’Tis the season for AI apps and AI gadgets

By RockedBuzz 20 Min Read

Hi, buddies! Welcome to Installer No. 21, your information to the greatest and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new right here, welcome, sorry for all the dangerous jokes, and additionally you possibly can learn all the previous editions at the Installer homepage.) 

I’ve been in Vegas all week for CES, the annual extravaganza of gadgets and gizmos aplenty, whozits and whatsits galore. Most of what’s right here isn’t but obtainable for buy (and numerous it by no means will probably be), however I really like getting a peek into what the tech trade is dreaming about, so I figured I ought to share a few of the greatest new stuff right here. I’ve additionally been studying about how Cyberpunk 2077 turned into a hit, studying some new tech minimalism ideas, watching Patriot and rewatching Archer, and making an attempt out a brand new homescreen format after discovering the Blank Spaces app for iOS.

I even have for you some superior updates to previous apps, a few motion pictures value streaming this weekend, all the AI silliness you could possibly think about, an Android launcher value making an attempt, and far more. Big week, numerous gadgets! Let’s go.

(As at all times, the greatest a part of Installer is your concepts and ideas. What are you into proper now? What ought to everybody else be into proper now? Tell me every thing: [email protected]. And if you wish to get Installer in your inbox a day early, subscribe right here.)


/ A weekly e-newsletter by David Pierce designed to inform you every thing you have to obtain, watch, learn, hearken to, and discover that matches in RockedBuzz’s universe.

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The Drop

The GPT Store. I nonetheless hate that we’ve allowed “GPT” to turn out to be the normal title for AI instruments. But alas. OpenAI’s app retailer is already stuffed with GPTs that can assist you with analysis, brainstorming, tattoo design for some purpose, and heaps extra. Lots of enjoyable stuff to play with.Clear 2. The authentic Clear launched greater than a decade in the past, and there’s nonetheless no to-do record app as enjoyable to make use of. I’m digging the new model (which is iPhone and iPad-only), too, with all its customizable colours and icons and sounds. True Detective Season 4. Some of True Detective has been near-perfect tv. Some of it has been, uh, dangerous. But I’ve excessive hopes for this season, each as a result of Jodie Foster and Kali Reis are starring and as a result of “mysterious disappearance in an Alaska research station” is a premise you simply can’t damage. BBEdit 15. The 30-year-old textual content editor retains chugging alongside, and it retains being nice. The new model has some power-user organizational instruments, a extremely neat ChatGPT interface, and my favourite new factor: a mini map that makes it approach simpler to seek out stuff in an enormous doc.Ayaneo Next Lite. I’m satisfied 2024 goes to be The Year of The Gaming Handheld, as the complete tech world tries to repeat and one-up the Switch and Steam Deck. Ayaneo had been good at this for some time, and there’s some weirdness round the SteamOS-ness of this one, however it appears prefer it is perhaps a winner.Killers of the Flower Moon. It’s lastly streaming! I sit up for watching this film 25 minutes at a time on Apple TV Plus, hopefully ending it proper earlier than it wins a bunch of Oscars. Hey Calendar. I churned out of Hey’s email app after some time as a result of whereas it has numerous good concepts, it was simply an excessive amount of change in my e-mail setup. Calendar strikes a greater steadiness: it’ll import your different occasions, however then has a ton of good UI and options (like behavior monitoring! I really like behavior monitoring!) on prime. App Store shenanigans apart, that is only a very nice app.Dunkey’s Guide to Streaming Services. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that the streaming TV panorama actually is as silly because it appears. We reside in a golden period of content material, besides nothing is smart, it’s all too costly and difficult, and god show you how to for those who simply wish to watch a Spider-Man film.Self Reliance. This film was mainly made for me in a lab: I really like Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick, I’m a sucker for the foolish premise a few dark-web actuality TV present, and I really like a very good comedy slash thriller slash meta commentary on the fashionable world. This is prime of my Hulu watch record for the weekend.


As I discussed above, it’s CES time! Usually I spend this week wandering round Las Vegas testing neat new gadgets, devising methods for convincing my spouse that we completely want a 98-inch TV that prices as a lot as a home, and making an attempt to determine what enjoyable tendencies we’re going to see over the subsequent 12 months.

