Tag Archives: Gadget News

August adds three devices to its growing smart home roster


August has three new products — the Smart Lock Pro, the Smart Lock and the Doorbell Cam Pro.


Smart home device maker August has three new connected products to keep your door secure: 

  • The $279 Smart Lock Pro (sold with a Connect Wi-Fi Bridge)
  • The $149 Smart Lock (to eventually replace the current Smart Lock)
  • The $199 Doorbell Cam Pro (to eventually replace the Doorbell Cam

Both locks are on sale now at Amazon, Best Buy and August’s online store. The doorbell is available for preorder and units ship from Oct. 10. 

All three products are US-only and August doesn’t have plans to expand internationally. At the current exchange rate, the prices convert to roughly £210 or AU$350 for the Smart Lock Pro, £110 or AU$185 for the Smart Lock and £150 or AU$250 for the Doorbell Cam Pro.

August’s Smart Lock Pro looks a lot like the second-gen HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock. It works with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant, but this version also adds in an August Connect as a bundled accessory. That way, you automatically get both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity out of the box. The Pro lock supports Z-Wave as well, if you have a compatible hub. It has a new feature called DoorSense, too. 

DoorSense seems so logical that I’m stunned no one has introduced it before. It’s essentially a door (or window) sensor built into the lock, with a second sensor accessory you either mount externally next to the lock or on the inside of the doorframe. With DoorSense, you can confirm that the door is actually closed (instead of simply locked or unlocked). 


The new $149 August Smart Lock looks quite different than previous models. It features a more oblong shape with an integrated thumb latch for opening and closing the door. It also doesn’t support HomeKit, but it too comes with accessories for enabling DoorSense. 

August’s Doorbell Cam Pro appears to have borrowed its design from the original Doorbell Cam at a glance, but this version is equipped with a floodlight. That’s supposed to enhance nighttime video streaming and its motion-detection functionality.

Read my full review of the August Smart Lock Pro.

Read my full review of the August Smart Lock.

The Doorbell Cam Pro review is forthcoming. In the meantime, check out the other buzzers we’ve tested.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/august-adds-three-devices-to-its-growing-smart-home-roster/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Red Sox may have used Fitbit, not Apple Watch, to steal signs


Did the Red Sox have a Fitbit up its sleeve that was stealing signs?

Sarah Tew/CNET

An Apple Watch may not have helped the Boston Red Sox allegedly steal signs from the New York Yankees after all.

The Yankees filed a complaint earlier this month with Major League Baseball saying the Red Sox were stealing pitch signs by using the smartwatch during a four-game series last month in Boston, according to The New York Times. The Yankees provided a video showing a Red Sox staffer looking at his wrist wearable and relaying a message to players, possibly tipping off what pitches were going to be thrown. 

The report identified the device as an Apple Watch, but a Boston reporter says it was in fact a wearable by rival Fitbit.

“Turns out there was no Apple Watch involved in Red Sox sign stealing. It was a Fitbit product according to a major league source,” the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo said in a tweet Saturday. It wasn’t immediately clear which Fitbit product the Red Sox might have been using.

While there is no rule against stealing signs, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has said using electronic means to do so is a violation and the allegations are under investigation. The Red Sox have admitted to having trainers relay information from their replay staff to players using electronic devices, a strategy that was in place for weeks.

The Red Sox organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Solving for XX: The industry seeks to overcome outdated ideas about “women in tech.”

Special Reports: All of CNET’s most in-depth features in one easy spot.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/red-sox-may-have-used-fitbit-not-apple-watch-to-steal-signs/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Toys ‘R’ Us might declare bankruptcy soon

Amazon raked in an estimated $4 billion in toy sales last year, up 24 percent from 2015 according to analytics firm One Click Retail. That amount is over a third of what Toys ‘R’ Us brings in, which has seen five years of decline. Bargain competition and diving prices have hurt the toy giant’s attempts to recover.

Bain Capital, KKR Co. and Vornado Realty Trust engaged in a $7.5 billion leveraged buyout of Toys ‘R’ Us back in 2005 to take it private. The toy giant has struggled to emerge from under so much debt, which has blunted its expansions in physical and online storefronts. The company spent $100 million over the last few years to launch a new website this summer, but it still lags behind Target, Walmart, and most significantly, Amazon.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/18/toys-r-us-might-declare-bankruptcy-soon/

Lara Croft has a freaky neck in this ‘Tomb Raider’ poster

Archaeologically inclined video game and action movie character Lara Croft is known for her physical prowess, but a poster for the 2018 “Tomb Raider” takes things a little too far. Particularly her neck. Twitter users are having a blast commenting on the poster, which hit social media on Monday.

