In light of the release of Amazon Echo and Google Home, we’re taking a special interest in connected devices this month as well as checking out a smattering of gadgets sure to be the talk of the techie town
Since launching in the US in 2014, Amazon Echo has become a must-have for techies and with the device reaching these shores this month, UK fans of connected gadgets can finally try it out. Perhaps the main strength of Echo is the fact that Amazon has opened it up to external developers, which means users can use the voice-activated speaker to interact with services like Domino’s, Uber and Spotify without lifting a finger. But with the impressive range of services available, the internet of things (IoT) device still falls short in one fairly major way: it uses Microsoft’s search engine Bing, which means Alexa can struggle from time to time find the proper answer. However, it’s still one giant leap towards the smart homes of the future.
Amazon Echo may have been the talk of tech aficionados for a while but now Google is edging for a shot at the title with the launch of Google Home. By tapping into the tech giant’s search engine, the device is able to answer intricate questions based on the context. For instance, you could ask the device to play that song from the Deadpool trailer and you’ll be greeted by Salt N’ Pepa’s Shoop or you could get some friends home, ask for a festive song by Pink and get the party started. While a UK release date is yet to be set, Google Home is available to pre-order for $130 in the US. Let the best gadget win.
Go Pro Karma
Since launching in 2002, Go Pro’s action cameras have become the go-to tool for adrenaline junkies hellbent on immortalising their adventures. And now the tech company is taking it one step further with Go Pro Karma. The company’s first drone is easy to pack and to bring to your next snowboarding trip. It’s controllable up to three kilometres and has a flight time of up to 20 minutes, whilst the camera can easily be detached and use it like regular Go Pro. Unfortunately one downside is that although Karma allows you to take amazing pictures, it can’t be set to automatically follow and film you. That being said, we’re predicting quite a few Karmas flying around startup events in the near future.
At first glance the iPhone 7 is easily mistaken for last year’s iPhone 6. However, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. With the impressive speed of its new A10 processor, its upgraded camera and the fact that it’s water resistant in depths of up to one metre, this new evolution is to the iPhone 6 what homo sapiens are to homo erectus. Yet there is one thing that has set the Twitterverse ablaze when it comes to the iPhone 7: the absence of the headphone jack. If you want to get your jam on, you’ll have to buy a lightning adapter or the new easily misplaced cordless earphones. However, neither this nor the hefty £599 price tag will prevent the most dedicated Apple aficionados from opening their wallets.
Just as Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 got recalled after recent reports of exploding batteries, Google’s recent reveal of its new smartphone Pixel also went off with a bang. Essentially a pimped-up Android phone, Pixel benefits from being the first handset entirely developed by Google and, like Home, its greatest feature is the personal assistant allowing it to understand questions and their context. The tech giant is also offering users unlimited cloud storage for photos and high-quality movies taken with the 12-megapixel camera, which can viewed with crystal clarity on the 1440p resolution screen. The phone is available to pre-order from £599. And once it hits the street, we’ll see how alluring the personal assistant and the headphone jack really are for consumers.