Brian Heater

Brian Heater is the Hardware Editor at TechCrunch. He worked for a number of leading tech publications, including Engadget, PCMag, Laptop, and Tech Times, where he served as the Managing Editor. His writing has appeared in Spin, Wired, Playboy, Entertainment Weekly, The Onion, Boing Boing, Publishers Weekly, The Daily Beast and various other publications. He hosts the weekly Boing Boing interview podcast RiYL, has appeared as a regular NPR contributor and shares his Queens apartment with a rabbit named Lucy.

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  • Amazon cites First Amendment protection for Alexa in Arkansas murder case

    Amazon cites First Amendment protection for Alexa in Arkansas murder case

    Late last year, it was revealed that Amazon’s Echo had become a key piece of evidence in an on-going murder investigation in Arkansas dating back to 2015, as police sought access to voice recordings from the smart home assistant. Now the tech giant is firing back, arguing that both user commands and Alexa’s responses constitute protected speech. In a lengthy filing issued late… Read More

  • Wireless earbud startup Earin gets $3.5 million in funding as its readies new product

    Wireless earbud startup Earin gets $3.5 million in funding as its readies new product

    Headphone startup Earin announced today that it’s scored $3.5 million in funding, hot on the heels of announcing its second-generation wireless earbuds back at CES. The new round will go to fund the release of the M-2, due to be released at retail this spring. The move marks a shift for the company, which took to Kickstarter to fund its first headphones back in 2015, ahead of the recent… Read More

  • Fitbit reveals it paid $23 million to acquire Pebble’s assets

    Fitbit reveals it paid $23 million to acquire Pebble’s assets

    Among the tidbits found in Fitbit’s disappointing new financial filing is the fact that it apparently picked up Pebble’s assets for a relative song. Although the company didn’t reveal the actual numbers when the acquisition was announced, reports pegged it at upwards of $40 million. According to today’s filing, the amount Fitbit paid is actually $23 million. Read More

  • Smartwatches need to get better

    Smartwatches need to get better

    Android Wear 2.0 was bound to be a disappointment. There was just too much hanging on the second generation of the wearable operating system. After all, a significant chunk of declining smartwatch shipments was laid at the feet of the OS’s ongoing delay and, as last year drew to a close, studies like this report from IDC pointed to a dismal end to the year for a space so many were once… Read More

  • Researchers devise method for regenerating hair cells to help reverse hearing loss

    Researchers devise method for regenerating hair cells to help reverse hearing loss

    Damage to the approximately 15,000 hair cells per ear is a leading factor contributing to hearing loss. A new technology demonstrated by a team at MIT, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear could help reverse some of that damage, mimicking some animals’ ability to regenerate the hair, potentially reversing hearing loss in the process. Read More

  • Samsung’s latest C-Lab projects embrace augmented and virtual reality

    Samsung’s latest C-Lab projects embrace augmented and virtual reality

    Samsung created C-Lab (that’s Creative Lab) half a decade ago as an attempt to incubate employee creativity within the larger confines of its corporate culture. Among the decided benefits of its place as a giant among consumer electronics companies is the ability to showcase some of the more creative spinoffs at some of the world’s biggest tech trade shows — which… Read More

  • Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 210 will add support for Android Things later this year

    Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 210 will add support for Android Things later this year

    When it launched Android Things back in December, Google announced a handful of hardware partners for its Android-based internet of things operating system, including Intel Edison, NXP Pico and the Raspberry Pi 3. Qualcomm, naturally, wanted in on the action, releasing its own straightforward, if vague, response to the announcement, titled, “Qualcomm Intends to Collaborate with Google… Read More

  • Samsung takes a big hit in new US reputation poll

    Samsung takes a big hit in new US reputation poll

    Last year was rough on just about everyone. Samsung seemed to get it especially bad, as the Note 7 saga stretched out over several months and two separate recalls. Somewhere in there, the electronic giant’s washing machines got caught up in the madness with a recall of their own, while its executives got tangled up in some questionable governmental dealings. To the surprise of many… Read More

  • What to expect at Mobile World Congress 2017

    What to expect at Mobile World Congress 2017

    Last year, Mobile World Congress surpassed the 100,000 attendance mark, according to its parent body, the GSMA, and this year’s event shows no sign of slowing down. Companies have been teasing their big reveals since January, with some far more willing to spill the beans than others in an attempt to drum up hype before the conference. Here’s what you can expect next week from the… Read More

  • ZTE kills its crowdsourced phone Kickstarter campaign

    ZTE kills its crowdsourced phone Kickstarter campaign

    Project CSX was a nice enough idea: Get the smartphone community engaged and excited and maybe even gather some good, outside-the-box ideas for mobile devices. In a sense, the project was ZTE’s attempt to foster the sort of community excitement we’ve seen around young companies like OnePlus. It started off well enough — but then things sort of fell apart at the seams. Read More

  • Hey Alexa, does this look infected?

