Amazon CES News Roundup: New Ring devices, new Alexa features, and more

This is the week of the big Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While Amazon doesn’t typically make many announcements at CES, there are usually a few noteworthy things related to Alexa, Echos, Ring, and other Amazon brands that come out of the show. Here is a roundup of the top news from Amazon at CES. Read more ›

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Kasa Smart Bulb is $4.99 and Blink Mini Camera is $19.99 if ordered through Alexa during Black Friday

Amazon has a couple of Alexa-exclusive deals for Black Friday this year with prices that you can only get if you order through Alexa. The first is the Kasa Color Smart Bulb for $4.99, which you can order by saying “Alexa, order a Kasa Smart Bulb.” This 1,000-lumen WiFi smart bulb is normally priced at $22.99 and has been as low as $13.99 in the past. The second Alexa-exclusive deal is the Blink Mini Security Camera for $19.99, which you can get by saying “Alexa, order a Blink Mini White” or “Alexa, order a Blink Mini Black.”. The camera has a list price of $34.99 and is currently on sale for Black Friday for $29.99, but it has been as low as $24.99 in the past. UPDATE: The smart bulb is no longer available at a discount through Alexa but you can still get the Blink Mini camera for $19.99 when ordering through Alexa.

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For those important reminders, Alexa can now follow-up with you to make sure you didn’t miss the message

Having Amazon’s Alexa remind you to do something is great but, unlike Alarms that have to be dismissed, reminders can be easily missed if you happen to be out of the room when the reminder goes off and you don’t see the notification on your phone. If there’s a reminder that you absolutely don’t want to miss, you can now have Alexa follow up on a reminder to ensure you got the message or didn’t forget about it. Read more ›

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These are the first 17 Amazon Echo models to gain support for the new Matter smart home standard

Matter, the new smart home standard that is supposed to usher in a new era of simplicity and interoperability across all forms of smart home devices has officially launched this week. It’ll probably be months before support for Matter reaches all the different device types included in the standard, such as Fire TVs and streaming devices, but Amazon has announced the first 17 Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show models to receive support for Matter. Here’s the full list as well as details on which aspects of Matter will initially be functional and which will not. Read more ›

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Conversational AI-driven recommendation engine launches out of beta testing on Fire TV

A little-known feature of Fire TV devices is the ability to say “What should I watch?” to Alexa to launch a conversational AI-driven recommendation interface that can help you whittle down the abundance of available streaming content. The feature first launched a year ago with the introduction of Amazon’s own Omni Series Fire TVs and now it is out of beta and available to everyone. Read more ›

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Alexa can now tell you just the day’s high or low temperature instead of the entire weather forcast

When you ask Alexa for the weather, the voice assistant’s standard response is to give you the sunniness, current temperature, high temperature, and low temperature. If that’s too much info and you just want to know the day’s high or low temperature, it’s now possible to get just that, as discovered by Reddit user derallo. If you ask “Alexa, what’s the high/low today?,” you’ll now just be told, “Today, expect a high/low of [##] degrees fahrenheit/celsius.” If you want just the current temperature and ask “Alexa, what is the temperature?” you still also get told the day’s high, unfortunately. If all you want is the current temperature, you can use the Alexa Skill Just The Temperature, which lets you say “Alexa, just the temperature” and get back “It’s [##] degrees” as a response. Update: As noted in the comments, it seems like this change isn’t available to everyone yet.

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Alexa can now delay a request’s execution if you say “…in X minutes”

Amazon has recently made it possible to make an Alexa request that doesn’t actually execute immediately. As discovered by Reddit user versaveaux, you can now add “…in X minutes” to the end of an Alexa request to easily schedule the request in the near future. For example, saying “turn off the lights in 10 minutes” will now work as expected. Judging by the comments from some people on Reddit, this new capability may not be available to everyone yet.

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Amazon to let brands submit answers to common Alexa questions as a form of advertising

Amazon has announced an upcoming Alexa capability called “Customers Ask Alexa” which will allow brands to submit their own answers to questions asked by Alexa users. Instead of providing an answer sourced from the web or crowdsourced from other Alexa users, as is done today, Alexa may soon choose to use a branded answer instead. Read more ›

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Fire TV gains new Alexa commands for Thursday Night Football on Prime Video

The first regular season Thursday Night Football game between the San Diego Chargers and the Kansas City Chiefs kicks off tomorrow at 4pm PT and Amazon has added some new Alexa commands to make the experience a bit better on Fire TV devices. Of course, you can say “Alexa, play Thursday Night Football” to jump into the game but you can now also say “Alexa, open X-Ray” to see real-time access live stats appear on the right of the screen. If you don’t want to be distracted with on-screen stats, you can just ask Alexa for specific stats, like “Alexa, how many rushing yards do the Chiefs have today?“, “Alexa, who has the most tackles today?“, or “Alexa, who leads the NFL in touchdowns?“, and Alexa will reply with the answer without interrupting the game. As a reminder, Thursday Night Football is the first Prime Video content that can be recorded for viewing later. You can set games to record in the Prime Video app on Fire TV devices, or you can achieve the same thing by simply saying “Alexa, add Thursday Night Football to my watchlist.” Adding Amazon’s NFL coverage to your watchlist will make all game playback available “until 2023,” according to Amazon.

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Alexa can now be used in-game to control PC and Xbox gameplay — No Echo Necessary

Amazon has just announced Alexa Game Control at the Gamescom gaming convention, which allows PC and Xbox gamers to perform various in-game actions by voice. To use it, you won’t need to say “Alexa…” or even have an Alexa device, like an Echo, because it works by just directly speaking into any gaming mic or headset. Read more ›

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