Android Pay and Google Wallet Merged to Form Google Pay

Google Pay Logo

Today at CES, Google announced that they are merging Android Pay and Google Wallet into a new app & service, Google Pay.  Google Pay will be the one-stop solution for making purchases online, at retailers, and through in-app purchases such as those found in Airbnb and Fandango.

The new solution has been in the works for the past year according to the Mountain View company and it will not only allow for you to make purchases but to also send funds to friends & family.  That’s the Google Wallet part of the equation for those who don’t recall.

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iHome Announces Google Assistant Enabled Smart Speaker

iHome iGV1 Smart Speaker

Long time accessories manufacture iHome has announced a new smart speaker powered by Google Assistant at CES 2018.  The new iGV1 looks similar in design to Google Home, albeit a bit shorter, with controls on the top of the device as well as a LED clock display on the side.

The iGV1 is equipped with WiFi connectivity as well as Bluetooth.  It also has a USB-A port for charging devices.  Unfortunately very little else was released about this new Google Assistant powered smart speaker.  It is unclear when it will be available or the pricing.

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Google Assistant Support Coming to Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Lineup

Schlage Sense Smart

Home deadbolt and locking manufacture Schlage has announced that Google Assistant support will be coming to their range of Sense Smart deadbolts in the coming months.  It will allow owners of the locks to use Assistant via their phone or Google Home devices to lock or unlock the deadbolt on their homes.

The integration with the Schlage locks and Google Assistant will also allow users to check if they locked the deadbolt.  Using voice commands, they can ask Assistant if the deadbolt is locked and, if it is not, will be prompted on if they want to lock it.  This can be done both inside the house as well as outside.  The idea being, if you were in a rush to get to the office in the morning and can’t remember if you locked the front door, you will be able to ask Assistant if you did and lock it remotely.

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Sony Announces the Refreshed Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra

Sony Xperia XA2 Ultra

Sony’s mid-range of Android phones are getting a refresh.  At CES 2018, the company announced that the Sony Xperia XA2 and XA2 Ultra and they are expected to be available in February.  These two phones are fundamentally the same when it comes to their internals with the XA2 Ultra sporting a 6″ display over the XA2’s 5.2″ display.  Both will render at 1920 x 1080 FHD and both are powered by the Snapdragon 630 SoC and 4GB of RAM.  Storage wise, you will have the option of 32GB or 64GB and there is a MicroSD expansion slot.

Camera wise, both have the same 23MP rear camera and both have 8MP, 120° wide angle selfie camera.  The XA2 Ultra adds a second front facing camera that has OIS despite the fact that the rear camera on either phone doesn’t have image stabilization.  Powering the Utra is a 3580mAh battery while the standard XA2 will have a 3300mAh battery.

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Acer Chromebook 11 Refresh Brings 10 Hours of Battery Life

Acer Chromebook 11 2018

The Chromebook parade continues in the hours leading up to CES 2018.  Acer, a long time manufacture of Chromebooks, has announced an updated version of the popular Acer Chromebook 11.  The 11.6″ display device will be available in April and will sport two models:  A touchscreen version (CB311-8H) and a non-touchscreen version (CB311-8HT).  Starting price will be around $250.

The updated Chromebook 11 will have the latest Intel Celeron processors although which ones exactly was not disclosed.  It will come with 4GB of RAM and either 16GB or 32GB or storage built into it.  It will also have dual stereo speakers and a HDR camera.

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Google’s Presence at CES Will Be Heavily Focused on Google Assistant

Google Assistant

For the first time in many years, Google will be at CES in Las Vegas this coming week.  It is the first time the company has had any real presence at the massive electronics show since 2015 but it has been a lot longer than that since they have had a booth.  Not only will they have a booth, a massive one in the Central Plaza, but it looks like they are going to be heavily focusing on Google Assistant during the show.

The company made a blog post yesterday, highlighting the growth of Google Assistant and Google home over the course of 2017.  Assistant is now available on 400 million devices and in a doze different countries.  But the takeaway from the post was the last paragraph.

No matter where you are, the Google Assistant is here to help you make the most of 2018. And next week, we have even more things in store for the Assistant at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, stop by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21) to check out some of our new integrations, devices, and the newest ways you can use your Assistant

It would appear that next week, we are going to see some announcements about Assistant and, potentially, some new hardware.

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Updated HP Chromebook 11 and 14 Models Announced Ahead of CES

HP Chromebook 14 G5

With CES 2018 next week, we are already starting to see some pre-show announcements.  HP jumped on that bandwagon today by announcing updated version of their HP Chromebook 11 and Chromebook 14.

The HP Chromebook 11 G6 is black with orange trim, sports a 180° hinge and is powered by the 7th generation Celeron N processors.  It will come standard with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.   The updated HP Chromebook 14 G5 will have a slightly better processor option, can be configured up to 8GB of RAM and has 64GB of storage.

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