Archives For Smart Home

Can’t tell you how many devices this applies to, but Amazon wants my buddy’s Cloud Cam back.

About two weeks ago, he had told me the WiFi camera died. He attempted a factory reset, but no love. He hadn’t found time or energy to follow-up with Amazon when, out of the blue, he received a voicemail and an email “message from Amazon’s Engineering Team” (device-recovery@amazon.com) this week stating:

I was calling to talk about one of your Cloud Cam devices. I’d like to get you a replacement Cloud Cam device as soon as possible at no additional cost to you. Additionally, I would like to schedule a pick-up to have the original device delivered to our lab for analysis. Continue Reading…

An Arlo Baby with 7″ touchscreen display just popped up on Best Buy for $350, which represents a $100-150 premium over the Arlo Baby itself. Like all Netgear Arlo products, the camera feed can be viewed from both Apple and Android devices, so what’s obviously new and notable here is the bundled tablet. Sadly, the production description doesn’t provide a whole lot of insight – but here are the relevant bits:

This Arlo Baby monitoring system includes a 7-inch touch-screen display for real-time footage viewing.

The 7″ color LCD display lets you clearly see the full-motion video to ensure your little one is safe.

I’m just going to go ahead and assume it’s a heavily skinned and slimmed down lower-resolution Android affair. But, really, the bigger question is: Will this product actually see the light of day? While there’s been a year of display-related chatter, to compete with the traditional baby monitors, Arlo staff recently posted a note to their forums suggesting they’ve pulled the plug:

Continue Reading…

Ooma Preps Office Phone

Dave Zatz —  March 26, 2018

As so many of us have replaced both land and VoIP lines with cellular service, and given the telco-cable incumbents largely cornering the residential VoIP market, Ooma appears to have successfully expanded their telephonic services into business sector. And now, via the FCC, we learn Ooma intends to similarly expand their hardware into Cisco and Avaya territory with the corporate-looking DP1 Desk Phone. Although, interestingly, the DP1 manual indicates Ooma Telo hub pairing is required (and the display does indicate home office)… vs. Ooma Office. Presumably, this core competency initiative will fare better than their smart home aspirations that have been overshadowed by well-established and noisier competitors.

Back when the cellular providers offered very few minutes for very many dollars, I swore by Ooma – especially when working 3,000 miles from the office. And I will fondly remember them and their stellar performance as I currently drink of the unlimited Verizon and T-Mobile firehose (and try to take as few calls as possible).

Google has finally joined the doorbell camera fray with the Nest Hello. First introduced way back in September, they’ve met their first quarter target as the $229 units are now available at a variety of retailers, including select Home Depot and Fry’s… although the official street date is supposedly tomorrow, March 15th. I find Nest camera hardware and service pricey, compared to much of the competition and for similar functionality (with continuous recording something of a deficit in my estimation), so I’m awaiting Adam’s thoughts when he (temporarily?) swaps his Ring Pro, as I have no intention of making a purchase.

As the regulars know, I’ve been a huge proponent of Arlo wire-free cameras. And, since hopping on early, Netgear’s continued to expand the ecosystem by incorporating indoor cameras, cellular cameras, a variety of accessories, and home automation integrations… including Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. So it wasn’t a huge surprise last fall when the company signaled full-on smart home hardware intentions by announcing the Arlo Security Light.

At the time, there wasn’t a lot of the detail. Now, from the recently published Amazon pre-order page, we learn an Arlo light two-pack will set you back $250 and a variety of product performance elements were reiterated: Continue Reading…

As TiVo puts the finishing touches on their CES experience, we can clearly see from the “booth” signage (above) that they’re expanding beyond newly introduced native voice control to embrace third parties. While TiVo “Vox” offers far deeper integration and control, including stacked commands, than Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can provide, those offerings are always-listening (for better or worse) and already installed in many TiVo customer’s homes… and options are good. No word yet on availability, but I assume this will come to all Hydra-endowed retail units and whichever MSOs choose to integrate (who may be limited by regional availability). Continue Reading…

Although announced last spring and having missed Belkin’s promised fall release, we knew the HomeKit-endowed WeMo Bridge was poised for release… and here it is. The Bridge does exactly what it says in linking up (a subset of) WeMo hardware to Apple’s smart home control — not only do you get direct Siri control of WeMo accessories, they’ll easily interoperate with all other devices in the ecosystem. For example, a WeMo motion sensor could be configured to trigger competing Hue lighting. Or the Philips Hue Motion Sensor, which I highly recommend, could trigger a WeMo Smart Outlet.

While WeMo Bridge pricing is reasonable at $40, it’s an easy decision for me to abstain. No, it’s not my well-documented frustrations with WeMo (since lessened) and HomeKit tepidness. It’s that Belkin has clearly abandoned the portion of the WeMo product line that I continue to rely on.