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Amazon Echo Plus, Echo Dot (White) Released in India; New Doorbell, Motion Sensor APIs Introduced

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After being launched last month, Amazon has made the Echo Plus and Echo Dot White colour variant available in stock in India. The Echo Dot Grey variant and Echo Sub variants are still listed to be available late October and mid-November respectively. Separately, Amazon has introduced new APIs for developers to support more smart home functionalities into Echo and Alexa-enabled devices. The new Doorbell Event Source, Alexa.RTCSessionController and Motion Sensor APIs will enable users to connect their doorbell press and camera motion sensors to Alexa. This will allow Alexa to shout out when someone is at the door, and turn on voice announcements for the smart home camera, and even allow it detect motion in the house.

Last month, Amazon launched a slew Echo products at its Alexa event, and made a few of them available in India as well. Most of the devices were up for pre-order, and still are, but the Echo Plus and Echo Dot White variant is finally in stock on Amazon. In India, the third-gen Echo Dot (Grey and Black) is listed to be in stock from October 25, and the Echo Sub is said to arrive on November 14. The Echo Plus and the third-gen Echo Dot (White) are in stock, with delivery promised by tomorrow for Prime members. The Echo Dot (3rd generation) is priced at Rs. 4,499, the Echo Plus is priced at Rs. 14,999, and the Echo Sub is priced at Rs. 12,999. As part of the Amazon Great Indian Festival offers, the e-commerce giant is offering the Echo Dot at a discounted rate of Rs. 2,999 and the Echo Plus at a discounted rate of Rs. 11,999. Echo Show and Echo Input were also announced, and are expected to come to India soon, while the Echo Auto, Echo Link, and Echo Link Amp are three interesting products that aren’t coming to India at this point.

In the US as well, the Echo Plus and the Echo Dot are in stock and other devices are back-ordered, with the Sub shipping in late October, and the Echo Show shipping from November 6. Amazon is allowing users to buy the devices, but delivery is promised at a later date. The US availability was first spotted by Android Police.

 

Separately, Amazon has introduced the new Doorbell Event Source, Motion Sensor, and 2-Way Communication (Alexa.RTCSessionController) APIs to enable Alexa to make voice announcements regarding someone at the door, motion detection in smart home cameras, and build a two-way link between smart display devices like the Echo Show and Echo Spot. These can be used in the US only currently, and other region support will be added soon. “Customers can also set up smart home automations using doorbell or motion events like turning on lights, playing music or custom announcements using Routines within the Alexa app,” Amazon noted on its developer blog.

Smart devices from Ring and August have already implemented Doorbell and Motion Sensor APIs, and the 2-Way communication API has been implemented by Ring, while August is looking to implement it soon. For the 2-Way Communication API, Amazon notes that “it currently supports only WebRTC compliant cameras or 3Ps who use a WebRTC bridge to connect to Alexa. Alexa voice commands are currently only available for full duplex cameras. Half duplex cameras will have push to talk capabilities on the Echo Show or Echo Spot.”


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Nike Adapt Self-Lacing Smart Sneaker Will Require Regular Charging

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Nike has found a new way to capture more information about its customers: through their sneakers.

At an event called the “Future of Footwear,” Nike unveiled a new shoe concept, called Nike Adapt, that tracks performance in real time, allowing the company to give weekend warriors athletic tips and also sell them more products.

“It’s the start of a new day,” said Michael Donaghu, Nike’s director of global footwear innovation. “It’s like we’re moving from footwear to firmwear.”

 

The shoes, with their data-tracking capability, present customers with a choice about privacy — if they opt not to share their data, they’ll miss out on a lot of the product’s capabilities. The company is starting with basketball shoes, which will sell for $350 (roughly Rs. 25,000).

The shoe self-tightens to an athlete’s preference – there are no laces – and is adjustable via an app. The products carry sensors, accelerometers and gyroscopes that can give Nike a full, personalized snapshot of its owner’s performance. They’ll need recharging every two weeks.

“It’s like having two smartphones strapped to your two feet,” said Michael Martin, Nike’s global head of digital products.

CEO Mark Parker discussed the new shoes in vague terms in December, calling it a “major step” in taking Nike’s new digital emphasis and embedding it into actual product.

