Amazon is now letting anyone make Alexa Gadgets

Amazon has announced the availability of the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, which will allow anyone to create accessories that pair and interact directly with Echo devices. Amazon first introduced the concept of Alexa Gadgets when they released their Echo Buttons about a year ago. Those buttons haven’t really taken off, but perhaps third-party manufacturers can come up with my successful accessories. Read more ›

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Amazon partners with Getty Images to include relevant pictures with Alexa responses

Amazon and Getty Images have announced a partnership that will bring Getty’s vast library of over 200 million assets to Alexa devices. Amazon will be displaying relevant images alongside Alexa responses on devices with a screen. The Amazon Echo Show and Echo Spot are explicitly mentioned in the announcement, but we’ll likely see images appear on Fire TV devices and Show Mode on Fire Tablets as well. An example use case given is asking “Alexa, who won best Actress at tonight’s Academy Awards” and seeing a photo of the actress from the red carpet of that specific event along with the answer.

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Amazon will reportedly release Alexa subwoofer, amp, receiver, microwave, and more this year

Amazon is planning to release at least 8 new Alexa devices this year, according to a new report from CNBC. Among the devices is high-end audio equipment that includes a subwoofer, an amplifier, and a receiver that all include hands-free Alexa capabilities. Amazon is also said to be working on a new in-car Alexa gadget and an Alexa-enabled microwave. Read more ›

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Alexa Routine support will be coming to 3rd-party Alexa devices

Amazon has announced a new set of device manufacturer capabilities that will bring Alexa Routine support to 3rd-party Alexa devices. Alexa Routines allow customers to automate a series of actions using a single voice command. The new options available to manufacturers will not only allow non-Amazon made Alexa devices to run Alexa Routines, but they’ll also now be available to select as the “Alexa will respond from” device in the Alexa app. No support from 3rd-party manufacturers has been announced yet, but you can probably expect devices like the Eufy Genie, Ecobee 4, and Sonos One to add these new Alexa capabilities soon.

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Bose reveals new premium smart speaker and soundbars with hands-free Alexa

Bose has announced a series of new smart speakers and soundbars to challenge Sonos for the title of best Alexa-powered premium speakers. The Bose Home Speaker 500 is a $400 speaker that claims to have “the widest soundstage of any smart speaker available today.” The Bose Soundbar 500 and Soundbar 700 are $550 and $800, respectively, are sleek home theater speakers that are “engineered to outperform every other product in [their] category.” Read more ›

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Firefox and Silk Browser now let you control media playback by voice on Fire TVs — Works with YouTube

In the most recent updates to Firefox and the Silk Browser, both apps have added support for media playback control by voice. This allows customers to use voice commands to play videos, pause videos, and more while watching something, like YouTube, in a web browser on a Fire TV device. Read more ›

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Audible audiobook ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens is free through Amazon Alexa devices

All Amazon Alexa enabled devices are currently able to listen to the Audible audiobook A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens for free. Just say “Alexa, read A Tale of Two Cities from Audible” and the audiobook will begin playing without needing to sign up for anything. The book is available to listen to for free through September 30th, so you’ll have a little over a month to finish it the 15-hour long unabridged audiobook. Thanks to the newly refreshed Alexa interface on Fire TV devices, you can use the Fire TV remote to control playback, rewind, and fast-forwarded as needed. You can also control playback through Alexa voice commands. Amazon is also currently offering the Kindle ebook version of the book for free if you want to read along.

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Amazon Alexa can now playback Security Camera Recordings on Fire TVs, Fire Tablets, and Echos

Amazon has announced that Alexa can now bring up and play the last recorded video from security cameras. Prior to today, it was only possible to bring up a live feed of your compatible security camera on a Fire TV, Fire Tablet, or Echo device with a screen by saying “Alexa, show my [camera name].” Starting today, it’s now possible to say “Alexa, show the last activity at my [camera name]” to play the last recorded video clip from a security camera. Read more ›

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Microsoft and Amazon’s Cortana and Alexa integration is now available

Microsoft and Amazon announced a partnership a year ago that would allow each company’s voice assistant to access the other. That integration between Amazon’s Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana was demonstrated earlier this year and today it has become available to the public. After completing an initial linking process, users will be able to say “Alexa, open Cortana” to an Alexa device and say “Cortana, open Alexa” to a Cortana device. 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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