WeMo Crock-Pot lets you tinker with dinner from anywhere on your smartphone

wemo crock pot adds smart features slow cooker belkin

You know the saying: Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Arguably, the slow cooker — that staple appliance of contemporary Americana — was never broke. You threw in the ingredients, set the temperature, and let it do its thing until you came home to a tender and delectable meal.

With the introduction of the WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot, Belkin would like to make the case that the “old” slow cookers were indeed crying out for a fixing. The new WeMo product (actually a collaboration between Belkin and the maker of Crock-Pots) is the first ever smartphone-controllable slow cooker. This means you can adjust the temperature, turn the device off and on, and change time settings from basically anywhere (if your smartphone has an Internet connection).  On top of that, the tried-and-true features you’ve come to love in your slow cooker will still be there.  These include dishwasher-safe materials, a sleek metal exterior, and a 6-quart capacity.

Being able to tinker with your slow cooker in new ways is great, but are there any practical advantages from these added features? Sure. For example, if you are abducted by aliens, you might not arrive home as scheduled. Assuming these aliens are polite enough to let you to whip out your smartphone and share their Wi-Fi password, you could tell your chili to stop simmering. Or imagine what happens after the abduction. You’re beamed down to earth. You don’t quite feel right.  All you want is a good, cold beer. You forget about the Crock-Pot stewing deliciousness in your kitchen, but the WeMo app reminds you about your meal.

One tradeoff, if there is one, would be recent concerns about WeMo security flaws, but Belkin has apparently fixed this issue.

The WeMo-enabled Crock-Pot will be available in the spring of 2014, but hasn’t yet been priced.  For more information, visit the Crock-Pot website.

Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Mobile

Here are our favorite wireless phone chargers for Android devices and iPhones

We checked out the best wireless phone chargers to make tangles and uncooperative ports a thing of the past. Whether you have an iPhone or Android, find out which wireless charging pads are worth buying, and how their features compare.
Smart Home

May the force cook with you: New slow cooker sports Star Wars figures

We can't say it will make your pot roast tastier, but Uncanny Brands' $50 Star Wars Slow Cooker, decorated with cartoon figures of Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and other characters, might make cooking it more fun.
Smart Home

How to create spooky Halloween effects with smart home lighting and sound

This Halloween, bathe your home with eerie smart home lighting and audio effects guaranteed to spook your neighbors. Use colored light and eerie sounds to create eerie Halloween effects.
Smart Home

Gas dryers vs. electric dryers: Knowing the difference could save you some dough

Whether you buy an electric dryer or a gas dryer may depend solely on your setup, unless you want to spend money to get a gas hookup for your home. But if you have a choice, there are some differences to take into account.
Smart Home

Is your smart home lighting too confusing? Intellect simplifies your controls

Leviton introduced Intellect, a new controls platform for smart home lighting. Intellect is the fifth brand to join Leviton's portfolio, alongside ConTech, Intense, Birchwood, and JCC.
Smart Home

Nest gets more colorful with three new options for its smart thermostat

Nest Parent company Alphabet announced this week that its Nest Learning Thermostat will soon be made available in three new, fancier colors: Mirror black, brass, and polished steel.
Smart Home

These awesome treehouses will make you question life on solid ground

Check out these truly awesome treehouses from around the world. From a three-story treehouse in the Costa Rican jungle to a mirrored cube hidden among the trees of Sweden, we’ve got you covered.
Smart Home

Publish a new Alexa skill this month and Amazon will give you an Echo Dot

Amazon' Alexa group announced a promotion encouraging new developers to publish a new Alexa skill in any country First-time developers who publish a new an Alexa skill prior to midnight October 31, 2018, will get a free Echo Dot.
Smart Home

August Smart Lock satin nickel model comes bundled with Wi-Fi Connect bridge

The August Smart Lock--one of our favorite smart locks--is now available in a satin nickel finish. August is selling the new model in a $220 bundle with the Wi-Fi bridge needed for remote access and voice command features.
Smart Home

LG’s Colosseo smart sofa is the comfiest piece of tech in your home

LG has partnered with Italian furniture brand Natuzzi to produce the Colosseo, a connected sofa with five custom scenarios to provide maximum comfort for watching TV, reading, or just relaxing.
Smart Home

Simplisafe steps outside the smart home with its Video Doorbell Pro

SimpiSafe is pushing into the smart home market by introducing a new high-tech video doorbell that includes 1080p HD monitoring and a dual-sensor motion trigger that combines a body heat detector and a motion detector.
Smart Home

Facebook’s new Portal device can collect your data to target your ads

Facebook confirmed that its new Portal smart displays, designed to enable Messenger-enabled video calls, technically have the capability to gather data on users via the camera and mic onboard.
Smart Home

Amazon Echo vs. Echo Plus: Which should you get?

If you're trying to choose between the Amazon Echo or the Echo Plus, then this guide is for you. It compares the two Alexa-enabled speakers in cost, size, looks, functionality, and more.