Nike stores are also going digital. The company calls new flagship locations unveiled two months ago in New York and Shanghai “Houses of Innovation.” They blend online shopping with the in-person experience. To get the full experience, you essentially have to download the Nike app.

Nike is in the midst of a digital transformation. A large part of that is trying to get more of its customers to become members of the NikePlus loyalty program. The company has found members spend three times more than nonmembers when they shop at Nike.com.

Though Nike has seen rapid growth in apparel sales, shoes still accounted for 61 percent of the company’s $36.4 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

Nike auto-lacing shoes have been around since 2017, when the company sold a limited number of low-top sneakers for $720, the most expensive shoes it ever released.

These shoes will be available through Nike’s direct channels, and through retailers, and will debut in the NBA on the feet of Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum later this week.

The shoe’s technology is can be updated through the app, meaning its capabilities can change after it’s purchased. The Beaverton, Oregon-based company plans to release more products with the Adapt technology, including running shoes, sportswear and lifestyle items.

“The advantages we’re looking to provide the athlete are so substantial that you’ll see a mass of people wanting to make use of those benefits,” Martin said.

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Microsoft Says Will Set Up 10 AI Labs, Train 5 Lakh Youth in India

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Microsoft India to set up Artificial Intelligence (AI) labs in 10 universities and train five lakh youth across the country in disrupting technologies.

The company also said it will upskill over 10,000 developers over the next three years.

“We believe AI will enable Indian businesses and more for India’s progress, especially in education, skilling, healthcare and agriculture,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

 

Microsoft AI today is fuelling digital transformation for over 700 customers and 60 per cent customers are large manufacturing and financial services enterprises.

Over 700 partners have geared up to support the AI ecosystem, said the company.

Microsoft in December announced a three-year “Intelligent Cloud Hub” collaborative programme in India, for empowering institutes to skill students in AI and Cloud technologies.

India is one of the first countries to have such a programme in which Microsoft will support selected institutes that have the best-in-class infrastructure, curriculum and content, onsite training for faculty and students, access for participating students to Cloud and AI services, developmental tools and developer support.

In April 2018, the company announced the Microsoft Professional Programme (MPP) for the public.

This programme is helping in providing job-ready skills along with real-world experience to engineers as well as others who plan on improving their skills in AI and data science, using a series of online courses.

“Microsoft also believes that it is imperative to build higher awareness and capabilities on security, privacy, trust and accountability,” said Maheshwari.

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TP-Link Launches New Wi-Fi 6 Routers at CES 2019 With Something at Every Price Point

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TP-Link has announced five new next-generation wireless products at CES 2019. All these routers are based on Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with prices ranges from the affordable entry-level routers to expensive wireless routers meant for gaming. In December last year, TP-Link had introduced its first two Wi-Fi 6 routers based on Broadcom platforms. With its latest announcement at CES 2019, the company seems keen on bringing more Wi-Fi 6 products for everyone.

The new TP Link Deco X10 is a mesh networking-based wireless router. It comes in a pack of two (one main unit and a satellite), priced at $349.99 (roughly Rs. 24,340). It offers a wireless bandwidth of up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band.

The company has also announced a new Archer AX11000 gaming wireless router. It is a tri-band wireless router capable of a maximum wireless throughput of up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz bands and up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. TP-Link had added USB Type-C and USB Type-A ports to enable storage sharing across the network. The router will sell at $449.99 (roughly Rs. 31,300) and will be available later this month.

 

TP-Link’s new Archer AX6000 is a dual-band wireless router that offers features similar to the Archer AX11000 and is shipping right away. It includes a 2.5Gbps WAN port so in case you have a high-speed broadband connection, but you don’t play games, this might be the right router for you as it costs $100 (roughly Rs. 6,954) less than the Archer AX11000.

The basic TP-Link Archer AX1800 brings Wi-Fi 6 at an affordable price point. The Archer AX1800 is a dual-band wireless router which comes with a Gigabit WAN port and a USB 2.0 port to share data across the network. The router is priced at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 9,040). It will be available later this year.

TP-Link has also announced a new wireless range extender at CES 2019. The RE705X Wi-Fi range extender is a dual-band repeater which is priced at $99.99 (roughly Rs. 6,953). It will ship in the third quarter of 2019.

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