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Samsung Intros Family Hub and SmartThings Energy for Next-Gen Connected Living

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Samsung Gulf Electronics unveiled the groundbreaking features of the Family Hub Refrigerator, marking a new era in connected and sustainable living, during an exclusive event at Akira Back in Dubai. The refrigerator is equipped with cutting-edge technology, designed to enhance connectivity and entertainment for families right in their kitchens. With AI features that automate meal planning and other daily tasks to deliver a more personalised experience, the Family Hub refrigerator is the industry’s smartest fridge and the future of connected homes. Through the SmartThings App, the Family Hub seamlessly links various smart devices, allowing users to turn the linked devices on/off, adjust settings, coordinate activities, and limit power usage. Moreover, users can listen to music, watch TV, and easily share pictures, videos and handwritten notes among family members right from the fridge’s screen.

DooHee Lee, President of Samsung Gulf Electronics, said, “At Samsung, we believe that connected home technology can transform lives and make them more convenient, connected, and sustainable. With the Family Hub refrigerator, we are transforming the kitchen into a shared, connected experience that goes beyond preparing meals into the new epicentre for the smart home. We have also worked with partners to bring even more experiences directly on the appliance, including online shopping, food recipes, home security and more.”

The Family Hub refrigerator, equipped with 22 apps, revolutionises smart living, offering users a comprehensive home view. The SmartThings Video widget facilitates easy front door monitoring and access to multiple security cameras for a seamless household overview. Enhanced by AI image recognition, the View Inside internal camera lets users check fridge contents on key shelves via their smartphone or home screen. It streamlines shopping by displaying items without opening the door. Users can tag expiration dates, create lists, and set reminders.

Chef Giovanni Ledon at the launch of SmartThings Energy

The Samsung Food app simplifies cooking with over 10,000 recipes across 32 cuisines, leveraging Food AI technology. The Smart Recipes feature provides a personalised weekly meal planner based on user preferences and fridge contents. Transforming the kitchen atmosphere, the Family Hub refrigerator functions as a virtual jukebox with a 25W speaker. Doubling as a multimedia hub, it mirrors content from Samsung Smart TVs and phones onto its touchscreen. With connectivity for up to 6 screens, users can sync calendars, prepare briefs, stay informed, and effortlessly share media and notes, creating entertaining and connected kitchen experiences.

Samsung also demonstrated how its innovations enable a sustainable, connected future as the world gathers in Dubai for the COP28 climate conference. At the event, Samsung highlighted how its SmartThings Energy platform facilitates a transformative approach to energy conservation, highlighting its potential to bring positive changes to UAE homes by significantly reducing costs and improving quality of life.

SmartThings Energy is a new tool within the SmartThings app that allows consumers to take control of their energy consumption with monitoring, target-setting, and notifications of their Samsung appliances and HVAC systems. The ‘AI Energy Mode’ within the app employs artificial intelligence to optimise energy usage in Samsung products, enabling up to 70% in energy savings.

Advanced algorithms in SmartThings Energy can weigh laundry loads, set defrost cycles, estimate electricity bills, and detect open refrigerator doors or room temperature changes, empowering users to cut costs and reduce consumption. SmartThings Energy is the first platform of its kind to earn ENERGY STAR certification for a Smart Home Energy Management System from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“As discussions continue at COP28, Samsung is proud of our contributions to a more sustainable future for the region. We’re committed to developing eco-conscious products that help our customers conserve energy and build a more sustainable future for their families. From the ENERGY STAR ratings in many of our products to home appliances globally recognised for meeting the most rigorous energy-efficiency standards, we strive to deliver technologies that consumers can confidently use to save energy and reduce their carbon footprint. We are empowering our customers with smart home solutions that are not only innovative but also responsible towards the environment by enabling them to monitor and control their home’s energy consumption and receive tips on how to save energy and money,” President Lee added.

Samsung works with smart home and IoT device manufacturing partners like Aqara and technology integrators such as iSmartHome to craft the ultimate connected home that is safe, personalised and sustainable. The company demonstrated how the Phillips Hue smart lighting, ABB remote-controlled curtains and intelligent AC systems connect with Samsung SmartThings to elevate users’ lifestyles. The entire ecosystem is managed through a simplified interface on the Smart Hub, the new epicentre for the smart home.

SmartThings aligns with the increased interest in smart homes among UAE residents and, more broadly, with the UAE’s vision for Smart Cities. By connecting various devices and appliances throughout the house, Samsung demonstrates how users can create a smart, sustainable lifestyle tailored to their needs. The Smart Home market in the UAE is poised to achieve a robust yearly growth rate of 11.13%, projecting a market volume of $113.8 million by 2028. Today, Samsung has 2.3 million registered SmartThings users in the UAE alone.  The trends reflect a surge in the demand for smart home technology, propelled by the nation’s emphasis on innovation and luxury living. Through SmartThings, Samsung enables new experiences, healthier living, better entertainment, and more sustainable lifestyles.

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Audio Devices

Sonos Ace Headphones Review: A Stylish Entry with Excellent Performance

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Sonos, the renowned home audio brand, took a bold step into the world of personal audio by introducing the Sonos Ace headphones. This premium, over-ear wireless headphones boast a sleek design, active noise cancellation (ANC), and the promise of signature Sonos sound.

