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10 months ago

Nest Aware, and why the Nest Cam subscription makes sense

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Nest Aware Subscription

You'd be hard-pressed to find a conversation about the new Nest Cam this week that doesn't include some form of unrest about the subscription portion of the product. Aside from the additional monthly cost, there's a significant chunk of users out there that don't understand why it is Nest doesn't offer the ability to manage Nest Cam locally, including storage the user might already own.

The answer to this question can be found in the features baked into Nest Aware, the not-quite-obligatory subscription service so many are unhappy with. A quick look at the features offers a lot of insight into why Nest Cam, and the Dropcams that came before it, is a cloud-only platform.

It's easy to get lost in "why can't they just" when talking about a product.

As users, we frequently mistake "cloud services" as code words for online storage and easy access. It's not entirely our fault, cloud storage is the service most commonly talked about in the consumer space. Cloud computing, where multiple servers in a data center somewhere process local data so your single local machine doesn't have to, is an entirely different set of technologies. Nest works hard to make it look like their services happen effortlessly, with a user interface that lets the user feel in control. At their core, however, Nest services need some help from the Internet in order to be useful, and relying on third-party services isn't always an option. In the case of Nest Cam, more specifically the Nest Aware service powering the camera, relying on a third party would be disastrous.

Nest Zone

Any web connected camera can grab video and store it to a NAS. Nest Cam offers a ton more than that. You can set up motion detection for specific areas the camera can see, zoom in and enhance a portion of the video for better facial recognition, and quickly assemble timelapse videos. All of this happens through Nest Aware, and it happens because Nest servers are processing your video in real time to offer these features. The physical Nest camera and your local software aren't doing any of this, and they can't. Your mobile device can't handle the kind of video processing necessary to do this sort of thing immediately, and making a local client for Nest to run on Windows/Mac/Linux would be a tremendous undertaking that would never result in a service that ran as smoothly as the current implementation of the Nest experience. The cost of Nest products would go up significantly, the Nest software would iterate at a significantly slower rate, and as a user you didn't actually gain anything.

Like the Nest Thermostat, this camera is designed to be something everyone can set up in seconds and use easily. There's no concern for existing hardware or software, it quite literally just works once you connect it to a wireless network. Where more technical folks seem to get hung up is the storage. As a part of Nest Aware, you can have either a 10-day backup for $100/year or a 30-day backup for $300/year, but there's no way to pull a local copy of that backup. Even the Nest Aware clip creator only lets you pull an hour of video at a time, any longer and the service switches to a timelapse mode. The lack of a functional long-term local backup means you have to trust the folks at Nest with your data, and when it comes to the security of your home that can be a big ask for some. When you factor in the additional image enhancement and total lack of user-side effort offered through Nest Aware, it's a system that makes a lot of sense if you let it.

Nest History

It's easy to get lost in "why can't they just" when talking about a product, but after a few days of using Nest Cam it's clear the folks at Nest are on the right path here. There's also nothing wrong with knowing Nest Cam isn't for you, and with an ever-growing list of Works with Nest products out there it's unlikely we'll go too long before seeing a competing product that plays well with other connected home tech. For its intended purpose, Nest gets the job done better than most. That happens because of services like Nest Aware, and it's important to keep that in mind when planning your next purchase.

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10 months ago

Best heavy duty cases for LG G4

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Best heavy duty cases for LG G4

The best rugged cases for the LG G4 must withstand the rigors of your daily environment — inside or out.

Not every case out there can hold up to the extremes of a busy lifestyle, where drops are commonplace and expected throughout your daily routine. Like it or not, heavy duty cases are important for those of us who require extra layers, screen covers, and sturdy belt clip holsters to get our LG G4 through to the next day.

If you're going the rugged route, you'll want to consider popping off your classy leather battery door and sticking with the standard, because you're going to get a better fit that you won't have to fight to install or remove. Preposterous, we know, but going the extra mile in protection demands a little compromise. And it's not as if you can't pop your leather door back on when the occasion calls for it.

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10 months ago

Pelican Protector and Voyager cases for the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

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Pelican Protector and Voyager cases for the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge

Most people need basic phone protection, then there are people who need Pelican cases.

The Pelican name is associated with protecting valuables — particularly electronics and camera gear — against basically anything you can think of, and its Protector and Voyager phone cases bring that idea down to your Galaxy S6. The two cases each offer something different, but are both a step above any "average" cheap case you can throw on your phone.

Extra protection, a specialized look and a name that you can trust is what you get with Pelican cases — here's what they look like for the Galaxy S6 and S6 edge.

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10 months ago

Samsung introduces the Level U Bluetooth headset for $69

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Samsung has introduced a new headset into their lineup of Level audio products, the Level U, a set of Bluetooth earbuds. The Level U headset wraps around the back of the wearer's neck, similar to the LG Tone Infinim headset. The Level U comes in to colors in the US: black sapphire and white.