This 12 months, it was each apparent and under no circumstances shocking what everybody’s interested by. It’s AI. It’s automobiles. It’s automobiles with AI. It’s headphones and good rings and robotic bartenders and projectors and AI within all these issues, too.

RockedBuzz has numerous nice protection of all issues CES, and it’s best to positively spend a while poking via our tales and streams. Here are just some of what I believe are the most attention-grabbing, Installer-y issues in Vegas this 12 months:

The Rabbit R1. The most intriguing gadget of the 12 months up to now, at the very least for me. This is a great-looking, Teenage Engineering-designed, surprisingly cheap AI system. Can it’s greater than only a smartphone app? Is its Large Action Model a complete privateness catastrophe? I don’t know! But I discover this far more compelling than sure different AI gadgets. The Honda Zero Series. This automotive idea straight up appears like the Batmobile, and I can’t determine whether or not I really like or hate it for that. But I really like that Honda’s wanting for methods to make automobiles lighter and sleeker as a substitute of larger and truck-ier, and you already know? I do wish to drive the Batmobile. I find it irresistible.Ballie. Projectors have been one in every of the tales of the 12 months this CES, and Samsung’s Ballie — a rolling AI assistant / projector / robotic companion — kinda stole my coronary heart. I’m nonetheless unsure anybody has made a very good case for why you want a robotic in your house, however Ballie’s one in every of the greatest up to now.Xreal Air 2 Ultra. Apple wasn’t at CES, and the Vision Pro was nonetheless one in every of the most-discussed issues in Vegas. But I proceed to suppose Xreal is on a cool path: it’s constructing shows into glasses and giving these shows extra and extra energy. The $699 Air 2 Ultras are heavy on expertise and gentle on cool apps, however that may change quick.Movano’s Evie Ring. I agree with Victoria Song: that is the 12 months of the good ring. The Evie Ring, which has some spectacular health-focused options and is designed particularly for ladies, is a fairly spectacular system — however I believe we’re going to see much more prefer it this 12 months. The Aqara Hub M3. We’re inching slowly nearer to the interoperable good residence we’d like and deserve, however we’re not there but. For now, we get super-versatile hubs like this one. Aqara is a rising star in the good residence world, and the hub makes it a critical participant.

I’d wager closely that at the very least one in every of these items won’t ever ever truly hit the market. (Ballie and Honda are most likely the favorites to by no means seem.) But the tendencies listed below are actually attention-grabbing: automobiles are being rethought from the floor up, the screens are beginning to comply with us round, and everyone seems to be pushing arduous to discover a new sort of system that isn’t a smartphone or a watch. It’s going to be actually enjoyable to see if any of it truly takes off.

RockedBuzz’s Mia Sato warned me once I requested her to share her display that it was going to be tremendous boring. To which I mentioned, Mia, there are not any boring homescreens, solely boring folks. Wait, no, not that. Only boring app icons? I don’t know. We’ll come again to it.

Mia covers numerous issues for RockedBuzz, and this week wrote a spectacular story about how website positioning tradition and optimization has modified the approach web sites work. Everyone’s making an attempt to be seen by Google, and so the complete internet appears the approach Google needs. It’s an important story, with some superb illustrations and interactives. 

Here’s Mia’s (decidedly not tremendous boring) homescreen, plus some information on the apps she makes use of and why:


The telephone: iPhone 11 Pro.

The wallpaper: I’ve had this wallpaper for nearly a decade and throughout a number of telephones. I’ve to maintain discovering a resized model once I improve my system. It’s a quote from William Blake, and the design is by artist Tessa Forrest.

The apps: Messages, Photos, Camera, Settings, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Instagram, Slack, Gmail, Clock, Bose Connect, Messenger, Transit, Compass, Notion, Mail, Safari, Phone, Apple Music.

I attempt to maintain my homescreen a impartial area, so it’s heavy on the sensible issues: digicam, photographs, calendar, my public transit app, my Bose app for my headphones, Gmail for work. I’ve messaging apps that I must keep watch over: Slack for my job, Messenger for household. Most social media is buried deep on different pages, as a result of in any other case I’d be unwell — I don’t know why Instagram is there, to be sincere. 

