Author: Greg Kumparak

Google Assistant is coming to Nest Cam IQ

TECHCRUNCH One more quick bit of news out of Nest’s press conference this morning: the company is adding support for Google’s voice-powered Assistant to the Nest Cam IQ line it debuted in March. The move is a natural one, of course: Google acquired Nest 3 years ago, and has been pushing hard into the home ever since. Google already uses Assistant to power its standalone Home speaker; with something like the Nest Cam IQ, they’ve got a device sitting there with a speaker and a microphone just waiting to go. Nest founder Matt Rogers says the update should roll...

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This is Nest’s new video doorbell

TECHCRUNCH We’re live at a Nest press conference in San Francisco, where the company is debuting new products rapid fire. The latest debut: Nest Hello, a smart video doorbell. If you’re familiar with existing products like the Ring video doorbell, this one is of a similar vein — just with all of Nest’s usual polish. It’s got a microphone/speaker rig built-in so you can communicate with whoever’s at your door — but, in a clever move, they’ve also provided pre-recorded quick responses for those times when shouting at your phone is inconvenient. Also super clever: Nap mode. Built with...

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BeeLine’s simple navigation device keeps cyclists headed in the right direction

TECHCRUNCH Lets say you’re roaming the city on your bike. You know your final destination — but you don’t necessarily care how you get there, or if your route is the shortest possible one. You just want to ride. That’s the idea behind BeeLine, a “fuzzy navigation” device for cyclists. You tell it where you want to go, and it constantly points you in that direction — but it doesn’t try to tell you exactly when and where to turn. The company showed off its product today in the TechCrunch Startup Battlefield at Disrupt SF 2017. BeeLine didn’t know they’d be competing on the main stage when they came to Disrupt. They came to be a part of the Startup Alley exhibition room, where they were voted into the “wildcard” slot by attendees roaming the hall. BeeLine latches onto your bike’s handlebars, a clever wrap design letting you put it on and take it off within a few seconds. When you’re not on your bike, you can pull off the BeeLine and attach it to your keyring to keep it out of the reach of would-be thieves. The built-in battery should last about 30 hours of use. It’s got an ePaper display, and a built-in accelerometer, digital compass, and gyroscope. BeeLine costs $129, and works with both iOS and Android. You use the smartphone companion app to set your...

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Pi wants to extend the reach of wireless charging

TECHCRUNCH Wireless charging isn’t new — but with the new iPhones picking it up as a feature, it’s about to get a huge boost in visibility. But wireless charging is still pretty limited, particularly in terms of where your device can be while pulling a charge. For the most part, “wireless charger” means “a pad you sit your device directly on”. Lift your phone a few centimeters off the pad, and charging stops. Pi, a company that debuted in the TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield this afternoon, wants to change that. It’s building a device — the aptly named Pi Charger...

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Future Family wants to make male fertility testing more accessible

TECHCRUNCH Back in June of this year, we wrote about a company called Future Family that aimed to simplify the world of female fertility testing, all while bringing down the cost of treatment options. But female fertility is but a part of the baby equation; it takes two to tango, as they say. With that in mind, Future Family is now offering fertility testing for men, as well, with a new product they call the Sperm Activity Test (or SAT.) They took the stage at TechCrunch Disrupt Battlefield to debut it for the first time. Here’s how it’ll work:...

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Conan jabs at the new iPhone’s facial recognition system

TECHCRUNCH [embedded content] The facial recognition system built into the iPhone raises plenty of questions. Can I fool it with a photo? (No.) Will it work if I’m sleeping and someone puts my iPhone up to my face? (It shouldn’t, unless you sleep with your eyes open.) Who better than Apple’s Craig Federighi to answer all these burning questions? No one — no one except for a fake Craig Federighi, perhaps. Conan just released a bit poking fun at Face ID, with Faux-derighi taking questions from a rather… interesting audience. For something thrown together in a little over a...

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The iPhone is officially getting wireless charging

TECHCRUNCH It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally happening: the iPhone is getting wireless charging. Apple just announced as much while debuting the iPhone 8. Perhaps most interesting: Apple didn’t go and make an all new standard here. They’re using Qi — an open standard that has been in the works for nearly a decade. That’s good news because lots of Qi chargers are already out there; many cars sold in the past few years, for example, have Qi charging pads built in. There are tons of third party Qi chargers already on the market. Hell, Ikea...

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Tesla flips a switch to increase the range of some cars in Florida to help people evacuate

TECHCRUNCH Tesla has pushed an over-the-air update to some of its vehicles in Florida that lets those cars go just a liiiittle bit further, thus helping their owners get that much further away from the devastation of Hurricane Irma. Wondering how that’s even possible? Up until a few months ago, Tesla sold a 60kWh version of its Model S and Model X vehicles — but the battery in those cars was actually rated at 75kWh. The thinking: Tesla could offer a more affordable 60kWh version to those who didn’t need the full range of the 75kWh battery — but to keep things simple, they’d just use the same 75kWh battery and lock it on the software side. If 60kWh buyers found they needed more range and wanted to upgrade later, they could… or if Tesla wanted to suddenly bestow owners with some extra range in case of an emergency, they could. And that’s what’s happening here. As first noticed by Tesla owners on Reddit, the company has pushed a “temporary update” to vehicles within the evacuation zones that bumps the 60kWh models up to 75kWh. On the road, according to Elektrek, this battery bump works out to about 30 miles of additional range on a full charge. If that little bit of range helps even one person avoid injury or get their loved ones out safely, I’d say its...

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