Sonos took the mic out of its smart speaker for the $179 Sonos One SL

Sonos has a new entry-level connected speaker that will give you all of its multi-room, high-quality sound – without the onboard microphones and smart assistants of the Sonos One. The microphone-free Sonos One SL retails for $179.99 ($20 less than the existing Sonos One) and comes with AirPlay 2, delivering good functional upgrades over the […]

Google falls to third place in worldwide smart speaker market

The global smart speaker market grew 55.4% in the second quarter to reach 26.1 million shipments, according to a new report from Canalys. Amazon continued to lead the race, accounting for 6.6 million units shipped in the quarter. Google, however, fell to the third spot as China’s Baidu surged ahead. Baidu in Q2 grew a […]

On-demand parking startup SpotHero raises $50 million

SpotHero, the Chicago-based company that has developed an on-demand parking app, has raised $50 million in a Series D round led by Macquarie Capital. Union Grove Venture Partners participated in the round, along with existing investors, including Insight Venture Partners, Global Founders Capital, OCA Ventures, AutoTech Ventures and others, according to the company. SpotHero has […]

Sonos Bluetooth-enabled, battery-powered speaker leaks ahead of official launch

Sonos has an event coming up at the end of the month to reveal something new, but leaks have pretty much given away what’s likely to be the highlight announcement at the event: A new, Bluetooth-enabled speaker that has a built-in battery for portable power. The speaker originally leaked earlier this month, with Dave Zatz […]

The Google Assistant now lets you annoy your family members with assignable reminders

Do you sometimes have to nag your significant other to take out the trash on Monday night? Now, you can do so in a more passive-aggressive way by sending them a reminder through the Google Assistant instead of in person. “Hey Google, remind Alex to take out the trash at 8pm,” is all it takes. […]

Facebook’s human-AI blend for audio transcription is now facing privacy scrutiny in Europe

Facebook’s lead privacy regulator in Europe is now asking the company for detailed information about the operation of a voice-to-text feature in Facebook’s Messenger app and how it complies with EU law. Yesterday Bloomberg reported that Facebook uses human contractors to transcribe app users’ audio messages — yet its privacy policy makes no clear mention […]

Amazon’s lead EU data regulator is asking questions about Alexa privacy

Amazon’s lead data regulator in Europe, Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection, has raised privacy concerns about its use of manual human reviews of Alexa AI voice assistant recordings. A spokesman for the regulator confirmed in an email to TechCrunch it is discussing the matter with Amazon, adding: “At this stage, we cannot comment further […]

Vizio rolls out its Apple AirPlay and HomeKit integrations to its SmartCast TV platform

Ahead of Apple launching its big video streaming initiative Apple TV+ this autumn, an integration is going live today that brings Apple closer to working with third-party TV makers and making its services available on a wider array of devices. Today Vizio said it would start to roll out support for AirPlay2 and HomeKit to […]

Google’s new version of Android Auto focuses on Assistant

Google is starting to roll out an updated version of its in-car platform, Android Auto, that aims to make it easier and safer for drivers to use. The version, which was first revealed during Google I/O 2019, has a dark theme, new fonts and color accents, more opportunities to communicate with Google’s virtual assistant and the […]

Sonos and Ikea’s Symfonisk wireless speakers are a symphony of sound and design

Sonos and Ikea’s Symfonisk collaboration took a lot of people by surprise when it was announced earlier this year, but the match-up is less unlikely than it might appear at first glance. Ikea’s entire mission has been delivering practical, quality design concepts at price points that are more broadly accessible — and that’s exactly what […]