Items tagged with echo

The smart home category is one of the fastest growing segments and everyone wants a piece of it. That includes Apple, which is looking for another breakout product like the iPhone. Apparently Apple believes that product could be a smart home device similar to Amazon's Echo gadget, but powered by Siri instead of Alexa and sporting a few additional bells and whistles.People who claim to be familiar with Apple's plans say that Apple began work on the smart home device two years ago, and that the project just recently exited the research and development phase. Apple has yet to finalize plans for whatever... Read more...
Amazon Alexa has been gaining new skills at a dizzying pace. Back in early June, Alexa had amassed 1,000 skills, and by the end of that month the number had already jumped to 1,400. Today, that number stands at over 3,000. That’s a remarkable feat for the humble, voice-activated speaker that first launched back in late 2014. The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) has been around for roughly a year, and developers have wasted no time plugging their apps and services into Alexa and the Echo family of products. That was on display today with announcements of a dozen new Alexa skills... Read more...
Amazon is tired of being merely an online retailer and is aggressively expanding into brick-and-mortar store locations. The company plans on opening over a dozen pop-up stores in American malls over the next year. The stores will particularly focus on Echo home speakers and Alexa. While the Amazon bookstore that opened in Seattle last year is run by Amazon’s retail team, its pop-up stores will instead be organized by the devices team. The initiative is led by Senior Vice President of Devices and Services Dave Lim. The pop-up stores will therefore focus on Amazon devices such as the Echo and Kindle.... Read more...
Who knew from the outset that Amazon’s Echo smart speaker and its underlying Alexa voice assistant would become this popular and have such a huge backing from the developer community? But as Amazon’s Alexa Skill Kit, Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Fund turn a year old, we’re seeing even more greatness added to the platform. Amazon today announced that it has enabled functionality that makes adding new Skills to your Echo incredibly simple. All you have to do is say “Alexa, enable NBC News” and you have instant access to the Skill. Or, you could say “Alexa, enable Beer Trivia” to help get your drinking... Read more...
Amazon is bringing Alexa, its voice powered digital assistant, to a wider audience, and this time it doesn't require the purchase of a smart speaker like Echo. Alexa is now available right inside your browser as part of a project called Echosim.io, which uses 3D JavaScript animations and Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration. "Echosim.io lives in your browser, so anyone, anywhere can access it and test their Alexa skills. You no longer need an Alexa-enabled device to test your skills. Developers worldwide can use Echosim.io to experience Alexa. Its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand... Read more...
It can be argued that Apple kicked off the digital assistant craze nearly five years ago when it baked Siri into iOS 5 and promoted it as a major feature of the iPhone 4S, but it's Amazon's Echo that everyone is gunning for. Google's taking a direct approach with Google Home, a Wi-Fi connected smart speaker, and apparently so will Apple, which also might open up Siri to app developers by releasing a software development kit (SDK).The latter is the more immediate step Apple is considering, according to a paywalled report by The Information, which cites "a person with direct knowledge of the effort."... Read more...
Digital assistants have proven handy companions for daily activities and reminders, and not just on smartphones, but more recently in standalone form as well. Amazon was first to really capitalize on the latter, and now Google's getting in the game—it's expected to announce a device similar to Echo called Google Home later today.Google Home will be able to answer questions and perform basic tasks. The full extent of its capabilities will be made known when Google makes an official announcement, but you can expect that it will be able to play music, look up the weather, search the web for answers... Read more...
Pretty soon it might be easier and quicker to list the things Amazon's Echo speaker can't do rather than what it can. The list of tricks runs deep, from firing up Spotify to summoning an Uber driver. Heck, you can have Echo order a pizza if you're craving Domino's. If all that weren't enough, a new app created by the Innovation & Digital Health Acclerator (IDHA) team at Boston Children's Hospital gives Echo the ability to answer questions about your child's health. Called "KidsMD," the new app isn't just for Echo, but for any device powered by Amazon's Alexa digital assistant, including Amazon's... Read more...
The Amazon Echo has been a pretty hot gadget to have around the home.  At its core, the Echo is a smart speaker system which can respond to voice commands care of Amazon's digital personal assistant named Alexa.  Alexa can queue up your favorite playlist, remind you about your meetings for the day, re-order toilet paper, or even help set some mood lighting with the right integration.  For all the fun and convenience the Echo can offer, though, it doesn't come cheap with a current price point of $179.99.Fortunately, Amazon has provided a solution to this cost problem, provided you... Read more...
As we first heard in early January, Amazon is expanding its Echo family, and today the company is announcing two new Alexa-powered devices. The first is the Echo Dot, which looks like a regular Echo that has been hit with a shrink ray to take on the form of a hockey puck. The Echo Dot doesn’t have all of the speaker hardware of its bigger brother and instead connects to your existing speaker system. If you’re at all familiar with the regular Echo, all remaining functionality of the Echo Dot is exactly the same — you’ll even find the same blue glowing ring and a seven-microphone array. You can ask... Read more...
Amazon surprised a lot of people when, seemingly out of the blue, it launched a smart speaker called Echo. It may have seemed like an oddball product at the time, but not anymore. Echo's built-in digital assistant, Alexa, dutifully executes an assortment of commands—she'll even order Domino's Pizza! Echo works with an assortment of third-party products and services, and now you can add the ecobee3 "smarter" Wi-Fi thermostat to the mix. "We’re excited to provide ecobee3 users with added functionality and convenience through Amazon Echo," said Stuart Lombard, president and CEO of ecobee. "Amazon... Read more...
Amazon's Echo smart speaker and digital assistant keeps getting smarter and smarter it seems and it's beginning to pay dividends for the company. So much so that recent reports note that Amazon's Echo is the most popular Bluetooth speaker in the etail channel right now, besting strong competitors like Bose, Sonos and Logitech. We gave Amazon's smart, musical little princess high marks in our full review for both versatility and responsiveness, as well as its future growth potential. AMZN has been committed to enhancing the platform since day one and Alexa, Echo's oh-so helpful digital persona has... Read more...
Well here's an interesting development—Amazon today announced that its Echo smart speaker now supports streaming directly from Spotify. That means if you're a subscriber to Spotify's Premium tier, you can bark commands like "Alexa, play ZZ Top from Spotify" and in no time you'll be boogieing out to "Sharp Dressed Man." It's interesting because the added functionality comes less than a week after reports emerged that Amazon is working on a standalone streaming music service of its own, one that would topple Spotify and other players in the space. Maybe those plans are a long way off or perhaps this... Read more...
Wouldn't it be rad (yes, I said rad) if James Lipton was always on call to provide a dramatic reading of a novel? I'd also be delighted to sit back and listen to James Earl Jones narrate a grisly tale, or Morgan Freeman read just about anything, even a telephone book. Perhaps they'd be willing for the right amount of coin, but in lieu of what's probably not attainable, Alexa, the voice of Amazon's Echo speaker, will happily read from your collection of Kindle books. "With Kindle Books by Alexa, you can ask Alexa to read Kindle books in your library. Alexa reads books purchased from the Kindle Store,... Read more...
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