Items tagged with alexa

The first laptop PCs with integrated Amazon Alexa functionality were announced earlier this year, but Acer is claiming that it is the first manufacturer to actually ship devices to customers. The company announced today that Alexa is preinstalled on Spin 3 and Spin 5 convertibles that are shipping now. In addition to those aforementioned product lines, Acer says that its Aspire, Switch and Swift notebooks along with the Aspire all-in-one desktop will also have Alexa baked in over the coming weeks. Acer is leveraging Intel Smart Sound Technology, which includes an integrated... Read more...
For many people, digital assistants have become a party of daily life—you might have Siri set a reminder for an upcoming appointment on your iPhone, or tell Alexa to order more laundry detergent from Amazon. These AI (artificial intelligence) assistants are becoming more capable by the day as well. But can they be used for nefarious purposes? Perhaps so, and it could happen right under your nose—over the past couple of years, researchers have demonstrated that Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, and Google's Assistant can each receive 'hidden' commands that are undetectable to the human ear.... Read more...
Do you sometimes feel like the world is starting to populate with a bunch of entitled brats? That's an unfair blanket outlook, though no doubt there are some rude children out there who will grow up to be rude adults. It ultimately falls on parents to teach their kids good behavior, and to supplement those efforts, Amazon is rolling out a "Magic Word" update its Echo Dot Kids Edition to encourage using the world "please." Amazon is addressing a concern by parents that digital assistants are essentially teaching kids rude or entitled behavior. Not on purpose, of course, but when you are able to... Read more...
Last year, Microsoft and Amazon announced that their respective AI voice assistants -- Cortana and Alexa -- would be joining forces to combine the best of both ecosystems on Windows 10. This week at Build 2018, Microsoft demonstrated how the pairing with work in the real world, and it isn't as complex as you might expect when combining two competing platforms. In a demo that was conducted by Megan Saunders, GM for Cortana, and Tom Taylor, SVP for Alexa, a Windows 10 PC was configured to "talk" with an Amazon Echo. Saunders was able to speak the command "Open Cortana" to the Echo, after... Read more...
If you have ever used the AI personal assistants baked into smartphones, you know they aren't always that helpful. Research firm Stone Temple has issued an update for 2018 on its Digital Personal Assistants accuracy study. The study tested 4,952 queries on five different devices including Alexa on Amazon Echo, Cortana on the Invoke speaker, Google Assistant on Google Home, Google Assistant on an Android smartphone, and Siri. The test structure asked the 4,952 questions to each personal assistant. In testing, the team recorded if the assistant answered verbally, if the answer was from... Read more...
It appears that Amazon is looking to take Alexa mobile. No, we're not talking about Alexa on your smartphone, but rather Alexa integrated into a robot that will be placed within your home. The robot is being developed under the codename "Vesta" and is being crafted by Amazon's Lab126 hardware research division. According to people familiar with Vesta, Amazon hopes to have prototypes placed with the homes of various employees by the end of 2018. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos takes a walk with a Boston Dynamics Spot robot So, what exactly can we expect from Vesta robots? Not many details have been unearthed... Read more...
Best Buy and Amazon are fierce rivals in the electronics market, with the former having a big presence in the brick and mortar side of things, while the latter absolutely dominates the online sector. The two companies are now joining forces to sell new Fire TV Edition smart TVs in a rather interesting arrangement. The two companies inked a multi-year partnership that will see Best Buy as the exclusive retailer for Insignia- and Toshiba-branded Fire TV Edition smart TVs. These sets will be sold at both Best Buy's brick and mortar and online stores. In addition, the TVs will be sold via the Amazon... Read more...
Amazon Alexa has grown to become an invaluable resource in millions of American households since its introduction in late 2014, with the company's Echo family of smart AI speakers taking the lead. Amazon has added numerous features to the speakers over the years, with the most recent being "Announcements". The feature turns your gaggle of Echo devices spread throughout your home into an intercom -- albeit a one-way system. You are able to quickly get an audio message out to everyone in the household (or at those within earshot of an Echo speaker) by saying "Alexa, broadcast" or "Alexa, announce"... Read more...
Amazon is pushing out a new update to two of its Fire tablets: the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8. This over-the-air update in effect turns the tablets into hands-free Alexa speakers, which furthers the ubiquity of Amazon's dominant AI voice assistant. Amazon says that Alexa can be invoked when a Fire 7 or Fire HD 8 tablet is plugged into a power source with its screen on or off. If the screen is off, the tablets will only respond if they are plugged into a power source. You will not be able to access hands-free Alexa if the device is asleep and plugged into a low-power source (Amazon uses the example of... Read more...
Amazon Echo owners have enjoyed the ability to place calls and send messages with their smart speakers for nearly a year. However, some additional members of Amazon's Alexa-enabled product family are also gaining the ability to communicate with friends, relatives, and colleagues using voice controls. This new tablet functionality is best integrated with Amazon's Fire HD 10, which allows truly hands-free access to make free voice (and video) calls, along with the ability to send messages. Placing a call is a simple as calling out for Alexa and speaking a contact name. If you have a Fire 7, Fire... Read more...
Fans of the strange, yet classic flick 2001: A Space Odyssey will most certainly remember the rogue computer AI named HAL-900 that eventually decided to kill all humans. If you ever wanted to own a HAL-9000 (minus the homicidal insanity bit) this is your chance, thanks to a company called Master Replicas. This company has landed the rights to build props based on the movie from Warner Bros. What the company has whipped up is something that offers a lot more than a plastic prop you can stare at on occasion. This HAL-9000 replica officially called the 2001 Interactive HAL Computer, has Amazon... Read more...
Amazon is working hard on teaching its Alexa Voice AI some new tricks. Recently Alexa gained the ability to play music that you have heard previously even if you don’t know the track name. Amazon has now rolled something much more useful into its digital assistant with a new "Follow-up Mode." With this new mode, Alexa continues to listen for five seconds after it responds to your command, at which point you can follow-up for more natural dialog with the AI assistant. In function, this means you can say "Alexa, dim the lights" and then within five seconds you can issue another command... Read more...
We all know that asking an Amazon Echo speaker powered by Alexa to play a specific artist or song is possible (among other things). Amazon has been adding some new music controls to Alexa devices that make it easier to play songs when you don't know the artist or song title. These new playback commands are perfect for users who listen to a lot of music without knowing what they are really listening to. You now have the ability to ask for music to be played based on the last time you used Alexa for tunes. Amazon says that you can now ask Alexa to "play me a Hold Steady song I heard last month" or... Read more...
Yesterday we talked about a problem that was plaguing some devices powered by Amazon Alexa that would cause them to laugh suddenly and maniacally. Amazon promised at the time that it was working on a fix and it didn’t waste any time fixing the bizarre fits of laughter Alexa was experiencing. The reason that Alexa is laughing is more than a little creepy. Amazon says that in rare circumstances Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase "Alexa, laugh" even when the phrase wasn't said. Creepy much? To eliminate false responses (and obnoxious laughing keeping you up at night) Amazon has changed the... Read more...
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