Conversation Mode launches on Echo Show 10 to allow interaction without needing to say “Alexa” everytime

Amazon has announced that Alexa’s Conversation Mode, first teased a year ago, launches today on Echo Show 10 devices. The new feature allows for more natural back and forth interaction with Alexa without needing to use the wake word before each request. This goes far beyond Alexa’s existing Follow-up mode, which simply keeps Alexa listening after every response, by using audio and visual detection to determine when speech is directed at the Echo device, which Amazon says “represents a major milestone in voice AI.” Read more ›

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Get a Kasa Smart Plug for $3.49 and/or Kasa Smart Bulb for $0.99 exclusively through Alexa voice shopping

Amazon is currently offering a couple of great deals if purchased through Alexa voice shopping. You can get the Kasa Smart Plug Mini with Energy Monitoring for $3.49 by saying “Alexa, order Kasa Smart Plug Mini.” This normally sells for $22.99 and the lowest price that it has ever been in the past is $12.99. You can also get the Kasa Dimmable Color Changing Smart Bulb for $0.99 by saying “Alexa, order Kasa Smart Bulb.” This too normally sells for $22.99 and has only been down to $19 in the past. If you prefer to make your purchase the old fashion way, instead of saying “Alexa, order…” you can say “Alexa, add [ITEM] to my shopping cart.” Then you’ll be able to view the items in your cart on Amazon.com or in the Amazon app and the Alexa exclusive discount will be applied automatically to the order because you used Alexa to add the items. You may order either or both items at the special Alexa discounted price.

Update:

The Kasa bulb appears to have sold out but has been replaced by a Sengled Color Smart Blub for $0.99 that normally sells for $14.99. Say “Alexa, order Sengled Smart Bulb” to buy it or “Alexa, add Sengled Smart Bulb to my cart” to checkout on Amazon.com. If you purchased the Kasa bulb you can also purchase the Sengled bulb.

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Amazon adds Ultrasound Motion Detection to select Echo speakers

Amazon has added the ability for 4th-gen Echo and 4th-gen Echo Dots to detect occupancy in a room by emitting an inaudible ultrasound audio wave. The capability can be used to automatically trigger Alexa Routines when you enter or exit a room. When configuring the trigger of a routine, select “Smart Home” and then select the appropriate Echo to be given the option to trigger the routine when “People are detected” or when “People aren’t detected.” You also have the option of enabling or disabling ultrasound motion detection altogether for each compatible Echo device. This is done under the device settings of each Echo within the Alexa app.

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Toshiba reveals its first Fire TV Smart TV with hands-free Alexa voice control

As promised when Amazon announced its own hands-free Fire TV Smart TVs, Toshiba has revealed it’s first flagship TV with hands-free Alexa capabilities that can be controlled by voice, without needing to pick up the remote. The Toshiba M550 Series TVs, as they are called, feature an array of 4 microphones, a physical mute switch, and multi-color LED indicator lights along the bottom center to communicate if the TV is muted or listening as a result of hearing its wake word. The 4K TVs, which will be available in 55, 65, and 75-inch sizes, feature LED backlighting with full-array local dimming and support for Dolby Vision, HDR10+, and HDR content. Read more ›

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Alexa can now move playing music from one device to another

Amazon has added the ability to move music playing on one Alexa device to another. Simply say “Alexa, move my music to [Destiniation Device Name]” stop the music that is playing and start it up on the destination device. Alternatively, you can say “Alexa, pause” to the device that is playing music and then say “Alexa, resume music here” to the device that you want to pick up music playback. This also works on Echo Buds and Echo Auto if you want to switch from listening at home to your on-the-go devices. The capability isn’t limited to music, as you can move and resume podcasts and radio stations as well. Just use commands like “Alexa, move my podcast…” or “Alexa, resume radio…” when relevant.

