20 best apps and gadgets for replacing your assistant (that aren't named Siri)
Tile Bluetooth tracker
You know that Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant can make your professional life easier. Here are the apps and devices that perhaps you don't know about.
Misplaced your keys, laptop or even passport? Just give the lost object a ring via the Tile Mate or Tile Slim you've attached to it. When paired with a Tile device, your phone will ring even if it's on silent.
Available directly via Tile. Prices vary. (Please note that all prices listed in this gallery were current as of publication.)
Behmor Connected coffee maker
Per CNET, this 8-cup smart brewer makes "excellent pots of drip" with the help of the Behmor app, which lets you control everything from pre-soak time to temperature.
Pair it with Alexa to order it around like a real assistant: "Alexa, ask Behmor to start brewing my favorite coffee." Get it at Amazon.com for $154.75.
Joan is an electronic sign that works as a meeting-room scheduler. It supports office-calendar programs, such as iCalendar, Office 365 and Google Suite, and allows scheduling via computer and mobile devices.
With the touchscreen version you can also reserve a room directly. Prices vary by model.
ZUtA portable robotic printer
This compact black-ink printer, listed as weighing fewer than 13 ounces, connects to your device via Wi-Fi. Set it down on a standard-sized piece of paper, and watch it pump out an estimated 100 pages per cartridge.
Pre-orders are being taken for $299 per machine; the printers are expected to ship in early 2018.
Billed as "the first true robot companion and fully autonomous suitcase," the smartphone-controlled Travelmate will motor alongside you at speeds up to 6.75 mph, and use its built-in sensors to avoid collisions.
The fully funded Indiegogo project is expected to ship its suitcases in September; prices start at $499.
This free app from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency allows U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors to speed through customs at 21 U.S.-based international airports and one seaport (Florida's Port Everglades). After a brief setup, entry can be as quick as holding your smartphone over a scanner.
This "all-around finance tracking business app," as CBS Small Business Pulse put it, works for the on-the-go employee who's filing expense reports -- or the time-crunched exec who's approving them.
Mymanu CLIK earbuds
When connected via Bluetooth to your smartphone, the wireless earbuds can translate any one of 37 different languages in real time. You can pre-order a pair via the UK-based Mymanu for £219.00 (roughly $289). Shipping is expected this summer.
This Bluetooth-enabled, hands-free smart speaker attaches magnetically to "any" garment, the California-based Tokk says, and lets you make calls or confer with your smartphone's AI with just a click or two. Get it in white, black or red for $49.99 via Tokk.
Tefori tea infuser
This tea infuser is "ideal in an office setting," the Washington Post said. You can literally scan your tea to maximize flavor (provided you use the Teforia-branded teas that have been packaged in RFID-tagged containers).
Hailed as "arguably the best app for organizing all your travel plans," TripIt Pro delivers real-time flight alerts, tracks reward points and lets you know when a better airline seat has become available. It costs $49 a year.
A free, basic version, known simply as TripIt, sticks to organizing.
This "must-have," Vonage-built Alexa skill takes the dialing out of dialing into a conference call. Simply tell Alexa to "start my call." Because Conference Manager connects to your Google calendar, it'll know which call you're talking about.
It supports WebEx, GoToMeeting, BlueJeans and Vonage Business.
This Alexa skill ups Alexa's virtual-assistant game. With it, you can place phone calls, send texts, launch apps, get calendar updates, and more. New skill-enablers are being wait-listed (due to demand, its developer, Convessa says); $15 will buy your way out of the line.
This Microsoft Garage project, a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook, Word and PowerPoint, types what you say, and, when commanded, includes punctuation. More than 20 languages are supported for dictation. Available for free download from Microsoft.