Hands-on with the Amazon’s Alexa app for Windows 10 PCs

Amazon and several PC manufacturers have announced that Alexa would be coming to select Windows 10 computers by way of a new Windows Alexa app made by Amazon. I got a quick chance to try the app running on an Alexa version of HPs Pavilion Wave computer at CES. Read more ›

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Alexa is coming to Windows 10 PCs from HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer

Amazon has teamed up with several PC manufactures to bring Alexa to Windows 10 later this year. Desktop and laptop PCs from HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer will work with a new Windows app that Amazon will in the Spring. The computers will access the voice assistant through far-field microphone and/or by pressing physical buttons. Read more ›

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iDevices to release light switch with integrated mic and speaker for built-in Alexa

There are dozens of connected light switches that can be controlled by Alexa with more being constantly released. None of them can do what the newly announced light switch from iDevices can do. With a built-in microphone and speaker, the Instinct, as it is being named, is a light switch that essentially doubles as an Echo Dot. You can, of course, control it through Alexa, but you don’t need a smart speaker or other Alexa-enabled device to do so, since you can talk to it directly. Read more ›

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Alexa will be coming to more smartwatches and headphones

Amazon has announced a new development kit that will make it easier for manufacturers of devices like watches and headphones to incorporate access to Alexa. Before today, if a device maker wanted to give their customers access to Alexa, they had to include all necessary Alexa communication components directly in the device or come up with some proprietary way to remotely access Alexa. The new Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit, as it’s being called, makes it possible for the Alexa app on a mobile device to act as a gateway to Alexa for a third-party device. A device using the new portable access option would connect to the Alexa app via Bluetooth and have full access to Amazon’s voice assistant. Bose, Jabra, iHome, Beyerdynamic, Bowers and Wilkins, Linkplay, SUGR, and Libre Wireless have already committed to bringing an Alexa-on-the-go experience to their Bluetooth audio-capable products this year.

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Amazon adds cooking capabilities to Alexa to control microwaves and ovens

Amazon has announced that they’ve expanded Alexa’s developer API to now include cooking capabilities. The new abilities allow customers to control smart microwaves, with control for conventional ovens and other cooking appliances coming later. Read more ›

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Amazon’s Alexa app can now set light colors and control thermostats

A few months ago, Amazon revamped the smart home section of their Alexa app and, in the process, made it possible to control lights directly from the app. This turned the app into a central hub where various lights, regardless of manufacturer, could be controlled from a single interface. Amazon has since expanded the app’s capabilities by adding control for lights and temperature control for connected thermostats. Read more ›

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Amazon’s Alexa can now give you traffic information for local businesses and landmarks

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has always been able to give you traffic information for your daily commute by entering that one address in the Alexa app. Now it’s capable of doing the same for local businesses and landmarks. You can, for example, ask “Alexa, how’s traffic to the airport” and it will tell you how long it will take to drive from your home to the nearest airport. Read more ›

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Minor change makes timers on Alexa devices more useful

The ability to set timers through Alexa is one of its basic but very useful abilities. The addition of named timers earlier this year was great, but they way Alexa tells you how much time you have left on a timer infuriated some people. Amazon has heard the complaints and has improved how Alexa responds to timer status requests. Read more ›

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Amazon Alexa can now set repeat reminders

You have been able to set repeat alarms with Alexa from the beginning, but now you can finally set a repeat reminder. To do so, just say something like “Alexa, remind me to [task] on every Monday at 7 a.m.” The advantage of a reminder versus an Alarm is that reminders speak out the task you set and don’t need to be turned off when they sound. Alexa will just play a tone a few times, speak out the task, and then go silent on its own. So if there’s something you need to be reminded of on a regular basis, but it’s not so important to merit a full alarm, repeat reminders are the new way to go. Big thanks to @Erinescence for the heads up.

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Amazon’s Alexa can now play music for your alarm

Amazon has added music alarms to Alexa. For all Alexa devices that support alarms, which include all the Echo devices but does not include Fire TV devices, you can select a song or type of music to be played when the alarm goes off, instead of the alarm sound being played. The feature works with all of the supported music services available through Alexa, which include Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime Music, Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, SiriusXM, and iHeartRadio. Read more ›

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