Items tagged with echo

Amazon first introduced the Alexa-powered smart speaker back in late 2014, and it made a huge splash in the smart home market. Since that time, Amazon has introduced a steady stream of new Echo devices, but the original has remained largely the same (save for the white color option). That changes today, as Amazon has just announced a smaller, second generation Echo. The new Echo is roughly half the size of the original (at least with respect to height), but still larger than the diminutive Echo Dot. The new AI smart speaker gains a dedicated bass tweeter, and supports multi-room audio, allowing... Read more...
There may be a new 4K Apple TV launching tomorrow, but a carefully-timed leak from Amazon is looking to steal the show today. We don't know if this was planned "corporate leak" from Amazon itself, but there are two new Fire TV products that will be arriving shortly from Amazon. The first model features a dongle-style form-factor, which houses some potent hardware (at least for a media streamer). Its design makes it more similar in concept to the Google Chromecast than the Fire TV Stick, which has been the entry point to Amazon's streaming TV offerings. This particular model, which goes by the codename... Read more...
If you have multiple Amazon Echo speakers in your household, a new feature has been enabled which will allow you to spread your favorite tunes to every room. The feature is called Alexa Multi-Room Music, and as its name implies, allows you to synchronize music playback with two or more Echo devices. To get started, you will first need to fire up the Amazon Alexa app and create a group that contains two or more Echo devices. So, if you have an Echo in the kitchen and one in the den, you can create a group called “Downstairs”, for example. Afterwards, you can simply say “Alexa, play Dave Matthews... Read more...
Microsoft is already dealing with the fallout from Consumer Reports’ decision to pull its recommendation of Surface PCs due to reliability issues, and now a former executive is spilling the beans on turmoil within the company’s Cortana team. Qi Lu, a leading AI researcher, headed up Microsoft’s applications and services unit before abandoning ship earlier this year to work at Chinese tech powerhouse Baidu. In a recent interview, Lu explains that Microsoft at first didn’t really take Amazon seriously, contending that Alexa technology was far behind what Cortana was capable of achieving. “Google... Read more...
If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines during this whole “AI smart speaker” revolution, then maybe now is the time to pull the trigger. Last month during its Prime Day sales extravaganza, Amazon was selling its original Echo for $89. Since that time, the price has skyrocketed back up to its original MSRP of $179.99. However, retailers like Best Buy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, P.C. Richard & Son, and ABT are now matching the Prime Day price of $89.99. This sale price only lasts for today, so here’s your last chance to score an Echo at its all-time low price. If the standard Echo is a little... Read more...
Bigger is better, right? When it comes to smartphones, larger screens have definitely won over the majority of consumers (save for the iPhone SE holdouts), but Facebook might be looking to go “big” in a completely different arena. A new report suggests that Facebook is working on a new smart speaker that will incorporate a display that will make the Amazon Echo Show’s 7-inch screen look puny in comparison. Facebook’s device would allegedly feature a massive 15-inch display, which makes us think that the actual “speaker” portion may be more of an afterthought. The device would incorporate touch... Read more...
If you do not care about having a fancy touchscreen on your smart speaker, you can score a pretty good deal on Amazon's original Echo model. Amazon is currently selling its voice-controlled Echo speaker with Alexa integration for $130, down 28 percent from its regular retail price of $180. It is available at that discounted price in both black and white color options as Amazon looks to make room for its Echo Show. Amazon announced the Echo Show last month. It is essentially a newer version of the original Echo smart speaker, but with a completely different design to accommodate a built-in 7-inch... Read more...
Following the philosophy that some things are better late than never, Amazon has rolled out the ability to block calls and messages to its Alexa-powered Echo devices. For whatever reason, Amazon did not think to include call and message blocking from the start, which is a bit of a privacy concern—without that ability, anyone with your phone number and Alexa mobile app could leave a message that might get played over your Echo speaker.Users kicked up a fuss over the privacy oversight. Amazon heard the complaints and promised an update to address the issue, which is now available, at least for iOS.... Read more...
Amazon wants to make sure that its digital assistant only springs to life when it is actually summoned, versus misinterpreting a word or phrase for "Alexa." To make that possible, Amazon in introducing a new feature called Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification. Just as it sounds, the new feature is intended to improve the accuracy of its wake word detection scheme to reduce or eliminate false wakes caused by similar sounding words. "With this update, the wake word engine (WWE) on the device handles the initial detection of 'Alexa', and then a secondary cloud-based check verifies the utterance. If... Read more...
Amazon has been in the news a lot recently, mainly for its popular Alexa AI that powers its Echo family of products. The company last week announced the Echo Show, which features a 7-inch display, and today the company has revealed a partnership with Element to produce 4K Smart TVs. Element isn’t a brand that you would normally associate with high-end picture quality or plentiful features — it’s a brand that you would typically find at retail stores like Walmart or Target with budget pricing. However, Amazon isn’t letting that “cheap” stigma get in the way of spreading Alexa AI magic to more people.... Read more...
Amazon's latest Alexa update is one that could prove extremely useful to those who want to keep in contact with friends and family through various Echo devices, coming to us in the form of Alexa Calling & Messaging. The premise is simple: you can use your Echo device to send and receive messages to anyone who also owns an Alexa device. While the feature appears to function quite well, there are some caveats and warnings that have popped up surrounding it. In a Medium post, Elise Oras says that Alexa Calling has a "major privacy" flaw, and after reading, you might just agree. For the sake of... Read more...
Launching a successful technology product is sometimes all about timing. That was certainly the case when Amazon came out Echo two and a half years ago. The proliferation of increasingly affordable Internet of Things (IoT) products had started to bring smart home functionality into the mainstream, and with every modern smartphone wielding a digital assistant of some sort, Amazon figured (correctly) the market was ripe for a smart home speaker. Hence the Echo was born. Now going on three years later, Amazon is still dominating the smart speaker market. That is according to a new study, which pegs... Read more...
Back in early March, we were given an early glimpse at an upcoming Amazon camera courtesy of AFTVnews, which stumbled across a picture of the device sitting on Amazon’s servers. Two months later, that product was revealed to be the Echo Look camera. Today, a small image of what could be a touch-screen Amazon Echo device has emerged. Like the earlier Echo Look leak, the image of the device was found on Amazon’s servers, just waiting to be discovered. OK, maybe the image wasn't really all that small...  The new Echo device is reportedly codenamed “Knight” and will be revealed later this... Read more...
Does your Echo or Echo Dot sound a little too robotic for your tastes when responding to queries? If that’s the case, then Amazon is working diligently to make your digital assistant AI mastermind sound a bit more “human” with regards to its speech patterns. Until now, Alexa’s female voice, while helpful in an increasing number of ways thanks to thousands of skills, is rather monotone and speaks at a steady cadence. However, Amazon is infusing Alexa with the ability to whisper and even change the pitch of her voice. The changes come as additions to Alexa’s Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).... Read more...
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