Items tagged with alexa

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 are willing to get your hands dirty. Amazon released instructions on GitHub this week on how to setup... 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 come a long way since she was introduced to market. Recently Amazon has added home automation controls... Read more...
It’s hard to believe that an e-commerce company that was started over 20 years ago has yet to take part in Super Bowl festivities. But such its the case with Amazon, which has instead poured its money into building out its infrastructure, padding its vast streaming video library, and adding additional perks for its Prime subscribers. But now is the time it seems for Amazon to go after low-hanging fruit with its first Super Bowl commercial, which will air on February 7th when the Carolina Panthers go head-to-head with the Denver Broncos. Not one to go off half-cocked, Amazon has enlisted some two big stars for its commercial: actor Alec Baldwin and Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino. In the commercial,... 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, borrowed from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited, or shared with you using... Read more...
Not long ago, Amazon announced a revamped Fire TV with a handful of new and upgraded features including 4K Ultra HD video support and Alexa functionality. Although the original Fire TV which we reviewed last year had voice capabilities, those voice controls were limited to searching for content and applications. With Alexa built in, the second-generation Fire TV now has additional features, such as the ability to provide sports scores, weather and traffic information, or play music. As you’ll recall from our review of the Amazon Echo, we were impressed by the Alexa functionality and its utility in our everyday lives. A few months later, Alexa is still a common name spoken in our household... Read more...
Around this time last week, Apple was making waves with its all-new Apple TV. Apple boasted that its new streaming device features a brand new motion- and touch-sensitive controller, potent A8 processor with 2GB of memory, support for Siri voice recognition, and a brand new App Store. However, given how long Apple took to trot out a new version of the Apple TV, there was one box on the device’s specs sheet that was curiously unchecked: support for 4K video streaming. Like clockwork, Amazon is ready to respond with its second generation Fire TV, an introduction that we surmised was coming due to the fact that the first generation model went out of stock last month with no signal of when it would... Read more...
Amazon's been working hard to improve Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that makes its Echo gadget more than just an ordinary Bluetooth speaker. Back in June, Amazon made available its Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs and tools that make it easy for developers to improve Alexa's skill set. Now Amazon is launching a Lighting API for Alexa with the Samsung-owned SmartThings platform jumping on board. It takes just a few hours for developers who can code in Java or JavaScript to use the Lighting API to teach Alexa how to control their cloud-controlled devices, Amazon claims. Doing so doesn't require any experience with speech recognition or natural language understanding... Read more...
In November, Amazon announced the latest addition to its hardware line-up, the Amazon Echo. The Echo smart speaker doubles as a digital assistant and home entertainment device. It’s an always-connected, always-available Siri or Cortana-like device designed for your home that can provide answers to common questions, play music, provide traffic updates, control your lights, read audiobooks, and much more. Because it’s tied to your Amazon account, the Echo can also be used to reorder products you’ve previously purchased from Amazon. Although the Echo was announced in November, it was available for purchase on an invite-only basis from Amazon. Seven months after it was announced, Amazon made its... Read more...
Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana have their own little perks, but a big one none of them have is the ability to appear on other platforms. Amazon's Alexa, the AI assistant featured on the company's Echo device, is going to become the first -- or at least the first with the most potential. Soon, developers of hardware products will be able to integrate Amazon's Alexa for free. When keeping costs down, nothing beats "free", and we're talking about a very good solution here, and one that's only going to get better thanks to Amazon's machine learning efforts. Amazon gives a couple of examples of what could be done with Alexa. Someone could ask their Wi-Fi alarm clock for the... Read more...
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