Apple’s new HomePod speaker is their answer to the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Sonos

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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Amazon Echos can already call other Echos in the same house

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 ›

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How calls and messages work with Amazon Echos and the Alexa app

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 ›

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Voice calling and messaging comes to all Amazon Echos and Echo Dots

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 ›

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Exclusive: This is Amazon’s new Echo with a built-in touchscreen

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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Amazon Echo with built-in screen rumored to launch next month

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.

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Amazon Echo can now be connected to Bluetooth speakers

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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Audio synchronization coming to the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot for whole home audio support

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 ›

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Amazon Echo rumored to gain voice calling capabilities

According to sources familiar with the matter, The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Amazon Echo may soon be able to make and receive voice calls. This would position the device as a potential replacement for the home phone. The WSJ says the feature could arrive this year, but federal regulations regarding access to 911 and laws requiring phone companies to allow law enforcement agencies to wiretap calls in real time could complicate the release. Amazon announced Chime, an enterprise conferencing service, earlier this week, so they certainly now have the infrastructure to support voice-over-IP calling. I highly doubt such a feature would be supported on a device like the Fire TV through the microphone on the voice remote, but the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot certainly have the hardware to act as a speakerphone.

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Amazon Echo and Echo Dot update adds “Computer” wake word to help complete the Star Trek fantasy

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.

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