A Portland family was surprised to learn that their Amazon Echo inadvertently sent a recording of their conversation to one of their phone’s contacts through Alexa’s calling and messaging feature. Through a string of unlikely events, the Echo interpreted a background conversation as a request to send a message, resulting in what is essentially the modern equivalent of a “butt dial.” Read more ›
Amazon has started rolling out an update to the Amazon Music app for Android and iOS devices that adds hands-free Alexa capabilities. These apps gained Alexa last year but you had to press an Alexa button on the screen each time you wanted to make a request. With this update, as long as the Amazon Music app is on-screen, you can now say “Alexa” and make a request without touching anything. Read more ›
Alexa gained the ability to schedule meetings late last year where the voice assistant will automatically add a meeting to your calendar and automatically email the person you’ve said the meeting is with so they’re aware of the time and date. Now Alexa goes a step further and suggests times for meetings that are good for both attendees. When you say “Alexa, schedule a meeting with [name],” if you have the necessary calendar permissions set with that person, Alexa will list off two times when you’re both available for you to select. Alexa does this by using the contact information on your phone and calendar account. Additionally, you can now ask Alexa to move meetings, so you don’t have to delete a meeting and then schedule a new one.
While HP beat other PC manufacturers to the punch with their Alexa enabled desktop and their just announced all-in-one PC, Acer is the first to offer Alexa built into a laptop. The Acer Spin 3 and Spin 5 convertible notebooks with Alexa are available starting today, while the Nitro, Aspire, Swift, and Switch line of laptops with Alexa will be shipping in the next few weeks. The Acer Spin 5 appears to be the only one with hands-free Alexa capabilities, while the others require that you press a button before speaking to Alexa. Acer will be adding Alexa to existing laptops through the company’s Care Center software updates, starting with the previous generation Spin 5 on May 23rd.
Amazon revealed a partnership with PC manufacturers at CES earlier this year where Alexa will be featured front and center on Windows 10 computers. The HP Pavilion Wave, which is a desktop PC that doubles as a hands-free Alexa speaker, has since been released. I got a quick hands-on with the Wave at CES and saw the potential of merging Alexa with computers. Now HP has announced a new All-in-One desktop PC with far-field mics and speakers built into the base for Alexa. Read more ›
Amazon added a powerful new feature last month called Alexa Blueprints that allows anyone to make custom Alexa skills by choosing one of several templates and filling out a simple website form. While Alexa Blueprints are significantly easier than developing your own Alexa skill from scratch, they still require a bit of effort to set up. If all you want to do is add a few custom Alexa responses to specific requests, it’s now possible to do so using only the Alexa app thanks to the addition of custom responses within Alexa Routines. Read more ›
Microsoft and Amazon announced a partnership last year that would allow Alexa to summon Cortana, Microsoft’s voice-assistant, and let Cortana summon Alexa. At this year’s Microsoft Build conference, Microsoft showed off what that integration will look like in the video embedded above. Read more ›
Amazon has added a powerful new feature to the Alexa app for Android devices. It’s now possible to set Alexa as the default voice assistant on Android. Doing so will replace the Google Assistant in certain scenarios with Alexa. This lets you make Alexa requests without needing to first launch the Alexa app. Read more ›
Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant has a handy new feature that lets you ask it to remember things for you that you can request at will. The issue is that there is no way to ask Alexa to forget something by voice. Worse yet, you can’t just modify what Alexa remembers by telling it a new fact to replace an existing memory. Read more ›