Now that you can make calls and send messages with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, users have been wanting to use the devices as home intercom systems. The upcoming Echo Show, which will be released tomorrow, has a Drop-in feature that will facilitate intercom-like communication, but buying a $230 device for every room isn’t feasible for most. Thankfully, Amazon has announced that they’re adding the Drop-in feature to all Echos and Echo Dots, which will turn them into full-fledged intercoms. Read more ›
Amazon today announced additional details about the new security camera capabilities of Alexa. Along with that announcement, it was revealed that Alexa devices without a screen, like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, will also have access to live feeds from security cameras. Obviously, since those devices don’t have screens, you won’t be able to view a camera feed using them, but you will be able to say something like “Alexa, listen to the baby’s room” to hear a live audio feed of a particular security camera. While that’s not nearly as useful as viewing a camera, it’s better than nothing. This is also a good indication that easy access to security cameras using Alexa will be coming to other Alexa-enabled devices, like the Fire TV and Fire tablets.
When Amazon introduced their new calling and messaging features for Alexa devices, they selected a pulsing green light as the indicator of an unheard message waiting to be played. The issue with that is it’s very similar to the spinning green light that indicates a call is coming in, so it’s very easy to mistake one for the other.
Amazon will soon be resolving this by replacing the pulsing green message indicator light with a solid yellow light. Yellow is not used for any other Echo and Echo Dot light ring functionality, so it should be obvious that a new message is waiting, that is, now that you know what it means. If you see a yellow light ring, just say “Alexa, play my message” to hear the message. Amazon says this change will go into effect “in the coming weeks.”
In my explanation of the Drop In feature of the upcoming Echo Show I mention it can be used as an intercom, but all Amazon Echos and Echo Dots can already be used to call each other in the same house thanks to the new calling features. Here’s how it works. Read more ›
If you’ve ever considered mounting an Amazon Echo Dot on the wall but didn’t want to commit to something permanent, you might be interested in a new product called The Spot that just got released. It’s a cradle that hangs off the Echo Dot’s included power adapter to get the device off of a countertop or table. It seems most ideal for use in a kitchen or bathroom, where you likely have power outlets that are up high. The Spot is currently on Amazon for $13.99, although it started the day at $11.99, and includes a short USB cable in the box to keep things tidy. It’s available in white or espresso. The creator has mentioned on reddit that gray and blue are coming next week, with a black version coming later.
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Amazon has just officially revealed the new Echo Show with video calling capabilities, but that’s not the only device that will be getting calling and messaging capabilities. All Amazon Echos and Echo Dots will now have the ability to receive voice calls as well as voice messages, if you choose. Read more ›
The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and possibly other Alexa devices will soon be able to synchronize audio across multiple devices. Users have reported seeing a new audio synchronization feature appear in the Alexa app. The feature, often referred to as whole home audio, will allow you to use multiple Alexa devices to play music as if they were satellite speakers connected to the same audio source. Read more ›
A new software update for the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot seems to be rolling out that adds the option to select “Computer” as the device’s wake word. Instead of using “Alexa,” or one of the alternatives like “Echo” and “Amazon”, you’ll be able to get a little closer to the ultimate dream of having the Star Trek computer in your home. The new option was first spotted by Reddit users as a new feature for software version 4812 on the German Amazon page for Echo software updates. Amazon’s page has since removed the new feature listing, but other redditors are reporting that the option is starting to appear in the wild.
Amazon now sells Leather and Fabric Cases for the Echo Dot 2 in 6 different colors. I’m not quite sure if they’re stylish or adorable, because they look like little cozy sweaters. You be the judge. The fabric versions are $14.99 each and come in charcoal (gray), indigo (blue), and sandstone (off-white). The leather versions are $19.99 and come in merlot (burgundy), midnight (black), and saddle (tan). They’re available to pre-order now and will be released on November 9th, expect for the sandstone and saddle colors, which will be released on November 23rd.
The Amazon Echo and 1st-gen Echo Dot are starting to receive a new software update, version 4008, that adds the much anticipated Echo Spatial Perception (ESP) feature. ESP is the feature revealed when the Echo Dot 2 was announced, that allows several Echos and Echo Dots within listening range of each other to correctly identify which device is closest to the person interacting with them. This makes it so two devices don’t respond to the same voice request. Read more ›