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10 months ago

It's Canada Day! Save 20% on Android accessories through July 3

You heard right. Starting today, the folks at the ShopAndroid Canada store are offering 20% off absolutely everything.

There are many ways to celebrate Canada Day, whether it's rocking your favorite maple leaf tee, enjoying the local parade, or scooping up some sweet accessories for your Android device. Until midnight July 3, you can save 20% on a brand new case, charger, storage card and much more by using coupon code: 7115 during checkout.

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10 months ago

Olympus Air A01 to be available in the US in July with prices starting at $299

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Olympus has already announced the Air A01, a micro four-thirds style camera that is shaped to look just like a regular lens. Instead of using a regular camera body, users would compose images using their smartphone or tablet, which communicates with the unit through Wi-Fi and OA Central for Olympus Air app.

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10 months ago

The best Android gadgets of the week for June 28

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We've rounded up another week's worth of solid Android accessories. These connected devices recently hit the market or just went on preorder, and range the gamut of audio, video, wearables, cases, and anything in between. That said, we're confident you'll find something here to complement your Android phone or tablet. Let's dig in!

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10 months ago

House of Marley Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones review

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Marley Liberate XLBT Headphones

The travel-friendly design and unique characteristics of the Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones make them a great option for casual use when jamming out or taking calls.

There's a lot going on aesthetically with these headphones, but all together they look great and should fit comfortably over the ears of most users. After about a week's worth of rocking out with these puppies, there are some aspects that stand out — both good and not so good. Whether you've seen the Liberate XLBT Bluetooth Headphones before or not, our review should give you more detail on the build quality and how they sound, mon.

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11 months ago

Hands-on with Incipio Ghost 220 wireless charger

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The Ghost 220 is a wireless charger for a busy home.

The Incipio Ghost 220 provides wireless charging to two of your Qi-enabled devices, plus a third over a generic USB port. The base is wide enough to squeeze a Samsung Galaxy S6 and a tablet like the Nexus 7 side-by-side and charging. Individual indicator lights along the bottom show when a device is charging.

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11 months ago

Accessories for a successful Twitch broadcast

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Twitch

Out of the box, Twitch apps give you everything you need to go from playing a game to sharing a game with anyone willing to watch. If all you want is a place to stream your gameplay and maybe record some of your more impressive maneuvers, you're all set. If your goal is to build up an audience and offer commentary on what is happening in the game right now, there's a good chance you need a couple of accessories to make sure your broadcast is the best it could possibly be. With that in mind, we've put together a short list of things you might want to involve in your next broadcast.

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11 months ago

Hands-on with the puregear Folio Wallet Case for the Galaxy S6

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Leave the wallet at home with this stylish Galaxy S6 case.

The puregear Folio Wallet Case provides protection, style, and function to your Samsung Galaxy S6. Three slots on the front flip cover allow you to stash enough credit cards and ID for a quick run out the door. Press-through buttons provide full access to lock and volume keys, and strategic gaps allow the microUSB port, speaker, headphone jack, microphones, camera, flash, and heart rate sensor to peek through.

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11 months ago

The Pip-Boy included in the Fallout 4 Collector's Edition will fit the Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5

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Last week at E3 2015, Bethesda Softworks revealed plans to release a collector's edition of their upcoming post-apocalypse game Fallout 4, which will include a real Pip-Boy housing that allows you to slot your smartphone inside and wear it on your hand while using it in tandem with a second-screen app. Now the publisher has revealed that the Pip-Boy will come with foam inserts that will fit a number of smartphones, including Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S5.

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11 months ago

A quick look at the Qmadix X Series LITE for LG G4

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Care for a dose of dual layers that still keep your LG G4 on the slim side? The X Series LITE case serves it up nicely.

The fine folks over at Qmadix sent us their popular hybrid case for the LG G4 for a test run, and after week of doing its duty, we were pleasantly surprised of the extra grip it provided next its protective design that left little to worry about in the case of a drop.

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11 months ago

Accessories for a successful Periscope broadcast

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Accessories can upgrade your broadcasts.

With the number of people broadcasting on Periscope, you need to go above and beyond to really get noticed. If you're looking for a way to really enhance your broadcasts, then you've got to consider some of the accessories out there to help you do exactly that.

We've scoured the internet for some of the best accessories and we've got them listed here for your viewing pleasure.

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11 months ago

SanDisk's Ultra 200GB microSD card is now on sale for $239.44 at Amazon

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You can now purchase a 200GB microSD card from SanDisk on Amazon for the not-so-low price of $239.44.

In March during MWC 2015, we got some personal time with the freshly-announced SanDisk Ultra 200GB microSD card. Now, the card that packs a ton of storage in a tiny package is finally on sale on Amazon for $239.44.

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