I’m obsessive about the Compass app and am a Compass app energy consumer, most likely. When you get off the subway, Google Maps is at all times directionally confused, however the compass app will inform you which approach to begin strolling. Putting Notion on the homescreen is my delusional stretch aim for the 12 months: I’m making an attempt to make a behavior of organizing my ideas as a substitute of writing them on random scraps of paper which can be then misplaced. I go away the backside row empty so I can swipe with out by accident opening apps.

I additionally requested Mia to inform us a couple of issues she’s into proper now. Here’s what she shared:

The Japanese post-harcore / pop-punky band Mass of the Fermenting Dregs. They by no means tour in the US, and I just lately noticed them in Brooklyn. The live performance vibe was like somebody opened a number of mosh pits at a Ok-pop live performance. Everyone was doing coordinated hand motions. It was excellent. Maybe begin here.I’ve been poring over a set of craft books from the ‘60s and ‘70s called Creative Hands. They have instructions for sewing, knitting, crochet, needlework, beading, literally any kind of home craft project you can think of. I’ve been gatekeeping these as a result of I’m nonetheless lacking a couple of editions.My mother bought me a subscription to a monthly mystery tinned seafood box. Last month’s included sardine pate, which I compelled my buddies to attempt with me, and it was surprisingly unimaginable unfold skinny on crackers.I just lately hosted a viewing social gathering of Cher’s 1999 Do You Believe? Tour live performance film. It was an HBO particular however is unstreamable on-line, so I ordered a DVD on eBay for $6. I watched this on VHS each single day from the ages of like 5 to eight, and it shaped most likely 60 p.c of my character. Put Cher in the Las Vegas Sphere! Then ship me to jot down about it!


Here’s what the Installer group is into this week. I wish to know what you’re into proper now as nicely! Email [email protected] or message +1 (203) 570-8663 along with your suggestions for something and every thing, and we’ll characteristic a few of our favorites right here each week. 

Thermomix is the next level of kitchen gadgets! It’s been popular in Europe for decades, and they recently launched in the US. We’ve used it almost every day for years, it’s the best appliance! That said, pretty much the only things it doesn’t do are frying and pressure cooking, so your instant pot is still a great companion!” — Christophe

Tamagotchi Adventure Kingdom. The best new game on Apple Arcade! a mix of Hello Kitty Island Adventure, Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley.” — Gabriel

“I recently stumbled across a website called Longreads. It’s a website that curates longer-form articles from different publications in a wide range of subjects. I think we could probably all benefit from going a little slower on the internet in this hyper-consumerism age, and this website is perfect for that. It’s like a really good restaurant in a town full of fast food joints.” — Tommy

“The new season of Dimension 20 came out on Dropout this week — it’s the third season of their very popular ‘Fantasy High’ storyline!” — Zach

Niagara Launcher on my Pixel Fold! I usually shy away from third-party launchers on Pixel phones but I’ve been having a blast with Niagara. It’s super clean, has nice features and has a dev team that communicates!”  — Nation

“The book Material World and a refurb Surface Duo as a sort of at-home tablet / widget to futz with.” — Matt

“Watching The Brothers Sun on Netflix. It’s better than expected, a fun action show about the Taiwanese triads. Most of the locations are based in LA.”  — Andy

“After leaving Apple Music and Spotify for Plex, one thing I was going to miss was my Wrapped at the end of the year. But I hooked Plex up to ListenBrainz to track my listens, and got an awesome year in review page at the end of the year.” — Michael

Dune. Reading it again in preparation for the second movie later this year.” — Manuel

Signing off

On Thursday this week, I awakened and discovered my iPhone had up to date in a single day. And immediately it was completely unresponsive. I might get up the display, however contact didn’t work, swipes didn’t work, nothing labored. And over the course of a bunch of hours making an attempt to repair it — which I finally did, by semi-miraculously managing to only manufacturing unit reset the factor — I noticed I’m approach too reliant on my telephone. I had no different approach to log into some apps with out my telephone for two-factor and QR scanning. I had no good approach to attain my spouse, as a result of we speak on SMS. It was a nasty setup.

So my new 2024 decision is to verify I’m not reliant on a single system for something. I’ve to rethink my messaging setup, transfer my passwords and codes to a cross-platform app, and add some redundancy and backup plans to every thing. It’s going to be a ache, however I’m not desperate to relive the feeling I had that morning of simply being fully out of luck and out of contact for approach too lengthy. It’s the 12 months we go system agnostic, my buddies!

See you subsequent week!

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