The poster shows Alicia Vikander as Croft. She holds an ice-climbing ax and appears to be standing in a body of water. She’s looking over her right shoulder, which requires an oddly proportioned turn of her neck. And that’s where Twitter is losing it, comparing the look to everything from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial to a giraffe.

Some fans are hoping she gets medical help:

Others are calling out the poster design as cliched for featuring a butt-toward-the-viewer pose:

One Twitter user sniffed out the likely truth behind this contortionist feat, and it has to do with Croft’s video game origins:

While the highly stylized poster looks like it might have been compiled from different images for the head and body, Croft does at least look thoroughly tough. “Tomb Raider” hits theaters in March 2018.

Blade Runner 2049

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/lara-croft-neck-tomb-raider-poster-twitter-alicia-vikander/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Lexicographer Samuel Johnson celebrated in Google Doodle


Johnson’s dictionary was nearly 18 inches tall.


Google celebrated the life of Samuel Johnson on Monday with an animated Doodle defining the word “lexicographer”.

Monday would have marked Johnson’s 308th birthday and was well known as a lexicographer himself, as well as a poet, essayist, critic and biographer.

It took him nine years of work to publish his “A Dictionary of the English Language” in 1755, and it remained the most well-renowned compendium of the language until the publication of the Oxford English Dictionary 150 years later. Johnson’s dictionary was nearly 18 inches tall upon its publication.

The Doodle is viewable in the UK, the US, Australia and a handful of other countries across Europe, Asia and North Africa. Other countries may be able to view a Doodle celebrating the 55th anniversary of Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park, and internet users in Chile will be able to view a Doodle designed for the country’s National Day.

Article source: https://www.cnet.com/news/lexicographer-samuel-johnson-celebrated-in-google-doodle/#ftag=CAD590a51e

Kevin Hart made a family-friendly mobile game

His new mobile game, Gold Ambush with Kevin Hart, looks like another piece of that upbeat empire. Featuring Hart, his wife Eniko, as well as children Heaven and Hendrix as playable characters, the game is a Temple-Run-meets-Clash-of-Clans combination in a medieval setting. It’s light on violence and big on Hart’s wide, cartoony grins. It should play right into his brand. But just days after issuing an emotional apology on Instagram to his wife and kids following rumors of infidelity — as reported by TMZ — the timing is poor.

“I’m making the game fun but I’m also making it family-friendly without forcing that down people’s faces,” he told Engadget in an interview conducted before his public confession. “It’s a game for everybody.”

The game was made by StandUp Digital, a self-described “celebrity mobile entertainment company” that Hart is a partner in, spun off from app developers Pinxter Digital.

As a game, Gold Ambush is not groundbreaking. Its mechanics mirror the endless runner, world building and tower defense games which overcrowd app stores. Pinxter says there will be inside jokes from Hart’s stand-up performances thrown in. But the key value-add is the mere presence of Hart, a man with 54.5 million Instagram fans, whose star is still rising.

Asked what’s different about this game, Hart responds: “What’s unique about this one is that you’ll be able to play with me and my family. You can pick me. That’s how you win. Cheat code: Kevin Hart.”

Hart says he’s been a gamer from the days of Super Mario Bros. on the NES as is a fan of the Madden NFL and NBA 2K series. His kids, meanwhile, are “big Minecrafters.” Recently, he’s been playing Mortal Kombat with his son.

“He’s big on the fighting games so he destroys me, but as a dad, you’ve got to sit there and just take it,” Hart says. “Talks trash to me the whole time, doesn’t teach me moves or nothing. But it’s good, it’s a good time.”

Has his knowledge of gaming helped with becoming a partner in a mobile entertainment company?

“Not at all,” Hart says. “This is a completely different world that I’m now getting educated on.”

Mobile gaming lines up with another aspect of Hart’s brand. Aside from being a fountain of energy and optimism, Hart portrays himself is as a business mogul who started stand-up comedy at 18 and is now building an entertainment empire. He’s far from the first celebrity to slap their name on a smartphone game, and even dabbled in a Doodle Jump-style app in 2011. But it wasn’t until last year that mobile gaming overtook PC and console gaming for the first time with revenues set to reach $46.1 billion — 42% of the gaming market — in 2017, according to Newzoo.

When our conversation turns to the amounts of cash in the sector right now, with games like Mobile Strike with Arnold Schwarzenegger delivering massive revenues, Hart lights up.

“It’s a lot of money. This is why I’m over here in the gaming world” he says, chuckling. “Welcome Kevin Hart. This is why I’m here. I want some of that. I want to do what they did.”

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2017/09/18/gold-ambush-with-kevin-hart-interview/