Amazon Alexa responses on Fire TVs now display new Compact Visuals

Amazon has updated the on-screen visuals that accompany Alexa responses on Fire TV devices to be more compact and unobtrusive. Prior to this update, all Alexa responses that displayed something on Fire TVs would take up the entire screen. These new visuals take up only the lower third of the screen and don’t take you away from what you’re currently watching. Only select Alexa responses will use the new visuals and they’re only available on some Fire TV models. Read more ›

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AT&T customers can now make & receive calls with Alexa and Echo devices

Amazon and AT&T have teamed up to allow AT&T mobile customers the ability to make and receive phone calls through Alexa devices. AT&T calling with Alexa works by first linking your existing AT&T mobile number to your Alexa account, which is done in the Alexa app under Settings > Communications. Once linked, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, call [NAME]” to place calls, where [NAME] is someone from your contacts, and incoming calls will ring on your Alexa device where you can say “Alexa, answer” to pick up the call. Read more ›

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Amazon’s Alexa can now pay for gas at Mobil and Exxon stations in the US

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant has gained a new feature that allows it to pay for gas at the pump using voice commands. The new capability, which is already live, works at over 11,500 Mobil and Exxon gas stations in the US. By simply saying “Alexa, pay for gas” and then confirming the station location and pump number, the pump will activate and be ready to use. Read more ›

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Amazon Echo Shows will support Zoom Video Meetings later this year

Zoom, the video calling/meeting service, has announced that they’ll be adding support for Zoom video calls to Amazon Echo Show devices this fall. Support will first be added to the Echo Show 8, with other models presumably gaining the functionality later in the year. You’ll be able to simply say “Alexa, join my zoom meeting” to start a video call. Zoom says that if you have your calendar linked in the Alexa app, you won’t need to know your meeting ID or passcode to enter meetings through your Echo Show. If you’re planning to use the new functionality, you might want to pick up one of Amazon’s Echo Show adjustable stands to better position the screen and camera. When Zoom support arrives, it will become the 3rd option for video calls on Echo Show devices, along with Amazon’s own calling service and Skype.

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Amazon’s Camp Prime suggests at home activities for Kids with Alexa as camp counselor

Amazon has teamed up with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to launch Camp Prime, a series of ways for kids and families to have fun at home and stay engaged this summer. If you’re looking for something new to do with kids, there are several activity guides (in PDF format) with ways to recreate a camp experience at home, such as making a Family Camp Crest and visiting The Canteen (a.k.a your kitchen) with recipe ideas. While not required, if you have an Echo device there are suggested Alexa commands in the guides to improve the activities, like saying “Alexa, play Campfire Sounds” for the Campfire Stories activity or saying “Alexa, open Bug Facts” for the All About Bugs activity.

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Amazon redesigns Alexa app with a focus on frequently used features

Amazon has a new redesigned Alexa app for Fire OS, Android, and iOS devices. The new app is not a drastic overhaul, like we saw back in 2018 when the current app asthetic first launched. Instead, this redesign adds a bit of polish throughout the app and tries to surface aspects of the app that are most used. The biggest change to the app is with its Home screen, where the large info cards that used to dominate the screen have been pushed down lower and replaced with minimalistic shortcuts and suggestions for that moment. Read more ›

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Amazon Fire TV Cube will soon be able to change OTA tuner channels on TVs through Alexa

Amazon has let me know that Fire TV Cubes in the US and select countries will soon gain the ability to switch channels on the over-the-air tuner built into TVs. The Fire TV Cube has always had the ability to change channels on Cable and Sattelite boxes, but now this upcoming update expands that capability to also include changing channels from an HD antenna directly on your TV. Once the feature arrives, and is configured, you’ll be able to ask Alexa to change channels by saying “Alexa, tune to channel [#] on TV.” You’ll also be able to change channels by name by saying “Alexa, tune to [CHANNEL NAME] on TV.” Read more ›

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How to use the new Smart Home Dashboard on Amazon Fire TVs and Firesticks

Amazon has recently made a Smart Home Dashboard available on select Fire TV devices, as spotted by some Reddit users. It seems as though the dashboard is only available to some devices and/or some users, so you may not be able to access it. Here is an overview of how to use it and some of the things it can do. Read more ›

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Alexa Reminders can now come from all devices simultaniously

Along the same theme as the new Group Drop In feature, which allows you to communicate through all of your Echo devices simultaneously, Amazon has also made it possible for Alexa Reminders to be heard through all devices as well. You can now default all reminders to come from all devices or specify individual reminders to be spoken from all devices. Read more ›

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Alexa can now Drop In on all Echo devices for whole-home conversations

Alexa is now able to Drop In on all of your Echo devices at once. The Drop In feature, which lets you begin communicating through your Echo without needing anyone on the other end to pick up the call, used to only be a 2-way conversation between 2 devices. With the addition of Group Drop In, as Amazon is calling it, now all Echos can communicate simultaneously, like a multi-point intercom system. Read more ›

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