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Amazon releases new Smart Air Quality Monitor that works with Alexa

Amazon has been on a bit of an Alexa Gadget kick related to health. A few months ago we saw the release of a Smart Soap Dispenser that pairs up with Alexa to ensure you and your loved ones are washing for the full recommended 20 seconds. Now, Amazon has announced a new Smart Air Quality Monitor that also works with Alexa to keep track of particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carbon monoxide (CO), humidity, and temperature in your home. Read more ›

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Amazon to discontinue Alexa email integration on November 8th

Amazon has started informing customers that Alexa’s ability to manage emails will end on November 8th, 2021. The feature, which was added at the end of 2018, allowed customers to link Gmail, Hotmail, and Outlook email accounts in the Alexa app. Once linked, you could say “Alexa, read my email” to hear a list of your most recent emails. Then, you could ask for an email to be read, deleted, archived, and several other actions including replying to an email by voice. It’s unclear why Amazon is discontinuing the feature, but it did require Amazon to constantly check and store a copy of your emails on its servers, which could certainly be a burden if the feature was seldom used, not to mention the privacy and security concerns that doing so entails. As a byproduct, Alexa will also no longer be able to provide package tracking updates for non-Amazon deliveries, since that feature was only possible by linking your email account. Receiving Amazon delivery updates by saying “Alexa, where’s my stuff?” will continue to work, as will calendar access. Customers who have linked their email accounts with Alexa don’t need to do anything, as the email accounts will be unlinked automatically.

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You can now say “Play Something on Netflix” to your Fire TV

Amazon has announced that the voice command “Play Something on Netflix” is now available on Fire TV devices in the US and Canada. Saying the command, either to the remote microphone or hands-free to Alexa on a Fire TV Cube or Fire TV Omni Smart TV, should begin playing something that Netflix thinks you’ll enjoy, making it the quickest way to start watching anything on a Fire TV. This was one of the new upcoming Fire TV features that Amazon teased last month. I tried the voice command myself and, while Alexa seems to indicate it understood the command by responding “Getting something from Netflix,” all that happened is the Netflix app opened. So, it seems like the feature is still in the process of rolling out and may not be available to everyone just yet.

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Alexa can now give you more time to finish speaking with its new Adaptive Listening Mode

Amazon has added a new feature called Adaptive Listening to Alexa devices, as reported by The Verge. Once enabled, Alexa will give you more time to finish speaking before it starts to respond to you. This will surely be handy for those with speech impediments but will also be nice for anyone who finds that Alexa cuts in mid-sentence when they’re just pausing for a second before completing their request. Read more ›

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Sling TV is coming to all Amazon Echo Show devices

During the reveal of the Echo Show 15 yesterday, Amazon announced that subscribers to Sling TV would soon be able to watch the streaming service on Echo Show devices. Amazon confirmed that all Echo Show models would be able to access the streaming service but has not provided a timeframe for when support would arrive. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo and Echo Show 10 will soon be able to process all voice requests locally

During today’s big Amazon event, where numerous new Alexa devices were revealed, an interesting new capability to existing devices was announced. Amazon announced that the 4th-generation Amazon Echo and the 3rd-generation Echo Show 10 will soon be able to process all voice requests locally on the device without needing to send any recordings to the cloud. This is a pretty feature and one that has not been achieved by any smart speaker. Read more ›

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Amazon Astro is a new home assistant robot that costs $1,000

The long-rumored Amazon Alexa robot has been announced as the Amazon Astro, a three-wheeled home assistant robot that will initially cost $999.99. The dog-sized device is the culmination of all of Amazon’s efforts in smart assistants, AI, robotics, and home security. Read more ›

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Alexa app can now auto-upload mobile photos for use in Fire TV & Echo Show screensavers

Amazon has added the option to automatically upload photos from your phone in the Alexa app. Enabling the option will save your photos on Amazon Photos, where Prime members get unlimited storage and non-Prime members get 5GB of storage. The reason for doing so is so that your photos can be displayed in the screensavers of Alexa devices, like Fire TVs and Echo Shows. A “Daily Memories” option can be enabled to automatically display a new curated set of your photos every day. To enable the option, open the Alexa app on your phone and go to More > Settings > Photos. To enable Daily Memories through the Alexa app, go to Devices > Echo & Alexa > select your Fire TV or Echo > Screensaver.

