Earlier this week, Amazon launched a new crowdfunding-like program called Build It where the number of pre-orders of a product determines if the product gets released. The program launched with three potential Alexa Gadgets and, after less than 3 days, the first of those products has already reached the required number of pre-orders to be released. The Smart Sticky Note Printer, which allows you to print notes, lists, puzzles, and more on inkless sticky paper by asking Alexa, will be released later this year. Anyone who places a pre-order for the printer before March 19 will pay $89.99, while all orders after that date will pay the regular price of $114.99. The printer is estimated to be released between July – September 2021. As of this posting, the Smart Nutrition Scale and Smart Cuckoo Clock have only received 39% and 35% of their necessary pre-orders, respectively.
Amazon has kicked off a new crowdfunding-like program called Build It where they allow customers to pre-order a new product that will only be built if it reaches a pre-order goal. Customers can cancel their pre-order anytime and even return products after they ship, like any other Amazon purchase, making the program far less risky than traditional crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The program is launching with 3 Alexa products: a Smart Cuckoo Clock, a Smart Nutrition Scale, and a Smart Sticky Note Printer. Read more ›
Amazon has introduced a new Alexa feature called Music Sharing that allows you to share the song that you’re listening to on your Echo device with a friend. While a song is playing, simply say “Alexa share this song with [name]” and the named friend will receive a notification about the song through their Echo devices and their Alexa app. When the friend opens the notification, they’ll be able to listen to the song and reply back with a reaction. Read more ›
The Alexa app has been updated to include a new feature called the Energy Dashboard that attempts to estimate the power consumption of your smart home devices. The dashboard charts the power usage of smart lights, plugs, thermostats, and more over time so that you can see which smart devices use the most energy and whether your power usage is trending up or down. While Alexa’s new energy dashboard does seem to report power usage figures from smart devices that report their energy consumption, it also works with more basic smart devices by simply tracking how long each one is powered on during a given timeframe. Read more ›
Amazon’s Alexa has gained a new capability for alerting you when a particular event occurs. By saying “Alexa, tell me when…” and completing the request with a number of possible events, Alexa will create a reminder that will be triggered when that event takes place. Events that can be used in this manner include sports, TV shows, holidays, and arriving emails. Read more ›
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, Alexa Feature
A new Sound Detection option for configuring when an Alexa Routine is triggered has begun appearing in the Alexa app for some Amazon Echo owners. When selected, the option allows for Alexa Routines to be triggered by the sound of a baby crying, a person snoring, or when someone coughs. These new options seem to be rolling out slowly to customers in the US. Read more ›
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Amazon says that group calling is now available for audio calls through an Echo or video calls through an Echo Show. The feature supports up to 7 participants and is available in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the US, and the UK. You can go into the Alexa app to create a group containing multiple contacts and then call that group at once by saying “Alexa, call [group name].” Read more ›
About a year ago, Alexa gained the ability to play podcasts from Spotify in the US. That capability is now also being made available in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, India, Austria, and Ireland. Once you have Alexa linked to Spotify, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, play [podcast name] podcast on Spotify” to start listening. Easy as that. Once the podcast episode is playing, you should be able to use the usual podcast commands to control playback.
Amazon has announced that select Fire TV models can now automatically display picture-in-picture (PIP) feeds of video doorbells and security cameras when an action occurs. When a Ring Video Doorbell is pressed, the Fire TV will bring up a live feed of the doorbell’s camera in the upper right corner of the screen without taking you away from what you’re watching. If you’d like, you can then say “Alexa, talk to [Ring doorbell device name]” to begin a two-way conversation between the Fire TV and the doorbell. To go full screen with the video feed, you can say “Alexa, show [Ring doorbell device name]” as usual. Read more ›
Amazon has launched a Live Translation feature for Alexa that will translate between two languages in real-time. The feature uses an Amazon Echo or Echo Show to translate conversations between English and French, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Read more ›