Amazon Alexa makes a big push into cars with a pair of new navigation partnerships

Amazon has announced a couple of big car navigation related partnerships for Alexa at CES 2019. The first is a partnership with Telenav, a connected car navigation platform. The second is a partnership with HERE Technologies, who’s navigation systems are in over 100 million cars. In both cases, Alexa will now be integrated into each companies future products. While this doesn’t directly affect consumers today, it means that Alexa will be found on many more car navigation systems in the near future as a baked-in component from the start. In the case of the HERE partnership, it also means Alexa will have access to much more mapping data, which will improve Alexa’s direction related queries outside of the car as well.

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Amazon’s Alexa Skills of the Year 2018

Amazon has posted a list of Alexa Skills that they consider to be the best of the year. The list is divided into various categories, such as best game skills, best family skills, and best wellness skills. Check out the list of best Alexa Skills to find some new Alexa capabilities to add to your Echos and Fire TVs. If you have Echo Buttons, which are still on sale for $13.99, you should also check out the winners of the Echo Button game skill contest that just got posted.

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Echo Spot stolen from doorstep is recovered when owner scares thief with Alexa Drop-In call

An Amazon Echo Spot that was allegedly stolen from its buyer’s front door shortly after being delivered has been reunited with its owner after the alleged thief received a call from the owner through Alexa’s Drop-In feature. A Reddit user, who goes by the adorable name of PokiestPuppy, has shared details of the incident with fellow Alexa customers and is still on the hunt for the alleged thief with recordings of their voice and WiFi information in hand. Read more ›

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Amazon accidentally gave a customer someone else’s Alexa audio recordings

An Amazon Alexa user in Germany received the Alexa audio recordings of a stranger, according to Reuters. The customer requested their own Alexa recordings from Amazon, as part of the EU’s GDPR guidelines, but the download link they received was to 1,700 audio recordings of a stranger’s Alexa interactions. Amazon says the mix-up was a result of human error and an isolated single case. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo Wall Clock is now available to order

The Amazon Echo Wall Clock has just become available to order. The $29.99 analog clock is an Alexa Gadget that pairs to any smart speaker in the Amazon Echo line up to gain extra functionality, such as giving a visual indicator of timers set through Alexa and pending Alexa notifications. Read more ›

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Apple Music is now supported on Amazon Alexa and Echo devices

As promised last month, support for Apple Music has arrived on Amazon Echo and other compatible Alexa devices. Apple has put up a help page to get you started, but essentially you just need to open the Alexa app, select Music from the Settings area, and select the Link New Service option. Read more ›

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List of Amazon Fire TV apps that support in-app Alexa Voice Control

Amazon recently updated their post about Alexa being able to control Fire TV apps with a list of apps that support the deeper voice control. These are apps that allow Fire TV owners to control media playback and, in some cases, in-app searches using voice commands. There are probably a few apps missing from the list, and more apps are being updated with voice control regularly, but here are 30 apps that are confirmed to have Alexa in-app voice control. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo Auto appears to be delayed until 2019

As the first Echo device for your car, the Echo Auto seems to be the most highly anticipated Echo device in a while, according to customer discussions across the web. The device was announced in September and Amazon has been accepting invitation requests from customers to be among the first to buy the device, but recent changes to the Echo Auto’s product page make it seem like nobody is going to be able to purchase it until next year. Read more ›

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Amazon Fire TV Cube to support Multi-Room Music and Alexa Follow-Up Mode

Amazon is on an Alexa improvement kick with the Amazon Fire TV Cube that has been bringing formerly Echo-exclusive features to the streaming device. The Fire TV Cube gained support for Alexa Announcements earlier this month and now Amazon has announced that the next update will add support for multi-room music and Alexa follow-up mode. Multi-room music support will make it possible to sync music playback on the Fire TV Cube with all other whole-home audio capable Alexa devices, such as the Amazon Echo speaker line up. Follow-up mode allows the Fire TV Cube to continue listening after responding to a voice command so that customers don’t need to repeat the wake word before follow-up requests. Read more ›

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Amazon takes a major step towards eliminating the need to say “ask” for custom smart home Alexa Skills

One of the confusing and cumbersome aspects of using Amazon’s Alexa to control smart home devices is the need to sometimes say “Alexa, ask…” before issuing a command. Prefacing a command with “ask” or “tell” is necessary when a smart home device manufacturer provides capabilities that go beyond what Amazon supports in their regular set of Alexa smart home control commands. Amazon is now allowing developers to extend the capabilities of regular smart home Alexa skills with extra functionality so that they don’t need to resort to a custom skill that requires the user to say “ask” before issuing an advanced command. Read more ›

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