How To Turn Any Windows 10 PC Into A Smart Speaker With Amazon’s Alexa App

Windows 10 PC users who like the idea of an Amazon Alexa device, but don't want another gadget sitting on their desks have a new option that will let them turn their Windows 10 desktop, laptop or other device into an Alexa smart speaker, thanks to the recently launched Alexa app for Windows 10 PCs. The Windows 10 PC app doesn't support all of the functionality that you might be used to with an Alexa smart speaker or smartphone. More specifically, the Alexa app only supports voice interaction on Android and iOS devices.

alexa welcome

No support for voice interaction means that you won't be able to say "Hey, Alexa" and get your PC to listen to your voice commands from across the room as you do on an Echo Dot. The Windows 10 app requires you to activate Alexa, open the Alexa app, and then tap on the Alexa button in the navigation bar on the bottom of the screen. Activating Alexa will change the computer to voice mode displaying the blue light bar at the bottom of the screen. As long as the screen is open, Alexa can listen and respond to requests.

alexa weather

The Alexa Windows 10 app will display response cards on the screen when some features are activated, response cards include:

  • Weather
  • Traffic
  • Local Search
  • Movies & Showtimes
  • Sports Update
  • Q&A
  • Shopping
  • Lists
  • Calendars

Amazon points out that these response cards work differently on Windows PCs than they do on the Alexa app. The Windows 10 response cards might have on-screen options that users can click or touch to get more information via a web browser. Users will need to allow the app access to the device's location for some location-based features to function, these settings can be found in the Application or Manage Application areas, and then you can turn location on or off inside the Amazon Alexa app settings area.

There are things that the Amazon app can't do on PC or other devices. These unsupported features include:

  • Volume and device-specific controls (see below for more information).
  • Timers and Alarms.
  • Some Third-party media services (like TuneIn)
  • Alexa-exclusive deals.
  • Activating Alexa using your voice (To activate Alexa, open the Alexa app and tap the Alexa button in the navigation bar, at the bottom of your screen).

Turning your Windows 10 PC into an Alexa device requires downloading the Amazon Alexa app via the Microsoft Store, information about the Alexa app can be found here; Windows users can also sign in and download the Alexa PC browser plugin here.