Alexa Follow Up Mode and Voice Profiles are now available in the UK and beyond

Customers outside of the US are starting to receive some of Alexa’s more recently added capabilities. Follow Up mode, which allows customers to string together multiple requests without needing to say “Alexa” each time, has been spotted in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. It may be available in other new regions as well. Voice Profiles, which allow Alexa to identify the speaker and tailor responses to them, has made an appearance in the UK as well. Follow Up mode is enabled on a per-device basis, so head into the device settings of the Alexa app to see if it’s available for your Echo. Voice Profiles are an account-wide feature, so check for a “Recognized Voices” option under “Alexa Account” in the Alexa app to see if it’s available.

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Amazon Music, Echo devices, and Alexa are coming to Mexico

Amazon has announced that they’re making Echo devices and Alexa available in Mexico. Echo devices in Mexico are already available for pre-order, at discounted introductory prices, and will be arriving on November 14th. The Amazon Echo is currently $1,799 Mexican pesos ($90 USD) and will increase to $2,400 ($120 USD) later. The Echo Dot is $699 ($35 USD) and will increase to $1,299 ($65 USD), while the Echo Plus is $2,199 ($110 USD) and will be $3,299 ($165 USD) after the pre-order period. Lastly, the Echo Spot is $2,499 ($125 USD), which will later increase to $3,199 ($160 USD). Also announced is the arrival of Amazon Music in Mexico. The service will offer over 50 million ad-free songs for $99 per month ($5 USD) and will include a 3 month free trial. This announcement comes just a few weeks after Alexa and Echos made their debut in Italy and Spain last month.

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You can now set Sleep Timers for Music in Alexa Routines

Amazon has added the ability to designate a sleep timer when adding music playback to an Alexa Routine. It’s a simple change, but one that many people have been wanting for some time. When adding music to an Alexa Routine, in addition to specifying what music should be played and from which music service, there is now a third optional option to set a sleep timer. Oddly, Amazon has limited what specific timer duration can be set by only letting customers choose from 0-4 hours and minute quantities of 5, 10, 15, 30, and 45 minutes. Hours and minutes can both be set independently, so you can set a timer for 2 hours and 15 minutes, but you can’t exceed 4 hours or set an arbitrary number of minutes.

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Alexa can now notify you when your favorite artist releases new music

Alexa has a new feature that lets you follow music artists. Doing so will result in your Echo devices letting you know when that artist releases something new. The alerts come in as standard Alexa notification, which means your Echo’s LED light ring will light up yellow and you’ll need to say “Alexa, what did I miss” or “Alexa, read my notifications” to hear the message. To follow or unfollow an artist, simply say “Alexa, follow/unfollow [artist name].” You can also follow and unfollow artists by visiting their page in the Amazon Music mobile app or web player.

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NVIDIA Shield TV can now be controlled by Alexa and Amazon Echo devices

NVIDIA has announced that the Shield TV can now be controlled using Alexa through an Amazon Echo device. Once you have the Shield TV Alexa Skill enabled and paired to your device, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to turn the Shield TV on/off, open apps, change volume, control media playback, and more. Read more ›

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Amazon Echos and Alexa are coming to Italy and Spain

Amazon has announced that Alexa will soon be available in Italy and Spain for the first time. Echo devices are now available to pre-order at amazon.it and amazon.es. The Amazon Echo will sell for EUR 99.99 but is available at an introductory price of EUR 59.99. The Echo Dot will be EUR 59.99 but is EUR 35.99 right now and the Echo Plus will be EUR 149.99 but us EUR 89.99 right now. Interestingly, Amazon is also releasing the Echo Spot in Italy and Spain, which is unusual because they tend to introduce audio-only Alexa devices first when launching in new countries. The Echo Spot will be EUR 129.99 but can be ordered for EUR 77.99 for a limited time. All devices will be released on October 30th.

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Qualcomm is making it easy for manufacturers to include Amazon’s Alexa in their headphones

Qualcomm has announced the availability of a new reference design for headphones that include support for Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. This gives manufacturers any easy starting point for producing their own Alexa headphones, which could spur a wave of new products in the near future. Qualcomm’s design uses their QCC5100-series Bluetooth audio chip and push button to activate Alexa. They boast noise cancellation and a long battery life. At the start of the year, Amazon released a new development kit that simplified the software side of adding Alexa to headphones, which resulted in the released of Alexa-enabled headphones such as the Bose QuietComfort 35 and Jabra Elite 65T. Qualcomm’s new smart headphone platform now simplifies the hardware side.

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Alexa will now whisper back thanks to its new Whisper Mode

Amazon is rolling out a new feature called Whisper mode to Alexa devices that allows the voice assistant to whisper back responses when you whisper to it. Once the feature is available on your device, the first time Alexa hears a whispered request, it will respond by saying “Wow, I think you just whispered to me” and briefly explain the new feature. From then on, if Alexa detects a whisper, the response will be given at a lower whispered volume. If you don’t like being whispered to, you can simply say “Alexa, turn off Whisper Mode” and you’ll no longer receive whispered responses. If you’re having trouble getting Alexa to whisper, try saying “Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode” to see if the feature is available yet on your device. Here’s a video on Twitter of the feature in action.

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Amazon has given the Alexa app its first major redesign

Just in time for next week’s release of the new Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus, and other new Alexa hardware, Amazon has just updated the Alexa app with a completly revamped interface. This is the first major overhaul that the app has ever received. The most notable change, other than the look and feel of the app, is a new device tab that makes it easier than ever to control all of your smart home devices from a single screen. Read more ›

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Alexa Hunches now alert you of smart home devices that you might have forgot about

Amazon has started rolling out a new optional Alexa feature, called Alexa Hunches, that allows the voice assistant to make suggestions about the current state of your smart home devices. For example, if you say “Good night” and you’ve forgotten to turn off a smart light that is usually off at night, Alexa will alert you and offer to turn the light off. If you say “Set alarm” on your way out and your backdoor smart lock is unlocked, Alexa will let you know. Read more ›

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