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These are some of the new features coming to Fire TV devices later this year

It’s like Christmas for Fire TV fans because Amazon has unloaded a bunch of info on new Fire TV products and features. While the main focus has been on the new hardware, like the Fire TV Stick 4K Max and the Amazon-built Fire TV Omni Smart TVs, there are also quite a few new software features coming to both the new hardware and existing devices. Here’s a breakdown of the features coming soon to Fire TVs. Read more ›

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New ‘Adaptive Volume’ feature for Amazon Alexa makes it speak louder when it’s noisy

Amazon has launched a new Alexa feature called Adaptive Volume which causes the voice assistant to respond more loudly when it detects a noisy environment, as spotted by The Verge. When enabled, the option, essentially, allows Alexa to override the current volume setting of the device by temporarily increasing the output volume for that one interaction if background noise is detected. Read more ›

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Get a Smart Plug and/or Smart Bulb for $0.99 each by ordering through Amazon Alexa — UPDATE: Select Customers Only

Amazon is currently offering a Smart Plug and/or Smart Bulb for $0.99 each. To get them at that great price, all you have to do is order through Alexa. The smart bulb is a Sengled Color Changing Bluetooth Bulb that normally sells for $14.99. Order it by saying “Alexa, order a Sengled Smart Bulb.” The smart plug is the WYZE WLPP1CFH-1 WiFi & Bluetooth Smart Plug that normally sells for $10.99. Order it by saying “Alexa, order a Wyze Plug.” You may purchase one of each item for $0.99 each. This offer ends Aug. 27th.

Update

This deal is for select customers only. Sorry for not realizing that initially.

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Amazon announces Smart Soap Dispenser that can automatically trigger Alexa routines

Amazon has announced a new Smart Soap Dispenser that works with Alexa. All on its own, the soap dispenser has a few smart capabilities, such as guiding you through the proper amount of time to spend washing and dispensing the right amount of soap. If optionally paired with an Echo smart speaker, the soap dispenser will also launch an Alexa routine when used, which opens it up to numerous additional possibilities. Read more ›

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Alexa routines can now be launched with multiple phrases

Alexa routines have gained a small but useful new feature. When creating an Alexa routine that is launched by a custom phrase, it is now possible to add additional phrases that can launch the same routine. Prior to this change, each routine could only be launched by a single phrase. Now you can add up to 7 different phrases to each Alexa routine. This allows you to add variations of the main phrase, in case you or someone in your household is prone to forget the exact wording needed. It also lets you add some fun alternative phrases without losing the ability to use simpler phrases for launching Alexa routines.

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Alexa can now read with kids through new Reading Sidekick feature

Amazon has announced Reading Sidekick, a new Alexa feature for Fire tablets and Echo speakers that will take turns reading with kids. This new capability is included with an Amazon Kids+ subscription, which comes included with Fire Kids tablets, Echo Dot Kids edition, or can be purchased seperatly for as little as $2.99 per month. Reading Sidekick will listen as children read to help if they strugle and encourage them when they succeed. To try the feature, say “Alexa, let’s read” or “Alexa, open Reading Sidekick.” The feature already works with over 700 books which can be selected thorugh the Amazon Kids app.

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These Prime Day deals are cheaper if you order through Alexa — Smart Plugs, Bulbs, Cameras, and more

Amazon has a few hidden Prime Day deals that can only be scored if you order through Alexa. Some of the items are already on sale for Prime Day and Alexa will save you even more, while others aren’t on sale at all, so ordering through Alexa is the only way to get any kind of discount on them. Read on for the full list and be sure to check back tomorrow because Amazon often swaps items in and out, so I will be keeping this list updated through tomorrow night. Read more ›

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