10 smart home gadget gift ideas around $50

The home of tomorrow is here now! Through the myriad of advances in the last few years, the home has grown to encompass a vast array of technologies that help to make our lives easier. While the idea of the smart connected home has been around for quite some time, it’s only recently we’ve seen it become a tangible thing – something we can experience and control.

With the holidays being right around the corner, there are plenty of gift ideas to think about. Then again, transforming the home to a smart home requires some investment, which at times can be considerable depending …


Phil Schiller thinks Apple got the home button-less iPhone X right, hints at a Face ID iPad

Apple went through a number of compromises and soul-searching in its first effort to make an “all-screen” phone, as per another fresh interview with its marketing boss Phil Schiller. Chief among those was the decision to ditch the home button with its integrated Touch ID finger scanner, and replace it with a Face ID biometric solution, achieved by the TrueDepth camera kit that warranted a “notch” cutout at the top of the iPhone X display.

As a result, those coming from a legacy iPhone hit both a muscle memory wall, and aspect ratio compatibility issues. No need …

Turn your Google Home into a portable speaker with this $50 battery

The Google Home speaker is a cool and popular way to get a smart home assistant at an affordable price, but since the speaker is always anticipating voice commands it needs to be constantly connected to power in order to work. Which means you cannot easily carry it around with you, in case you want to use it as a truly portable speaker.
There is a way to change that. A new, $50 battery “base” for the Google Home attaches cleverly to the speaker, so that it can constantly draw power from the battery and with the battery base on, the Home turns …

Google Home Max now available from Best Buy and Verizon for $399

Back at the end of November, Best Buy accidentally revealed that Google’s top-of-the-line smart speaker, the Google Home Max, would launch on December 11th. That happens to be today, and as it turns out, the device is now available from Best Buy and Verizon, priced at $399. Offered in Chalk or Charcoal, the Google Home Max features Google Assistant and a speaker with two 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers and two 0.7-inch tweeters. This covers the low and high frequencies, respectively. The speaker also uses AI to figure out the environment in which it is being placed so that it can enhance the sound …

Microsoft Launcher receives major update, adds Home App Grid, new user experience, more

On its way to the 50 million downloads achievement, Microsoft Launcher scores yet another update that brings some important improvements and new features.

If you’ve been using Microsoft Launcher, then you’ll notice the new version comes with a Home App Grid, which allows you to create a grid with up to 12 columns and 12 rows. Also, you’ll be to move apps and widgets to half of the grid cells.

Furthermore, the update adds a new user experience, so you’ll notice that on the welcome page you’ll be able to import the layout from another launcher, or even restore …

Job posting points to a future Google Home smart speaker with a screen

Back in October, we told you that a teardown of the latest Google app at that point (v.7.14.15) included references to a version of the Google Home carrying a screen. The code name of “Quartz” surfaced along with a reference to YouTube and the words browser and video. Now, a job posting on Linked In shows that Google Home is looking for a “Touch Sensor Hardware Engineer.”

According to the job posting, those offered the position will “work on the next generation of Google Hardware to enable the best multi-touch user experience.” And the addition of multi-touch to the Google Home certainly …

Google Home Mini gets some of its tap functionality back

You might remember that in the middle of October, Google had to disable the tap functionality on top of the Google Home Mini smart speaker after a small number of units malfunctioned. While tapping the top of the smart speaker would activate Google Assistant and control music, alarms and timers, the malfunctioning units kept acting as though the top was constantly being tapped. This led to the device recording over and over again, sending whatever was picked up back to Google.. Luckily, the only units affected were review and other early release models. Pre-ordered Google Home Minis and those sold …

Score a free Google Home Mini with the purchase of a Nest product or bundle costing more than $99

From now until the rest of the year, Nest and Google have a deal that will net you a free Google Home Mini smart speaker. All you need to do is purchase any Nest product or bundle priced above $99 from the Google Store or from the Nest Store. The two online stores are where you’ll find Nest products for the home, such as smart thermostats and lights, security cameras for inside and outside the house, and smoke/carbon monoxide alarms.

With the deal, at least one of the Nest products purchased, or a single bundle, has to be priced above $99. In other words, you can’t just buy a number of …

Google and Nest may team up again to take on Amazon in the connected home race

It’s been around two years since Nest was spun off into an independent company from Google, operating under the Alphabet umbrella, but a new report from the Wall Street Journal suggests that Alphabet is considering the possibility of folding Nest Labs back into Google’s hardware team.

Inside sources familiar with the matter claim that this move could help Google better compete with Amazon in the connected home market. Nest hasn’t been in the headlines as much recently, as it was when it operated directly under Google, but this year alone it released a …

BOGO deal available at Best Buy for the Google Home smart speaker

Smart speakers will probably be one of the most popular gifts given this holiday season. With the combination of a speaker and a virtual personal assistant, users can control smart appliances in their home. They can also stream music, announce sports scores, stock prices, the news and the weather. And with these devices you can set an alarm or a countdown timer, order a pizza and even arrange for a Lyft.

Smart speakers are priced reasonably, which make them a great gift for the holidays. And Best Buy has the perfect sale on the Google Home. With a BOGO promotion on the full-sized model, …