SMART HOME & IoT GEAR

TechLife Australia - - HOTSPOT -

LEN­OVO SMART AS­SIS­TANT From US$130 | Avail­abil­ity TBA

The Len­ovo Smart As­sis­tant seems it could be a bet­ter ver­sion of Ama­zon’s home speak­ers. It may look like an Echo clone, but there are some dif­fer­ences. Firstly, they come in a va­ri­ety of colours, and if that isn’t im­por­tant to you, then mul­ti­ple far-field mi­cro­phones might be what does it for you — there’s seven, as op­posed to Echo’s six. The pre­mium ver­sion of the Smart As­sis­tant comes with Har­man Kar­don sound, while the reg­u­lar model is the equiv­a­lent of Google Home.

LG SMART INSTAVIEW AND SAM­SUNG FAM­ILY HUB 2.0 Pric­ing and avail­abil­ity TBA

Both LG and Sam­sung have been com­pet­ing with each other for a long time and the clash of the smart fridges at CES wasn’t any dif­fer­ent. In terms of fea­tures, LG’s Smart InstaView and Sam­sung’s Fam­ily Hub are quite com­pa­ra­ble — touch screens on the front with cam­eras on the in­side that make shop­ping a breeze. LG’s ver­sion runs Ama­zon’s Alexa and has a Win­dows-based app that taps into Cor­tana, while the Fam­ily Hub taps into Sam­sung’s voice tech. Both fridges are top of the range, with all the bells, whis­tles and trim­mings you could ever need.

DE­FEND­ING THE SMART HOME Bit­de­fender Box, US$199 | Avail­able now in US (AU TBC); Nor­ton Core, US$280 | Avail­able Win­ter 2017 in US (AU TBC)

With IoT de­vices be­ing hi­jacked by the likes of DDoS hack­ers, it wasn’t a sur­prise that pro­tect­ing a home net­work was show­cased at CES this year. Bit­de­fender has un­veiled the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Bit­de­fender Box, which makes use of net­work traf­fic anal­y­sis to main­tain your pri­vacy and se­cu­rity. The Box can also no­tify users how to bet­ter se­cure their smart home and of­fers ac­cess con­trol. And Sy­man­tec’s first router, Nor­ton Core, has built-in on­line real-time pro­tec­tion and gives you 20 li­cences of Nor­ton Core Plus Se­cu­rity Suite.

RO­BOT WARS LG pric­ing and avail­abil­ity TBA; Kuri, US$699 Ship­ping late 2017

It’s the year of the ro­bot as­sis­tant. LG un­veiled Hub Ro­bot, a cute lit­tle white blob that can wheel around af­ter you, per­form­ing tasks like pre­heat­ing the oven, ini­ti­at­ing the ro­bot vac­uum, re­port the weather, cal­cu­late your commute times and play mu­sic. And com­pet­ing with the Hub is Kuri, a ro­bot com­pan­ion that could well re­place a nanny. Kuri can fig­ure out when kids get back from school, then no­tify par­ents who could be stuck at work or in traf­fic. It has the abil­ity to iden­tify in­di­vid­ual mem­bers of a fam­ily and meet-and-greet them dif­fer­ently. It will even play mu­sic, read to your kids or record your cat’s an­tics and play back the videos when you get home (the real rea­son you’d want one).

LEGO BOOST Around $220 | Sec­ond half of 2017

Lego is adding an­other di­men­sion to its fa­mil­iar build­ing blocks — a cod­ing how-to for kids. In the hopes that learn­ing to code at an early age could prove use­ful later in life, Lego has in­tro­duced the Lego Boost, a Wi-Fi en­abled build set that can in­ter­act with mo­tors and both colour and dis­tance sen­sors to carry out in­struc­tions set through a drag-and-drop app. The free app con­tains tu­to­ri­als and guide­lines on sim­ple cod­ing com­mands that bring builds to life. UVIFY DRACO From around $680 | Q2 2017 If you’re feel­ing the need for speed, then the Draco drone will sat­isfy. This diminu­tive yet su­per­charged ready-to-fly racer weighs in at just over a pound when empty and mea­sures only 21.3 x 16.5cm and will zoom up to 160 kilo­me­tres per hour. With a full 40-chan­nel FPV (first per­son view), you can feel the thrill for your­self. With GPS and a 360-de­gree flip, the Draco is great not just for rac­ing, but even freestyle flight.

Roll over, WALL-E, Lego’s Boost Ro­bot is go­ing to teach kids how to code.

The Bit­de­fender Box is a beau­ti­ful bit of de­sign. The LG Smart InstaView fridge sports an in­ter­nal cam­era.

LG’s Hub Ro­bot is al­most an ex­ten­sion of your arm.

Above: The Len­ovo Smart As­sis­tant is an­other Alexa-us­ing de­vice to con­trol your smart home.

Left: Not quite a real dragon, the Uvify Draco is a se­ri­ously fast and ag­ile drone.

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