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Crowdfunding fail: Mycroft Mark II open source smart display is no longer shipping to Kickstarter backers

The Mycroft Mark II is designed to be an open source, privacy-focused alternative to smart speakers and smart displays powered by voice assistant software from Amazon, Apple, or Google. The developers of the open source Mycroft voice assistant launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for the Mark II in 2018 and, after a series of setbacks, […]

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Mycroft Mark II privacy-focused smart display begins shipping (nearly four years late)

The Mycroft Mark II is a smart display with a 4.3 inch screen, stereo 5 watt speakers, dual microphones with noise cancellation features and a 5MP camera for video calls. It supports WiFi, Bluetooth, and Ethernet connections, and responds to voice and touch input. But unlike most other smart speakers and displays, the Mycroft Mark […]

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Amazon Show Mode turns some Lenovo laptops into Alexa smart displays

A handful of PC makers have been shipping computers with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant software pre-installed for a few years. Now Lenovo is going a step further and adding support for Amazon’s Show Mode software, effectively letting you use some recent Lenovo Yoga, IdeaPad, and ThinkPad laptops as smart displays. The upshot is that if […]

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Lilbits: Apple leaks, NVIDIA’s ARM CPUs, and PC shipments are (way) up

Every quarter a handful of analysts release reports letting us know if shipments of devices like PCs, smartphones, tablets, and smart home devices are rising, falling, or flat. Sometimes this data gives us a good idea of current and future trends. This year, I’m not really so sure what it tells us. With that in […]

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Most of Amazon tablets and smart speakers are on sale (plus some other stuff)

Amazon is running a sale on all of its Fire tablets, most of its Echo smart speakers and displays, and a grab bag of other items including the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and the Anker Nebula Fire TV Edition sound bar. You can save up to $60 off the list price of Amazon’s already-pretty-cheap […]

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Apple HomePod can be jailbroken with checkra1n

It’s been a little over a year since security researchers discovered a vulnerability in iOS devices that makes it possible to jailbreak most iPhones and iPads from the iPhone 5s through the iPhone X. Now it looks like Apple’s HomePod smart speaker is vulnerable as well. A pair of tweets from @_L1ngL1ng_ and @DanyL931 show […]

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Amazon’s new Echo smart speakers launch for $50 and up (with an all-new design)

Amazon’s new Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers have a new design — they all have a semi-spherical design, except for the flat bottom that lets them stand on flat surface. The new Amazon Echo is a $99 cloth-covered circle with built-in support for smart home features including Zigbee and Sidewalk protocols and a new, […]

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Google’s new Chromecast and Nest products leaked ahead of launch

Google is holding a hardware launch event on September 30th, when the company is expected to officially introduce the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G smartphones along with several other products… which have just leaked. To be fair, details about the new Google Chromecast with Android TV has been leaking for months, but now German […]

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$50 Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is a smart speaker that’s also a clock

Lenovo’s $80 Smart Clock with Google Assistant was already one of the smallest, cheapest smart displays on the market. Now the company has introduced an even cheaper model… except the Lenovo Smart Clock Essential is not so much a smart display as a smart speaker that also has a clock. Coming in September, the $50 […]

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Microsoft is pulling the plug on Cortana for Android, iOS, and the Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker

Microsoft’s Cortana virtual assistant software isn’t exactly dead, but it’s not exactly living its best life either. Earlier this year Microsoft announced that it was killing off some key features including support for third-party Cortana skills and support for using Cortana to control music playback and smart home devices. Now Microsoft has confirmed that all […]