All 3rd-party Alexa devices now support Echo Spatial Perception

Amazon introduced Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) nearly two years ago to make it much more pleasant to use multiple Echo devices in close proximity. ESP is what causes only the closest Alexa device to you to respond and execute your request when multiple Alexa devices hear a wake word simultaneously. Some third-party manufacturers, like Ecobee and Eufy, eventually added ESP support to their devices, but many Alexa devices don’t support ESP. Amazon has now announced that they’ve made it so their ESP technology now lives in the cloud, instead of on the device, so all Alexa devices now automatically support ESP. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo Show’s new ‘Tap to Alexa’ accessibility feature is handy enough for anyone to use

Amazon has added a new accessibility feature to the Echo Show called “Tap to Alexa.” It’s meant to give people who are unable to interact with Alexa by voice, such as people with a speech impairment, a way to access most of the Echo Show’s features by using the touchscreen. It works by displaying a grid of customizable icons that execute Alexa tasks when tapped. While it’s meant to be used by impaired individuals, it’s actually hand enough that anyone might find it useful. Read more ›

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Amazon adds new equalizer to Echo speakers

Amazon is adding equalizer settings to their Echo smart speakers. The new options will allow you to control how the audio coming from the speakers will sound by adjusting the bass, treble, and midrange levels. These new equalizer settings are also being opened up to hardware manufacturers, along with new sound modes, to make Alexa-enabled devices easily switch between sound profiles. Read more ›

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The $20 Wyze Cam security camera now works with Amazon Alexa

The Wyze Cam has garnered some attention as being a pretty good home security camera at a remarkably low price of just $20. Now it has gotten even better with the addition of Alexa support, via TechCrunch. Starting today, the Wyze Cam v2 ($20) and the Wyze Cam Pan ($30) can be viewed through Amazon Echo Shows, Echo Spots, all Fire TV models, and Fire tablets by simply asking Alexa to show the camera. While the camera is technically listed at $19.99 on Wyze’s website, they charge $5.99 shipping per camera, so it really costs $25.98. That just so happens to be the exact same price you can buy it on Amazon. The camera comes with a surprisingly robust set of features for the price, including 1080p video, night vision, motion detection, sound detection, and free 14-day cloud storage.

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Turn a Fire HD 8 or HD 10 tablet into an Echo Show with Amazon’s new ‘Show Mode’ feature and optional Dock

Amazon’s newly announced ‘Show Mode’ essentially turns any Fire HD 8 or Fire HD 10 tablet into an Echo Show. The new mode, which will arrive via a software update on July 2nd to all existing current generation Fire HD 8 and HD 10 tablets, provides a full-screen interface for hands-free Alexa interactions. To compliment Show Mode, Amazon has announced a new Show Mode Dock for the Fire HD 8 and a new Show Mode Dock for the Fire HD 10 that automatically put the tablets into Show Mode while charging. Read more ›

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Overview of Alexa Voice Navigation capabilities on the Fire TV Cube

A major part of Alexa’s roll on the Amazon Fire TV Cube is the voice assistant’s ability to control home theater equipment and serve as a universal remote. While controlling external devices with Alexa is great, Amazon has also added a lot of new voice navigation capabilities to the Fire TV Cube itself to better utilize Alexa. Here’s an overview of the different ways you can use Alexa to navigate around the Fire TV Cube’s interface. Read more ›

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Netflix now supports deep Alexa voice controls on Fire TV devices

The Netflix update that many Fire TV owners have been waiting for has arrived. Netflix has just updated their Fire TV app with deeper support for Alexa voice controls. Where before it was only possible to use Alexa to launch the Netflix app, now you can use the voice assistant to jump directly into playing a movie or TV show, control advanced playback in the app, and perform voice searches within Netflix. Read more ›

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Alexa and Echo devices are coming to hotels thanks to Alexa for Hospitality

Amazon has announced service that helps hotels, vacation rentals, and other locations deploy Alexa and Echo devices at scale. Alexa for Hospitality allows the voice assistant to be customized for each location. Guests will be able to ask for things like hotel information, order room service, request housekeeping, and control smart devices like lights and thermostats. It also appears as though there will be a way for guests to temporarily login to their hotel room’s Alexa device in order to access their music, make phone calls, and other personal Alexa functions. Select Marriott Hotels, Westin Hotels & Resorts, St. Regis Hotels & Resorts, Aloft Hotels, and Autograph Collection Hotels are already on board and will deploy Alexa devices starting this summer.

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Alexa and Echo devices coming to Spain and Italy later this year

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and Echo devices are continuing their global expansion. The lineup just debuted in France earlier this month, and now Amazon has announced that Spain and Italy are the next countries to get Alexa and Echo devices. Alexa’s arrival in Spain is significant because it means Alexa will speak Spanish for the first time, which is among the most popular languages in the world. Amazon is opening Alexa to developers in Spain and Italy now and will release the voice assistant and devices in those countries later this year. With the addition of Spain and Italy, Alexa will be available in 12 countries, which include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand, the UK, and the US.

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Alexa usage on Amazon Fire TVs has increased considerably

With the announcement of the new Fire TV Cube, Amazon is making Alexa a bigger part of their streaming media hardware than ever. That decision is likely influenced by the fact that Fire TV owners are using Alexa more than ever. VP of Fire TV product development Sandeep Gupta said, at the TV of Tomorrow Show in San Francisco on Wednesday, that Alexa usage on Fire TV devices increased by 23x during the 2017 holiday quarter when compared to the same three months in 2016, according to Variety. Amazon says that Alexa was queried close to half a billion times by Fire TV users in 2017. More recently, hours spent using Alexa on Fire TV devices nearly doubled over the past 9 months. As Alexa becomes more useful with new capabilities, those figures are sure to continue increasing.

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