Facebook transcribed users’ audio messages without permission

“The future is private.” Clearly, Facebook still has a way to go. Facebook has become the latest tech giant to face scrutiny over its handling of users’ data, following a report that said the social media giant collected audio data and recordings from its users and transcribed it using third-party contractors. The report came from […]

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 […]

Alexa, does the Echo Dot Kids protect children’s privacy?

A coalition of child protection and privacy groups has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging it to investigate a kid-focused edition of Amazon’s Echo smart speaker. The complaint against Amazon Echo Dot Kids, which has been lodged with the FTC by groups including the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Center […]

Over a quarter of US adults now own a smart speaker, typically an Amazon Echo

U.S. smart speaker owners grew 40 percent over 2018 to now reach 66.4 million — or 26.2 percent of the U.S. adult population — according to a new report from Voicebot.ai and Voicify released this week, which detailed adoption patterns and device market share. The report also reconfirmed Amazon Echo’s lead, noting the Alexa-powered smart […]

Report: Smart speaker adoption in U.S. reaches 66M units, with Amazon leading

Smart speakers had a good holiday. Amazon already said its Echo Dot outsold all other items on its site this holiday season, which hinted toward the sizable growth for the voice-powered speaker market. Today, research firm CIRP is reporting the U.S. installed base for speakers grew to 66 million units in December 2018, up from […]

Wrest control from a snooping smart speaker with this teachable “parasite”

What do you get when you put one Internet connected device on top of another? A little more control than you otherwise would in the case of Alias the “teachable ‘parasite’” — an IoT project smart speaker topper made by two designers, Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen. The Raspberry Pi-powered, fungus-inspired blob’s mission is to […]

Apple HomePod comes to China at $400 amid iPhone sales woes

Apple is finally launching HomePod in China, but the timing is tricky as the premium device will have to wrestle with local competitors and a slowing economy. The firm said over the weekend that its smart speaker will be available in Mainland China and Hong Kong starting January 18, adding to a list of countries where […]

Smart speakers hit critical mass in 2018

We already know Alexa had a good Christmas — the app shot to the top of the App Store over the holidays, and the Alexa service even briefly crashed from all the new users. But Alexa, along with other smart speaker devices like Google Home, didn’t just have a good holiday — they had a […]

Apple’s HomePod will be available in China starting early next year

“嘿 Siri!” Apple’s HomePod will be available for sale in China early next year. A listing is already up on Apple’s China site, with the smart speaker priced at RMB 2,799 (about $407), or about 17% more than its $349 price in the United States. Though Apple doesn’t list an exact shipping date for Chinese […]

This robot uses lasers to ‘listen’ to its environment

[embedded content] A new technology from researchers at Carnegie Mellon University will add sound and vibration awareness to create truly context-aware computing. The system, called Ubicoustics, adds additional bits of context to smart device interaction, allowing a smart speaker to know it’s in a kitchen or a smart sensor to know you’re in a tunnel […]