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Smart Home

The smart home was once a far-flung pipe dream, but it is now a reality. Wherever you live, your home is ground zero for some of the most interesting tech available right now, and tech that’s yet to come. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your home up and running with smart hardware and services. Home security and monitoring solutions can alert you to a burglary, smoke, fire, or just simple motion activity. There are plenty of options with a range of capabilities, from smart doorbells and smart locks to indoor and outdoor cameras that can see in the dark. Smart speakers, like the Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod each play a big role in helping you out, too. In the kitchen, they can read out recipes, or if you’re cleaning, you can call out to them to change the song on the fly. If you buy smart light bulbs, for instance, you can turn them on and off by using your voice.

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Ikea begins beta-testing Matter on its Dirigera hub

Almost two years after announcing its new smart home hub would support Matter, Ikea is finally starting to bring the new standard to users.

Today’s smart homes: the hopes and the realities

The Verge team and others share their experiences of how smart technologies affect their lives — how it can often help and sometimes frustrate.

How smart is the smart kitchen, really?

For part two of our Vergecast smart kitchen series, we let the kitchen do the cooking. Chaos ensues.

The best robot vacuums

Floor-sweeping robots are only getting better, with new mopping skills, better navigation chops, and more automation, so less work for you. We picked nine of the best bots you can buy right now.

I’ve seen the future of wireless charging, and I want it in my kitchen counters

The newest product from FreePower can turn everyday surfaces into wireless chargers. I demoed the new tech, and I’m excited for a world of clutter-free countertops that can charge all the gadgets.

Qualcomm’s latest Wi-Fi 7 chip could make your phone a better key.

That’s thanks to integrated ultra wideband, according to the company’s MWC 2024 announcement. It’s also about half the size and, Qualcomm says, uses 40 percent less power than its previous Wi-Fi chip.

That makes it easier for device makers to add the precision-finding tech that makes AirTags so good or lets cars like some Teslas know you’re close and what side of the car you’re on.

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Apple’s HomePod could get a screen next year.

Mark Gurman wrote in his Power On newsletter for Bloomberg today that Apple has started to work with its suppliers about a possible future version of its smart speaker that has a display.

Gurman thinks 2025 is the earliest possible launch for the product — Apple reportedly hasn’t “made enough headway to consider them imminent.”

What makes the Echo Hub stand out?

Basically, it’s just a better smart home device than the company’s Echo Show smart display, but there’s more to it. The Verge’s Jen Tuohy gives you the rundown. Be sure to check out her full review for more detail.

Hue is rolling out a fix for one of its biggest problems. spotted an entry on Hue’s website saying support for multiple bridges on one account is coming this year, allowing control of more than 50 devices on one account.

Today, to use more than 50 lights and accessories, you have to create a separate Hue account for a second bridge and switch between them in the app to control your lights. This is fiddly and annoying, so this fix is one Hue users have been waiting for.

Philips Hue is promising to bring support for multiple bridges to its platform later this year.
Philips Hue is promising to bring support for multiple bridges to its platform later this year.
Image: Philips Hue
The Verge
Amazon’s Echo Hub is spotted in the wild.

Eagle-eyed smart home enthusiasts have tracked down the as-yet unavailable Alexa smart home control panel.

One Reddit user found the Echo Hub at Best Buy last week, but the clerk sent him away hubless. Another recently saw a big marketing display at Lowe’s complete with an empty cage where an Echo Hub should be.

Amazon said the Hub would ship at the end of 2023. It’s February 2024 and we’re still waiting. But perhaps not for much longer ...

Reduce, reuse, recycle: the Ubiquitree.

Here’s something you can do with that dozen or so obsolete Ubiquiti access points you’ve got shoved in your junk drawer.

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Samsung’s older TVs lose option to view a Ring doorbell’s camera feed.

As of this week, Samsung TVs released between 2018 and 2021 can’t show a video feed from the Ring Doorbell Pro, according to a support page. The news comes after Samsung also announced it would be dropping its TV’s built-in Google Assistant support as of March 1st, 2024.

Between this and the subscription price increases, it’s been a frustrating week for Ring owners.

The Verge
Less Wi-Fi, more Thread.

European-based Nuki is adding remote access via Thread to its newest smart locks, allowing control away from home.

Previously, and with most other smart locks, this was only possible over WiFi, requiring a dedicated bridge or regularly replacing your lock’s batteries (Wi-Fi is very power-hungry).

Thread is designed to be more stable and more efficient than Wi-Fi for battery-powered devices. Nuki says Thread remote access works with Apple Home and Home Assistant at launch via a Thread-enabled Matter controller. The company plans to bring its retrofit locks to the US later this year.

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My favorite smart oven is toast.

The Spoon reports that the excellent but expensive June Oven may finally be finished. While owner Weber hasn’t made an official announcement, apparently a representative at CES said there are “no plans for a new model.”

You’ve not been able to buy a new June Oven for a year now (although you can still buy accessories). But if you did spend $600 to $1,500 on what is still the best smart oven I’ve tested, the good news is Weber said it’ll still get software updates.