    Hey Alexa, does this look infected?

    Once you’re done ordering pizza and locking and unlocking your front door, what’s left to do with your Echo? Starting today, HealthTap users will be able to use Amazon’s connected home assistant for medical advice, if they so choose. Read More

  • Oppo teases new mobile camera technology ahead of MWC

    Oppo teases new mobile camera technology ahead of MWC

    We’ve entered crunch time for getting all those last-minute teasers out before the kick-off of Mobile World Congress. Some have been cagey around their big news ahead of the event in Barcelona, while others, like LG, haven’t left all that much to the imagination. Oppo, the rising-est star in a Chinese market full of them, is playing its cards close to the vest. Read More

  • California congressman proposes an investigation into Trump’s unsecured Android phone

    California congressman proposes an investigation into Trump’s unsecured Android phone

    Remember the unsecured Android handset that newly minted President Trump gave up, but then apparently didn’t actually give up? Things had seemingly gone silent on that front as the world took some time out to focus on the rest of the deluge of insanity that is politics in 2017. Today, however, the story is rearing its head yet again, as California Congressman Ted Lieu has proposed… Read More

  • LG reveals even more details about the G6 ahead of launch

    LG reveals even more details about the G6 ahead of launch

    LG is doing a downright terrible job keeping the lid on the G6 ahead of its launch at Mobile World Congress in a couple of weeks. Numerous leaks involving the handset have popped up recently, and today the company just went ahead and offered up a whole slew of information through its official channels — confirming a number of reports and adding some new insight into what the handset… Read More

  • This baby monitor uses radar to detect infant breathing patterns

    I’ll be honest, hearing about what Raybaby does made me happy I don’t have kids. The mere thought of needing a device to monitor a child’s breathing stresses me out. But it’s a legitimate concern, and the Hax graduates are offering a solution that may well provide some extra peace of mind for concerned parents of newborns. Read More

  • Microsoft Office hits the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

    Microsoft Office hits the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar

    The new MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar arrived with some pretty strong first-party support, but it was clear that it would take some key partners to really make the secondary Retina Display sing. Photoshop compatibility arrived late-last year, and now Microsoft is finally ready to go live with Office support , which along with Adobe’s offering, was announced at launch, but not quite ready… Read More

  • Semi-finalists named in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE

    Semi-finalists named in the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE

    The Shell Oil-sponsored Ocean Discovery XPrize moves to the semi-finalist stage this week with 21 teams from 25 countries, including Canada, China, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Aimed at exploring and detecting chemical and biological systems at the depths of the ocean, the teams will be… Read More

  • 3Doodler announces a robotics kit, Star Trek and Powerpuff Girls-themed pens

    3Doodler announces a robotics kit, Star Trek and Powerpuff Girls-themed pens

    3Doodler’s getting out ahead of Toy Fair with the release of a whole bunch of new products, including a handful of kits and a pair of pens that mark some big licensing deals for the New York-based startup. The new devices don’t represent new entirely products, so much as spinoffs of its existing lines, the flagship Create and the Start, a larger and safer version targeted at… Read More

  • Alexa can now unlock August Smart Locks

    Alexa can now unlock August Smart Locks

    Over the summer, smart lock maker August announced its first integration with Amazon’s smart home assistant Alexa. It was pretty basic – letting users check whether unit was locked or not. Naturally, people wanted to know, for better or worse, when they’d actually be able to unlock their front door with the sound of their voice, for when you’re chopping onions like the… Read More

  • Huawei said to be building its own voice assistant

    Huawei said to be building its own voice assistant

    Last year, Huawei leapfrogged a couple of fellow Chinese hardware companies to secure its spot as the third-largest smartphone maker worldwide. As the company takes aim at the No. 2 spot, it’s apparently working to differentiate itself even more from the competition by developing more proprietary tech, adding to a list of components that already includes its own in-house chips. According… Read More

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