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.”
Apple has announced their competitor to the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers, and it’s called the HomePod. It’s a round speaker covered in either a white or space grey fabric mesh. It’s being touted primarily as a premium music device, although it does have Siri built-in to compete with Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s voice assistant. Read more ›
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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 ›
Amazon has officially announced the Echo Show, the newest member of their line of Alexa devices. While it has a lot of great new features not present on any previous Echo device, what might be bigger news is the suite of free communication services they announced with the new device that is coming to all existing Echos and Echo Dots. This new service allows you to place video/voice calls and send text messages seamlessly between Echo devices and the Alexa app. Here’s how it all works. Read more ›
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 ›
Here is the first look at what Amazon’s upcoming Echo with a built-in touchscreen looks like. I was able to locate this unfortunately low resolution image on Amazon’s servers in a similar manner to how I found what we now know to be the Echo Look. This new member of the Echo lineup is codenamed “Knight” and is expected to be released later this month.
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The long rumored new Echo device with a built-in screen might be launching next month, according to CNET. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the new device last year and then Bloomberg later said it would have a 7-inch touchscreen. It definitely seems the new Echo, codenamed “Knight,” is at least real and very close to launch. CNET’s source says Amazon might be speeding up the launch to stay ahead of Google’s Home speaker.
In a recent software update, Amazon has added the ability for the Amazon Echo to connect to external Bluetooth speakers. The Echo Dot has always had this ability because you’re expected to connect it to external speakers, but the full sized Echo is meant to be a stand alone device, so external speaker connectivity was never present until now. Read more ›
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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 ›