Amazon removes voice dictation for on-screen keyboard from most Fire TV models [Update: It’s coming back soon]

The latest round of software updates for most Amazon Fire TVs, Fire TV Sticks, and Fire TV Edition televisions has overhauled the look and feel of Alexa’s visual responses and has even added some new functionality that makes the voice assistant more useful. Those improvements have come at a cost because they’ve also disabled the ability to use voice dictation for the on-screen keyboard.

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Older Fire TV devices are now more secure with newly added prompt for ADB connections

Part of the new 5.2.6.6 software update that is rolling out to all older Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition television models that were released over a year ago is added security for Android Debug Bridge (ADB) connections. Newer Fire TV devices running Fire OS 6 prompt the user to accept ADB connections before the connection is permitted. That same behavior has now been added to Fire OS 5 devices. This will help protect Fire TV devices from things like the malware worm that was infecting Fire TVs earlier this year. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo Spot is on sale for $99.99 — Lowest Price Ever

The Amazon Echo Spot has just gone on sale for $99.99. This deal is $30 off the regular price of $129.99 and matches the lowest price that the Echo Spot has ever been. This is the same price that Amazon was selling the Echo Spot for during Prime Day. The Echo Spot is the newest Alexa device in Amazon’s lineup. Just like the Amazon Echo Show, the Echo Spot can do everything the regular Amazon Echo can do but also includes a touchscreen for visual information and interaction. It also features a camera for video calling to other Echo devices and the Alexa app.

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Software update 5.2.6.6 brings new Alexa interface to older Fire TVs and Fire TV Sticks

A new software update has just started rolling out to older Amazon Fire TV devices. The new 5.2.6.6 version of Fire OS, with a build value of 617513020, is making its way out to the Fire TV 1, Fire TV 2, Fire TV Stick 1, Fire TV Stick 2, and 1st generation Fire TV Edition televisions from Element and Westinghouse. Basically, that’s all Fire TV devices released over a year ago. This update adds the newer Alexa interface, which was first introduced with the Fire TV Cube, to older models. With this update, all Fire TV devices ever released will once again be using the same Alexa interface. Read more ›

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New Fire TV apps of the week — Aug 5-11

This week there were 43 new apps and games released for the Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Cube, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition televisions. Fill Puzzle is a new casual game with a staggering 1,000 levels to test your puzzle solving abilities. Amazon has released Amazon Handmade with videos highlighting the products and creators in their handcrafted store. NetSpeed Test is a new utility app that is as simple as its name. It lets you quickly and easily test your network speed. It is the latest app from Vishnu N K, who has been steadily releasing several useful Fire TV utility apps. Continue on for the full list of new apps and games released in the last 7 days. Read more ›

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Dozens of Alexa compatible smart home plugs, bulbs, cameras and more are 20% off

Amazon is currently having a sale on dozens of Alexa-compatible smart home devices that are 20% off using promo code SMARTHOME20. Included are Kasa/TP-Link plugs, switches, cameras, and bulbs. There are also Sengled bulbs, both with and without hubs. Several Arlo Pro cameras and security lights are included, as are several camera products from Ring. Continue on for the full list of products on sale. Read more ›

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Alexa will be added to more cars thanks to Amazon’s new Alexa Auto Software Development Kit

Several auto manufacturers have already worked with Amazon to add Alexa into the infotainment system of their vehicles. The number of Alexa-enabled cars should begin to increase because Amazon has just announced the release of an Alexa Auto Software Development Kit (SDK). This new SDK should make it easier for automakers to add Alexa capabilities to their vehicles, such as calling, navigation, media streaming, local search, and more features. The SDK allows automakers to hook Alexa into their own existing systems. For example, asking Alexa for directions would launch the car’s native navigation system or asking Alexa to place a call could use the car’s connection to your phone, instead of Alexa’s calling capabilities. The myriad of usual Alexa capabilities would, of course, also be accessible.

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Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers now support Alexa Announcements

Sonos has announced that their Sonos One smart speaker and Sonos Beam smart soundbar, which both have hands-free Alexa built in, now support Alexa Announcements. This feature was previously only available to Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers until the Eufy Genie was the first non-Amazon Alexa device to add support earlier this week. While the Eufy Genie also added support for Alexa calling and messaging, Sonos hasn’t taken that step yet, so only Announcements are supported at this time. Correction: The Eufy Genie was the first 3rd-party Alexa device to support Alexa calling and messaging, but not the first to support Alexa Announcements. The Ecobee Switch+ supported Alexa Announcements before the Eufy Genie.

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Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet with 32GB of storage is as low as $53.99 — New Lowest Price Ever

The Amazon Fire HD 8 tablet configured with 32GB of internal storage is currently $53.99 when you use promo code SAVE10OFF at checkout. The promo code takes 10% off the sale price of $59.99 and is only available to select customers, but it’s still a great deal at $59.99. The regular price is $109.99 and the lowest it has ever been in the past is $79.99. Note that this is for the 32GB version. The lowest price the cheaper 16GB version has ever been is $49.99, so you’re essentially getting the storage upgrade that normally costs $30 for just $4. If you’re interested in the Show Mode Dock that essentially turns the tablet into an Amazon Echo Show, the bundle that includes both the dock and the Fire HD 8 tablet is also on sale for $99.98, which is $40 off the regular price.

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Silk Browser for Fire TV updated with support for 4K YouTube

Amazon has updated the Silk Browser for Fire TV devices to support 4K video playback on YouTube. The new update, carrying version number 68.2.6.3440.85.30, is starting to roll, but the new version appears to only be rolling out to select devices, as it’s not yet available to all Fire TV models. Read more ›

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