Microsoft’s Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

Microsoft's Cortana Assistant Gains IFTTT Integration, Supports More Smart Home Products

In a bid to expand into the growing home automation market, Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana will now support more smart home devices and integrate with IFTTT – a free web-based platform that helps users connect their apps and services together, the company has announced.

Cortana now supports devices from ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, Honeywell Total Connect Comfort, LIFX, TP-Link Kasa and Geeni.

Cortana running on Windows 10 Operating System (OS), iPhone, Android and the Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, can be used to control these devices.

“Say ‘Hey Cortana, set the living room thermostat to 72 degrees’ to control your ecobee, Honeywell Lyric, or Honeywell Total Connect Comfort thermostat. With vivid colours from your LIFX Wi-Fi connected light bulbs, you can set the mood just right for movie night,” the company wrote in a blog post late on Friday.

To set up their connected home with the digital assistant, users need to open Cortana on Windows 10 or go to the Cortana app on their phone, click Notebook and then click Connected Home.

“From there, you can connect your favourite smart home accounts and control your devices from anywhere you use Cortana,” the post added..

The tech giant also announced Cortana’s support for IFTTT.

IFTTT (If This Then That) is both a website and a mobile app that was launched in 2010.

“Using IFTTT, you will be able to customise your experience by creating your own phrases to use with services on IFTTT. You can also use Applets on IFTTT with Cortana to trigger multiple actions with one phrase,” Microsoft said.


Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products

Apple, Epson Face French Legal Complaints Over Allegedly Shortening Life of Products


  • A French consumer association filed preliminary, legal complaints
  • Apple is already facing lawsuits in the US
  • Planned obsolescence is illegal in France

Smartphone maker Apple and Japanese printer company Epson are facing legal complaints in France over allegedly speeding up the ageing process of their products to stimulate demand.

A French consumer association called “HOP” – standing for “Stop Planned Obsolescence” – filed preliminary, legal complaints in court against the two groups over the charges.

HOP said it filed its complaint against Apple in Paris on Wednesday. A prosecutor opened an investigation into Epson last month, a judicial source said on Thursday, following a complaint filed in September by HOP in a court in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

Laetitia Vasseur, co-founder of HOP, told Reuters the aim of both complaints was to apply the French consumer law, which was modified in 2015 to include the notion of planned obsolescence.

Apple is already facing lawsuits in the United States over accusations of having defrauded iPhone users by slowing down devices without warning to compensate for poor battery performance.

These lawsuits came after Apple said last week that operating system updates released since “last year” for the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7 included a feature “to smooth out” power supply from batteries that are cold, old or low on charge.

Phones without the adjustment would shut down abruptly because of a precaution designed to prevent components from getting fried, Apple said.

Under French law, companies risk fines of up to 5 percent of their annual sales for deliberately shortening the life of their products to spur demand to replace them.

A spokeswoman for Epson France said Epson denied the charges made against it by the HOP association. She added that Epson was working with authorities on the matter and that the quality of its products was of the utmost importance for the company.

Officials for Apple France could not be immediately reached for comment.


7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

Image result for 7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000ET Wealth lists 7 interesting tech products and accessories available under Rs 1,000.

What can you get for a thousand bucks? There are some very interesting products and accessories available in this price bracket that often get lost in the crowd of listings. ET Wealth lists the items worth considering from amongst the swarm.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

Depending on your router placement and area of your home/office, there might be areas where WiFi does not reach or has poor reception. For such areas, you can get the WiFi Repeater 2 from Xiaomi. It needs to be connected to a USB port for power (any wall charger can be used). Setup is easy via the Mi Home app and once its configured, it extends your WiFi network coverage. The repeater can support up to 16 devices simultaneously.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

MI VR PLAY: Rs 999
There are a plethora of VR headsets available today in both the online and offline markets. However, we recommend the one from Xiaomi for its fantastic build quality. The headset has a Lycra cover for comfort and durability and can support up to 5.7-inch smartphones. Instead of the usual clip-on design, it has a zipper to hold the phone to avoid accidental slips and drops plus a textured metal button on top. The headset is compatible with Google Cardboard and works great for YouTube 360 degree videos as well.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

PHOTRON FL100: Rs 199
A number of brands have started adding an LED flash on the front of the phone for selfie lovers. If your smartphone lacks this feature, you can add it. The Photron FL100 is a small flash module with 16 LEDs with three level of adjustable brightness. It can be fixed on your smartphone’s 3.5mm port for selfies as well as use as an emergency torch. It has a rechargeable battery and it charges via microUSB port.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

With the number of devices we carry increasing day by day, you need multiple ports for charging devices. For people who spend a a lot of time travelling in their car on a daily basis, this car charger offers 4 USB ports for charging. It has a 1.5m cable that is accessible by people sitting on the back seat. It has 6A charging capacity. Depending on the number of devices connected, it can charge at 1A to 2.4A (more devices will lead to slower charge as current is distributed).

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

This is a combination of two things—a pop clip and a mount. The pop clip sticks on the back of your phone and can be used for grip, stand or as a headphone cable organizer. The mount can be stuck on any surface which is easily accessible (your desk, in your car etc.) and the pop clip fits on to it. This lets you mount your smartphone anywhere. You can get them in various colours and designs and the Pop Clip can even be purchased separately if required.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

One of the common complaint users with heavy work requirements have is that their laptops tend to get uncomfortably hot. If the laptop becomes too hot it even shuts down on its own to prevent any damage. To solve this issue, you can invest in a USB powered laptop cooler. Just place the laptop cooler on your laptop’s heat vents and connect it to a USB port for power. The laptop cooler has a silent fan that sucks out the hot air from your laptop to keep it cool.

7 useful tech products and accessories under Rs 1,000

There are multiple options available when you look for a dock or stand for your mobile in a car. For bike users it’s a different story. They have to keep the phone protected from dust and water so mounting using a standard clamp is not recommended. Instead, get a waterproof mobile stand. It has a weather sealed pouch in which your phone can be placed for protection and has a touch compatible transparent membrane on top for viewing and operating the touchscreen.


AMD wants some LG, Vizio products banned in US as part of patent infringement complaint

AMD wants some LG, Vizio products banned in US as part of patent infringement complaint

We’re used to hearing about patent infringement cases in the tech world, but recent years have seen most of these high-profile lawsuits involve Apple and Samsung. Now, semiconductor manufacturer AMD has filed a patent complaint. The firm has requested the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) investigate claims that several companies infringed its graphics processing patents.

The complaint, which was filed last month, accuses MediaTek, LG, Vizio, and Sigma Designs of manufacturing products that infringe on two patents filed by ATI (acquired by AMD in 2006) and one from AMD itself. The infringements relate to technologies such as unified shaders, graphics processing architecture, and parallel pipeline graphics systems.

As reported by Anandtech, the unusual part of this complaint is that these companies license their GPU tech from third party developers like Imagination and ARM. But, given that it’s easier to sue over physical products than ideas, AMD is suing the manufacturers instead.

Some of the alleged infringing products include MediaTek’s Helio P10 SoC that’s used in certain LG smartphones, such as the LG X Power, as well as Sigma’s SX7 (STV7701) SoC for UHD TVs with HDR support, which is used by Vizio in its high-end televisions.

AMD points out that both Samsung and GlobalFoundries have licensed its IPs covered by the patents in question. The company states that anyone infringing on its patents damages legitimate licensees of AMD intellectual property.

AMD wants the infringing devices banned from import and sale in the US, which would affect multiple products from LG and Vizio. Expect this case to spend quite a few years in the courts.