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Show #2018-243 December 5, 2018

I love this time of year. All the manufacturers working day and night to put new products out on the market so all the tech toy lovers will have lots of choices for Christmas.

So where to start? How about a set of voice speakers, or if you will, smart speakers. They have been big sellers over the past couple of holiday seasons, and it looks like they’ll be popular once again, “especially since Amazon released several new products a couple of weeks ago.” In the same category are smart displays which is a screen with all of the smart-speaker features built into it, like the newest iteration of the Echo Show. With a larger screen and louder speaker than the first-generation Show, this device is better equipped to play TV shows or movies from Amazon Prime Video or Amazon Music; however, you need an Amazon Prime account in order to access most of these features.

Google is also launching a new voice-activated speaker display for the holidays, called the Home Hub. This one connects to your Google account, so it can do things like display pictures from Google Photos or play your favourite YouTube videos, along with more standard Google Assistant tasks, like reading out your daily schedule or telling you what traffic on your commute will look like through Google Maps. One advantage of the Google devices over the Amazon ones is that you don’t need to pay for any subscriptions to enjoy most of the functionality, but as far as which of these two smart displays to buy, they’re pretty much the same.

Also new this year are smart-home devices, like smart doorbells, which can be controlled by voice-activated devices like Echo or Google Assistant.

Sure, it’s not as cuddly as a teddy bear, but it’s just a matter of reframing your thoughts on what makes a good gift. Maybe your mother or grandmother would find something like a security camera offers a lot of conveniences to say nothing about peace of mind.

Reporting for Computer Insider, I’m Bob Pritchard

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Show #2018-243 December 5, 2018