Bytes: What’s new in tech

Fixing a broken smartphone screen; Nest’s smoke alarm snafu; Amazon launches Fire TV

Fixing a broken smartphone screen

Fix your cracked iPhone without wrecking your wallet, said Chris Gayomali in For clumsy iPhone owners, repairing a shattered screen has become a “rite of passage.” But a company called iCracked is offering owners a cheaper and more convenient way to fix their fractured screens without “schlepping” to an Apple Store or shelling out $200. Using an app that works “like Uber for broken gadgets,” users can request a repair, get a quote, and arrange to have one of the company’s 532 “iTech repair people” meet them at their home or office. The techies then “spend the next 20 minutes to an hour fixing the busted iPhone or iPad.” If the device is beyond repair, iCracked will buy it for parts.

Nest’s smoke alarm snafu

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If you’re looking to get your hands on one of Nest’s smart smoke alarms, don’t hold your breath, said Matthew Panzarino in The company has suspended sales of its Internet-connected Protect device after testers found “that people could accidentally trigger” a dismissal feature that would allow them to disable the smoke and carbon monoxide alarm “with a wave of the hand.” Nest has promised to issue a software update to fix the bug and is offering full refunds to current owners who want to return the product. In the meantime, the company, which was recently acquired by Google for $3.2 billion, suggests that people use the Nest Protect’s physical button when they want to disarm the alarm.

Amazon launches Fire TV

Amazon’s streaming device is finally here, said Leslie Horn in The Internet retailer announced a “new $100 device called Fire TV” last week, promising to “satisfy all your TV-watching needs.” Like competitor devices Roku, Apple TV, and Chromecast, Fire TV plugs into your television to stream content from apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Crackle, and Pandora. But Amazon hopes Fire TV’s interface and ease of use will set it apart from rivals. The interface includes a “black, easy-to-read home screen” and “convenience features” that allow you to instantaneously play movies or TV shows by hitting a single button on the remote. It also “doubles as a gaming device” and will offer streaming games from developers like EA and Disney, and a karaoke feature for music, “so you can sing along badly to your heart’s content.”

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