GE integrates Alexa into its first desk lamp

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Alexa, Amazon’s voice assistant technology, is branching out from its first home, the Echo series of devices, and finally starting to show up in third-party products. So far, we’ve seen a watch and an intercom, but GE may have the brightest idea yet: an LED lamp.

GE, which announced the new “C by GE” desktop lamp on Wednesday, says the illuminator is just the first in a series of connected products to come. 

Looking a little like a silver Amazon Echo with a glowing ring attached to it, the C lamp integrates the Alexa voice service and backs it up with a microphone array and speakers. It is the first Alexa-connected lamp that does not need another third-party hub to work or control other smart-home devices that work with the ever-growing list of Alexa Skills. You can also, of course, control the lamp itself with your voice. Read more…

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Motorola gives up on smartwatches, for now

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Motorola’s Moto 360 was the first Android Wear smartwatch with a circular design — a trait later taken up by most Android smartwatches — pushing the company to the forefront of the wearables market. However, it now appears we won’t see a new smartwatch under the Moto brand anytime soon. 

Lenovo, the parent company of Motorola, told The Verge that it’s not planning to release a Moto smartwatch in time for the next major version of Google’s smartwatch platform, Android Wear 2. 

According to Shakil Barkat, head of global product development at Moto, the company doesn’t “see enough pull in the market” to launch a new smartwatch. He did leave open the possibility of a Moto smartwatch at a later date, saying that customers might eventually start valuing gadgets on their wrists more than they do today.  Read more…

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How to order prescription Snapchat Spectacles

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Fear not, glasses wearers. Prescription lenses for Spectacles, Snap’s video-camera glasses, have arrived.

Rochester Optical, a lens manufacturer based in Rochester, New York, is now cutting and selling prescription lenses for Spectacles, the company announced Thursday. 

The lenses start at $99 and cost depends on prescription strength, lens type and coating. The lens types include standard plastic, high-index, polarized Rx Sun or photochromic. 

Image: rochester optical

Interested purchasers must complete an online order form and then ship their Spectacles directly to the store. Read more…

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Bang & Olufsen’s fancy Beoplay H9 headphones come with noise cancellation

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Bang & Olufsen’s headphone selection was a little lacking so far: The company’s flagship over-ear wireless headphones, the Beoplay H7, don’t have active noise cancellation. The Beoplay H8 have the feature, but they’re a smaller, on-ear model. 

Now, the company has filled the gap with Beoplay H9, a set of stylish, over-ear wireless headphones with active noise cancellation. 

The Beoplay H9 are a dead ringer for the H7, down to the aluminum touch controls. The specs are also quite similar — 40mm drivers, 20 to 22,000Hz frequency range, Bluetooth aptX support — so it’s fair to assume that they’re basically the same model with the addition of active noise cancellation.  Read more…

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Fitbit is buying Pebble, report claims

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Health and fitness wearables maker Fitbit is buying smartwatch maker Pebble, The Information reports, citing three people familiar with the deal. 

Pebble, which started out as a Kickstarter project in 2012, captured a portion of the smartwatch market early, before heavyweights such as Apple and Samsung launched their first watches. 

However, the company has most recently been struggling financially, laying off a quarter of its workers in May 2016.

The Information doesn’t have a price for the deal, but Engadget reports Fitbit is buying Pebble for a paltry $34 – $40 million, which is orders of magnitude lower than some previous offers Pebble has had on the table — and refused.  Read more…

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Apple announces more (RED) gadgets to mark World AIDS Day

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Ten years ago, Apple partnered with product (RED) to offer limited edition products that raise awareness of AIDS. 

Now, to acknowledge World AIDS Day, which this year falls on Dec. 1, Apple has announced a new lineup of (RED)-branded gadgets and games in its App Store. 

“Thanks to the vision and dedication of (RED), an AIDS-free generation is within our reach. We want to leave the world better than we found it, and that’s why our longtime partnership with (RED) remains so important to us,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a statement. 

Besides the current lineup of (RED) products, which are available year-round, new (RED) gadgets available starting today include an iPhone 7 Smart Battery Case, iPhone SE Case, Beats Solo 3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones and the Pill+ Portable Speaker. Read more…

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GoPro is coming to terms with reality: It’s just a camera company

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GoPro is coming to terms with reality. Despite its best efforts, it’s just a camera company. 

The 14-year-old camera manufacturer is cutting costs by laying off more than 200 employees (about 15 percent of its workforce) and instituting a hiring freeze, the company announced Wednesday. The reductions are in an effort to restore the struggling business to profitability come 2017. 

GoPro will focus on its products: cameras and drones. “Consumer demand for GoPro is solid and we’ve sharply narrowed our focus to concentrate on our core business,” GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said in a statement. “We are headed into 2017 with a powerful global brand, our best ever products, and a clear road map for restored growth and profitability in 2017.” Read more…

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Samsung brand autopsy: How can the company earn back trust?

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Now that the figurative smoke has cleared from the dozens of literal fires caused by faulty Samsung smartphones, the Korean electronics giant has entered into that most craven of corporate actions: Brand-repair mode.

Its advertising — which went completely dark for much of October — is back to pre-recall levels, a date has been set for the release of a full-scale autopsy on the problem and the company is even exploring splitting into two in response to investor backlash.

The immediate financial damage has been rough: The Galaxy Note 7 recall could cost the company as much as one billion dollars, and all the flux left a big opening for competitors like the iPhone and the newly released Google Pixel to carve into its market. Read more…

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OnePlus and O2 celebrate the OnePlus 3T launch in London

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One of the best mobile phones on the market just got even better.

The OnePlus 3T is an upgraded addition to the company’s premium flagship OnePlus 3 smartphone lineup.

And OnePlus, one of a select few technology companies with such a strong community-focused mission, teamed up with O2 to celebrate its launch with a one-day pop-up event on 24 November at 123 Oxford Street in London.

More than 100 people braved cold weather to join the queue to get into the event, and the O2 angels were on hand to give out snacks and drinks. 

T-shirts and backpacks were given out as well, but the giveaways of the day were two OnePlus 3Ts. The first went to the first person in queue at the till, and the second went to a man who got the highest score on the event’s Dash Charge game. Read more…

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Amazon reportedly working on new Echo with 7-inch screen, better sound

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Are you aching for just a bit more…everything on your Amazon Echo? Improvements and additions might come soon, as Bloomberg reports the company is working on a premium variant of the Echo smart speaker — one that will have a 7-inch screen. 

According to the report, which cites two people familiar with the matter, the new Echo will be a radical departure from the current, simple cylindrical design. 

In addition to the 7-inch screen, the new Echo will have much-improved speakers.  And the gadget will tilt upwards so that you can easily access it while standing. Details at this point are vague, but in terms of design, we’re imagining something akin to a Fire tablet on a stand or a smaller Surface StudioRead more…

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