddler is having none of that (no hats, sunglasses, jewelry, or adornments of any kind, thank you!), but when LeapFrog started researching the wearables space, they found that most kids really love wearing the wristbands and hitting the big step goal.

  • Opinion: Hands on with LG's webOS Smart+ TVs

    Smart TVs are sometimes anything but. From setting them up to work with all your devices, to juggling remotes to switch between inputs, to the way the smart TV menus pull you entirely out of whatever you were watching, using a smart TV can make you feel kind of dumb.

  • Opinion: Sonos beta-testing an all-wireless solution for ditching the Bridge

    Sonos is pretty much the gold standard of multi-room wireless audio. Sure, the company's systems can fall on the pricey side, but the experience of using one is worth the cost--everybody we know who has one absolutely loves it.

  • Opinion: Nest working with utility companies is neither new nor evil

    There seems to be some hysteria in the air over a report on how Nest is working with utility companies to curb energy consumption. Some reports have even suggested that Nest is selling data to utility companies as a way of generating sustained profits.

  • Opinion: Amazon's Fire TV voice search to improve this summer

    When we reviewed Amazon's new Fire TV set-top box, we dinged it a bit since its marquee voice-search feature doesn't support all the streaming services present on the box. It primarily points users to Amazon's own content, of course, while also providing some results for music videos on Vevo, and some (but not all) of the content on Hulu Plus. Voice search doesn't surface anything on Netflix, which really limits its usefulness.

  • Opinion: Google Glass one-day sale ends in a sell-out (and proof that people like white frames?)

    Well, that didn't take long.

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