Google Home Mini Isn’t Ready

Google Home Mini Isn’t Ready

Last year, I wrote, “Google Home is the most frustrating device I’ve ever reviewed.”

I saw potential in Google’s future but they weren’t executing on simple things. I was getting error messages with things like playing Spotify music. But the problem that bothered me most was that Google Calendar couldn’t be controlled through Google Home, even though Alexa devices could do this!

Google Home has matured since its inception in late 2016. The significant issues I faced have been resolved, and now both assistants are on a level playing field.

Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot are excellent devices.

Google’s basic smart home integrations from big companies (Nest, Ecobee, Philips, WeMo, IFTTT) work just as well as Alexa, with better setup and configuration. Google’s has superior intelligence, a nicer minimalistic design and a better speaker.

It should be an easy call, but no audio out, Bluetooth out, or Sonos integration on Home Mini is a killer for me.

Who should get Google Home Mini?

  • Anyone in the Google ecosystem (even just Chromecast owners).
  • Anyone using the small assistants as an add-on piece just for smart home tasks (only the assistant’s voice will be played on the speaker).
  • Anyone who is fine with slightly better than smartphone audio quality for their music (Home Mini isn’t good for music but is way better than Dot).

Home Mini is a much better as a standalone option, but that’s not how these are supposed to be used ideally.

Echo Dot is still the king and for the masses. You’ll get more integrations, ability to buy things on Amazon, you can set up customized routines, and you can use your own speakers.

And when Dots are $30 during the holidays and other Amazon events, how do you pass up buying a few?

Windows 8′s secret logon screen revealed

Windows 8′s secret logon screen revealed

Earlier, GeekSmack reported on registry keys confirming that Windows 8 will have a second, tile-based shell for tablets dubbed “Immersive”. Now, Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott have revealed the logon screen for this shell, which GeekSmack can independently confirm as real despite some misinformed rants about this being an April Fool’s day joke.

What this reveals to us is basically a Metro-inspired logon screen, akin to that of the Windows Phone. The display showcases the date, day of the week, icons for power management, and ease of access stuff. Rafael also notes that Microsoft will be building on this lock screen, allowing for a “pattern unlock” for tablet users similar to Android, and audio controls for music so you can easily control music playback whilst your tablet device is locked.

Rafael and Paul are sure to be revealing more of the hidden bits in Windows 8 throughout the coming weeks, so stay tuned!