Items tagged with alexa

Amazon has done a good job of staying in the news for the past week (Echo Show, Element Fire TV Edition Smart TVs), and it is continuing its streak with the announcement of new Fire tablets. Although that tablet market as a whole is in decline, Amazon sees plenty of demand in the low-end of the segment, hence the arrival of the all-new Fire 7. The Fire 7 comes to the market with an improved 7-inch IPS display (1024x600) that features a higher contrast and crisper text reproduction. Battery life has been boosted to 8 hours (in mixed use scenarios), which is a 1-hour increase from its predecessor.... 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...
Earlier this morning, Amazon surprised no one by announcing the Echo Show, a touchscreen-infused Echo device that was first leaked last week. One of the pivotal features of the Echo Show is the ability to make voice calls to friends and family members that also have an Echo Show, or those that use the Alexa app. However, new Echo Show owners aren’t the only ones that will be able to take advantage of hands-free voice calling using Alexa. Amazon has announced “Alexa Calling & Messaging”, which allows anyone with an Echo or Echo Dot to initiate calls or leave a voice message. In a world... Read more...
After a major leak last week, Amazon has officially taken the wraps off its latest AI smart speaker: the Echo Show. If you’re familiar with previous devices like the Echo, Echo Tap and Echo Dot, then you should know that the Echo Show has the same basic capabilities as its siblings. However, where the Echo Show advances the field is with its built-in 7-inch color touch screen. The touch screen makes the Echo Show a lot more functional than its predecessors, allowing it to display things like full weather forecasts, calendar information, and playback multimedia content like YouTube clip or Amazon... Read more...
Amazon and Google are duking it out in the smart home speaker market, the former with its Alexa-enabled Echo products and the latter with its Google Home device, but this is not a two-horse race. As the market grows, so does the competition. Harman Kardon has taken notice and is partnering with Microsoft to offer a smart speaker of its own, one that is powered by Cortana. According to a new teaser page on Harman Kardon's website, it will introduce its Invoke smart speaker powered by Cortana sometime this fall. The voice-controller speaker will work similarly to the competition, allowing users to... 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...
Amazon's voice activated digital assistant known as Alexa has matured fast since it was first introduced, gaining thousands of new skills and forming strategic partnerships with the likes of Domino's Pizza and Uber. Now Amazon is offering up the same underlying technology that powers Alexa to developers so they can build conversational bots, or chatbots, that understand natural language. The service is called Amazon Lex. It allows developers to easily build conversational interfaces into any application using voice and text. What developers get with Amazon Lex are the advanced deep learning functionalities... Read more...
Back in early January, Huawei released the Mate 9 smartphone in the United States with a price tag of $599. To some, the Mate 9 came with unremarkable specs including a 5.9-inch 1080p display and a 2.4GHz Kirin 960 octa-core SoC with 4GB of RAM. However, the feature that arguably got the most attention was Huawei’s intention to bring Amazon Alexa integration to the Android device. Today, Huawei is following up on its promise by delivering an over-the-air (OTA) update for the Mate 9 which adds Alexa integration, albeit in a somewhat neutered form. For starters, you’ll need to have both the Huawei... Read more...
Amazon is wasting no time in weaving its Alexa digital voice assistant into more of its services and apps. Last week, Alexa made its way to Amazon’s shopping app for iOS, allowing iPhone users to enjoy most of the benefits available to Echo and Echo Dot users including controlling smart devices. Today, Amazon is announcing that its popular Prime Now two-hour delivery service is now available through Alexa. That means that you can now use your Echo device to order “tens of thousands of daily essentials” with the sound of your voice. For those that don’t already know, Prime Now (in supported metropolitan... Read more...
Amazon’s Alexa AI voice assistant is making a run for Apple’s iOS platform, and it is doing so with its Amazon app for the iPhone and iPad. This move effectively turns your iPhone into an Echo-type device, allowing you access to the thousands of skills in Alexa’s rapidly expanding repertoire. Accessing Alexa is quite simple; you only need to tap the microphone button, which resides beside the camera button within the Amazon app. From there, you can ask Alexa to play music, tell you the weather forecast, make a purchase via Amazon, track a package, or any other number of functions that you might... Read more...
Whether or not audio recorded by smart speakers such as Amazon's Echo is protected by the First Amendment of the United States is a legal argument that will have to wait for another day. That is because Amazon is no longer fighting a subpoena that was issued in an Arkansas murder case after the defendant gave the online retailer permission to share any data that might have been collected by his Echo device. James Andrew Bates of Bentonville, Arkansas, has been accused of drowning his friend Victor Collins in a hot tub back in November 2015. The two were having drinks and watching football with... Read more...
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