Design and Comfort
Sonos doesn’t disappoint when it comes to aesthetics. The Ace headphones exude a minimalist elegance. Available in black and soft white, they feature a matte finish with metallic accents. The build quality feels substantial, with a mix of plush memory foam earcups and a sturdy, lightweight frame. These headphones are comfortable to wear for extended periods, thanks to the generous earcup padding and a well-distributed weight balance.

Controls and Functionality
Sonos opts for physical buttons over the now-commonplace touch controls. A multi-function “Content Key” on the right earcup handles playback, volume, and track skipping. A separate button cycles through ANC modes and voice assistant activation. The buttons offer a satisfying tactile response, a welcome change from the finicky nature of touch controls.

The Sonos app, though not as feature-rich as some competitors’ offerings, provides basic controls such as ANC adjustments and a five-band EQ, which allows for some sound customisation. One notable feature is multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to connect to two devices simultaneously. This is a convenient feature for users who switch frequently between phones and laptops.

Sound Quality
The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly. For audiophiles, the Sonos Ace offers an outstanding soundstage.

The ANC is excellent, effectively blocking out low-frequency noise such as aeroplane hum and traffic rumble. Call quality is also very good, with the built-in microphones doing an adequate job of picking up your voice during calls.

Battery Life and Connectivity
Sonos boasts a stellar battery life of 30+ hours with ANC turned on. This is a major plus for frequent travellers and long listening sessions. The headphones use Bluetooth 5.3, offering a reliable connection with minimal latency.

A unique feature of the Sonos Ace is its potential integration with the Sonos ecosystem. The app allows you to switch seamlessly between the headphones and your Sonos home speakers. This functionality is currently limited, but future updates could unlock features such as using the headphones as surround sound speakers for your Sonos home theatre setup.

Verdict
The Sonos Ace headphones are a solid first entry into the wireless headphone market. They boast excellent noise cancellation, a comfortable design, and long battery life. The sound quality is quite good, too. The potential for deeper integration with the Sonos ecosystem is intriguing, however, the hefty price tag might deter some budget-conscious consumers.

If you’re a Sonos loyalist looking for a pair of stylish headphones with excellent ANC and good sound quality, the Sonos Ace is a compelling option, especially if the promise of future ecosystem integration appeals to you. The Sonos Ace headphones are a promising debut with a clear focus on comfort, noise cancellation, and design. They offer a well-rounded listening experience with the potential for exciting future developments within the Sonos ecosystem.

Price: AED 2099

Sonos Ace Headphones AED 2099
  • Final Rating
4

Summary

The Sonos Ace delivers a pleasant listening experience. The sound signature leans towards the warm side, with a satisfying bass presence without overwhelming the mids and highs. The instruments are well-defined, and the vocals come through clearly.

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Apple Detects Spyware Targeting iPhones in Multiple Countries

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Apple has issued a second spyware attack warning to iPhone users in 98 countries, raising concerns about the growing threat to mobile security. This follows a similar alert in April targeting users in 92 countries.

While specific details about the latest attacks remain under wraps, the alert serves as a stark reminder of the evolving threat landscape. India is one confirmed country where users received the notification.

Spyware, a particularly invasive type of malware, can grant attackers complete access to an iPhone, including encrypted messages, audio, and video. The notorious Pegasus spyware from NSO Group is a well-known example.

“Apple detected that you are being targeted by a mercenary spyware attack that is trying to remotely compromise the iPhone associated with your Apple ID -xxx-,” Apple wrote in its new spyware alert.

Adding to the concern, researchers recently revealed the return of LightSpy, a “particularly dangerous” campaign capable of pinpointing a target’s location with “near-perfect accuracy.”

The worrying aspect of these attacks is their ability to exploit “zero-click” vulnerabilities, meaning infection can occur without any user interaction, such as opening a malicious link or attachment.

This highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and following Apple’s security recommendations, which may include updating your device to the latest iOS version.

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Gadgets

Acer Launches Chromebox Mini

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As the digital landscape evolves, businesses are increasingly seeking ways to engage with audiences. Digital signage and interactive kiosks are at the forefront of this trend, with the market expected to reach $30.56 billion by 2028. Acer addresses this demand with mini-PCs designed for digital signage and kiosks. Their Chromebox Mini CXM1 is a secure and reliable mini-PC that can drive up to three displays simultaneously. It’s compact, silent, and features the latest connectivity options like Wi-Fi 6E and Gigabit Ethernet.

Powered by ChromeOS, the Chromebox Mini CXM1 offers fast deployment, automatic updates, and long-term support. Additionally, the cloud-based Google Admin console allows for remote management and customization. The Chromebox Mini CXM1 complements Acer’s existing line-up of digital signage solutions, including Large Format Displays (LFDs). Acer offers LFDs in various configurations, from high-resolution 4K displays to interactive whiteboards. These LFDs seamlessly integrate with the Chromebox Mini CXM1 using a VESA mounting kit.

Acer’s large format displays are designed for consistent performance and stunning clarity. They cater to various needs, including promotional signage, education, and corporate collaboration. With robust management tools and automated security, Acer displays require minimal maintenance, allowing businesses to focus on creating engaging content. Acer’s Chromebox Mini CXM1 and LFDs provide businesses with a comprehensive suite of tools for impactful advertising, information sharing, and customer interaction.

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