Sep 6, 2019

New consumer gear debuts at Europe's largest tech show

An Android tablet running in "ambient mode." Photo: Google

Fall's big electronics show, IFA Berlin, kicked off with a flurry of announcements of new consumer tech.

Why it matters: Not only is IFA one of the world's biggest consumer electronics trade shows, but its early fall timing makes it a key launch point for devices that will arrive before the holidays.

Details: Google unveiled a new Ambient Mode for Google Assistant, basically a way to turn idle phones and tablets into Smart Displays. Initially it will work with some Lenovo tablets and Nokia phones.

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Google schedules Oct. 15 hardware event in NY

Google is expected to debut its latest homegrown hardware, including the widely leaked Pixel 4, at a just-announced Oct. 15 event in New York.

Why it matters: Fall is the key season for consumer electronics debuts, coming just ahead of the holidays. Apple and Samsung have already launched their latest, debuting the iPhone 11 family and Galaxy Note 10, respectively.

Keep ReadingArrowSep 16, 2019

Fall is tech's back-to-hardware season

A visitor photographs a display of curved OLED TVs at the LG stand at the 2019 IFA home electronics and appliances trade fair. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

You wouldn't have known it from the summer heat this weekend in the Bay Area, but Silicon Valley's fall hardware season is upon us in full force — with giant companies scrambling to seize a bigger slice of the consumer electronics pie even as the pie itself isn't growing as fast as it used to.

Why it matters: The winter holidays remain the biggest shopping season and consumer electronics are always a hot category, including TVs, smartphones and other gadgets. However, the mix of how much consumer spending goes to each category can vary significantly from year to year.

Go deeperArrowSep 16, 2019

Amazon brings Alexa to more devices

Last year's Echo lineup on sale in a Washington, D.C. Amazon store. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Amazon unveiled a slew of new Alexa-powered devices Wednesday, updating its smart display and smart speaker lines and adding earbuds and other new products to the lineup.

Why it matters: Getting Alexa in more places is a key to the company's broader strategy, and competition from Google and others is increasing.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019