With Microsoft and Amazon announcing new devices, the fight to become the dominating smart speaker developer is certainly intensifying
Amazon Echo has recently faced increased competition from other smart speakers like Google Home and Lenovo Smart Home Assistant. And now Microsoft is also throwing its hat into the ring, announcing Invoke, a speaker made by Harman Kardon and powered by Microsoft’s virtual assistant Cortana. From controlling playlists to smart homes, Invoke has all the regular smart-speaker features with the added benefit that Cortana is also available across all Microsoft’s computers and tablets. Another sweet treat is the Skype feature, which enables calls to mobiles and landlines. But the question remains: will this be enough to stand out in the crowd, as both Google’s and Amazon’s speakers will soon have similar abilities and Apple is rumoured to soon be announcing a speaker of its own. Invoke certainly has its job cut out for it.
Hot on the heels of the introduction of Echo Look in April, Amazon is already unveiling another member to its smart-speaker family. While sporting all the regular features that have made Alexa a must-have for tech enthusiasts everywhere, Echo Show is Amazon’s first speaker with a touchscreen. This provides users with quick access to everything from YouTube tutorials to security camera feeds. Additionally, owners of the device will also be able to start video-calls with friends that have an Echo Show and to make voice calls to all Alexa gadgets. Sadly Brits may have to wait a while to get their hands on it: while the device will start shipping in the US at the end of June, no UK release date has been announced yet.
From LG G4’s leather back to HTC One M8’s Dot View case, smartphone developers are certainly not shy about utilising gimmicks to attract customers. But it remains to be seen whether U11’s squeeze function will fall under this category or if it will actually save users time as HTC promises. The feature relies on sensors on the side of the new flagship phablet: pressing these with their fingers enable users to instantly snap pictures, engage with Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa and a whole lot of other functions. Additionally, with a Snapdragon 835 processor, up to 128GB of storage and maximum 6GB of RAM, the U11’s £649 price tag is justified even without the phone’s fondling feature.
Not having to charge your mobile for three days may seem like a fantasy but that’s exactly what the Lenovo P2 promises. However, its impressive 5,100mAh battery isn’t the only selling point for this new smartphone. The P2 also comes with a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED screen with full HD resolution and is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass 3. The only caveats are that the phone is only available on these shores through Three and that there have been reports about the camera snapping less than perfect quality photos. However, in light of the features it does have and the longevity of the battery, you still get a whole lot of phone for only £199.
Given that air pollution levels in London exceeded those in Beijing in January, it’s not difficult to understand why many pedestrians are adopting surgical masks. But while a simple piece of cloth may have been deemed as being adequate protection against contaminated air in the 20th century, the team behind O2O2 Facewear believes modern city dwellers deserve a mask that really protects wearers from pollution. And the plastic shell and with fans filtering clean breathable air into it, this new mask is providing just that. However, the killer feature making the O2O2 deserving of a spot on the list is each mask’s ability to measure pollution levels around them and creating a map of contaminated areas. Whether you’re tackling pollution on your morning commute or browsing for your next piece of cosplay gear, the O2O2 could be just breath of fresh air you’re looking for.