Good morning on this Sunny and yet cold morning here in Ireland, a bit quiet around the area due to lockdowns but otherwise grand, so again this week, I have a whole bunch of smart home-related stories for you, so let’s check them out!
Rotating Smart Displays 📺
So Amazon, have released another Alexa-enabled product last week, and it’s a smart display. Before I talk product details, here is a fun fact name bandied around in the early days of Amazon included ‘cadaver’ and ‘relentless’.
Okay, back to our smart screen, so here are the hardware points:
- The display is 10 inches
- Includes a three-inch tweeter (that’s 7.62 cm for us Europeans!)
- Powerful 13 MP built-in camera (Useful if you want to remotely monitor your home).
On the networking front, it includes the standard Wi-Fi stuff but also includes Zigbee for us smart home aficionados. But also includes the famous sidewalk protocol that gets used to extend Alexa networks.
One of the really interesting features of this product is its rotating screen.
With all these advanced capabilities, unsurprisingly, the new echo sho comes with a high price tag of $250 bucks. There’s plenty more golden product information over on the Amazon website.
Alexa Note Printer 🖨️
I really like this one! Might have mentioned in a previous newsletter about Amazon’s Kickstarter style campaign. Anyway, the smart sticky note printer received the highest amount of pre-orders and is going into production. Keep an eye on this one, when it goes mainstream. Take a look here yourself.
Smart Home Gif of the Week
Here is the weekly Gif took from one of the modules included in my recently updated Smart Home in 8 Weeks Course.
Airport Express is Back 🛫
Well Kinda! The word on the street over at FCC filings is Belkin is putting together an adaptor that will bring AirPlay 2 capabilities to aging music systems around the house. Schematics released online show the presence of three ports namely, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, and an optical digital audio connection. The real cool thing about this upcoming product is its support for HomeKit. So it will appear within your home app as a music player. A great option for bringing some old speakers around the O’Driscoll household back to life!
There are plenty more technical details on the FCC site. Give it a read here!
More Belkin Gossip!
And again is related to HomeKit, on this occasion Belkin is aspiring to take on the might Hue with the launch of a smart lighting dimmer switch. Similar to its competitor the new Belkin switch in design is aimed at the retrofit marketplace. Furthermore, it includes Bluetooth support, which is okayish but could have some distance limitations. Otherwise, the price should be quite manageable and an optional wall plate is available when it gets released.
More insights on this up-and-coming smart lighting dimmer switch are available over at Zatznotfunny!
New Smart Display Clocks ⏰
Nothing major, but worth a mention, Google has added three new clock faces to their already existing eight clock background. All clock faces are designed to take up the full screen and have been optimized for Nest Hub and Hub Max. The three new clock flavors are named timeless dark, light, and weather. If you are the proud owner of a smart display from the mighty Google and want to change it up in terms of clocks, drop into the Google Home app, select your device, tap gear symbol, and select photo frame. You can read more about these new clocks here.
Smart Blinds 🏨
So looks like one of the earlier supporters of HomeKit (Eve Systems based in Germany) has partnered with a traditional provider of window dressings (Coulisse).
This is really good news because there is a dearth of smart window dressings products in Europe and indeed all over the globe. Here are some key points:
- HomeKit enablement of a wide variety of smart window dressing ranging from wireless roller blinds and Venetian blinds to cellular shades and curtains.
- Initially only available for the Apple smart home ecosystem.
- Supports the thread, an evolving smart home standard.
- Bluetooth support, hence no requirement for a bridge or gateway.
- Similar to other HomeKit products, configuration involves scanning a QR code.
Check out the official announcement here.
And if you want to read some more on the Thread protocol, check out the latest blog post on the topic over at Smart Homes School.
Weekly Smart Home Voice Command! 🎤
Ok Google, watch [Movie Name]
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