Items tagged with amazon echo

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 Band downstairs”, and music will play from both speakers, fully synchronized so that you should have... Read more...
MWR Labs has been able to demonstrate a hack on older Amazon Echo speakers that turns the device into an always-on spy sitting right in your home. Detractors of the way Amazon crafted it's speakers to always listen for your voice will use this as an "I told you so" moment. According to the researchers, the Echo is vulnerable to a physical attack that lets the attacker gain root shell access to the Linux operating system the Echo speaker runs. The scary part is that the root access and installation of the malware could grant the attacker persistent remote access to the device's microphone among other things, without leaving a trace of evidence to tip off the physical tampering of the device. In... Read more...
Late Monday, Amazon kicked off its annual Prime Day celebration with 30 hours of deals aimed at providing its loyal subscribers with discounts on thousands of products. Well, the numbers are in, and Amazon says that this year’s Prime Day was its biggest to date, with sales growing 60 percent year-over-year. According to Amazon, “tens of millions” of Prime members purchased at least one item during Prime Day. Although the online retail giant didn’t give a specific number for the subscribers that participated yesterday, it says that it increased 50 percent year-over-year. In a show of strength for its Alexa-powered hardware family, there was a 7x increase in the number of Amazon Echo devices purchased... Read more...
So, what did Apple do with those old design models for the Mac Pro? Apparently, it used them to create the HomePod, which is Apple’s take on the smart speaker movement that is sweeping the tech world. The HomePod is a “Breakthrough Home Speaker” first and foremost that measures less than seven inches tall and features seven beam-forming tweeters at the bottom of the device and an Apple-designed woofer for rich bass. As you might expect, HomePod has full support for voice controls with deep Siri integration, which would put it in the same league as the Amazon Echo and Google Home; albeit with far superior audio more in line with Sonos products. An array of six microphones are included the HomePod,... 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 where more and more people are ditching their landline phones for smartphones (usually, one for each... Read more...
Well, this didn’t turn out the way we expected. Back in early March, a single image of an upcoming product from Amazon made its way to the internet. Everyone simply assumed the it was a new security camera — at the time, it seemed like a rather educated guess — that would tie into Amazon’s Echo family of smart home AI speakers. Today, however, it has been revealed that we were only right on one front. The new Echo Look is indeed part of the Echo family as its name implies, but it is far from being a security camera. In fact, its primary purpose is to serve and a “hands-free camera and style assistant”. Say what!? That’s right, the Echo Look is meant to help you determine if that that top goes... Read more...
It looks as though Amazon may have another hardware release coming up. Amazon has found huge success with its family of Echo speakers, which are backed by Alexa artificial intelligence. Now, the company may be attempting to further tap into the “connected home” space with a new security camera. The product was discovered hiding away on Amazon’s servers by AFTVnews. The rather unusual — for a security camera —device has an elongated camera “pod” that sits atop a base (which should allow the camera to pivot into various positions). The camera appears to have a blue LED ring around it, which is reminiscent of the blue LED light ring on the Echo and Echo Dot, which lights up when listening to... Read more...
There’s no question that smart assistants like the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot (and more recently, Google Home) have become indispensable tools for millions of homeowners over the past few years. The devices can be easily integrated into existing smart home control systems and can be expanded with new “skills” that add functionality. According to a new report, both Amazon and Google are looking to add the ability to place phone calls from their respective devices. The Wall Street Journal says that such functionality could arrive as soon as this year, but many roadblocks stand in the way of making such a move feasible. The first big drawback is that all calls would have to take place over the units’... Read more...
Amazon's Alexa is incredibly useful. It can tell you the weather, update your calendar, and accidentally order a dollhouse while listening to your local news broadcast. San Diego channel CW6 was reporting about a child who “accidentally” bought a dollhouse and four pounds of cookies through their Amazon Echo. News anchor Jim Patton remarked, “I love the little girl, saying ‘Alexa ordered me a dollhouse’”. Viewers soon started calling into the station complaining that Patton’s statement made their devices try to order a dollhouse. Accidental orders happen surprisingly often. Alexa does adapt to speech patterns and vocabulary, but is unable to completely differentiate between users. According to... Read more...
Are you still looking for a last-minute gift to give a friend or relative for Christmas? If you had your heart set on gifting an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, you might want to consider an alternative. While inventory of Echo products isn’t nearly as dire as that of the Nintendo NES Classic Edition, Amazon.com is now sold out of the Echo, Echo Dot and even the Amazon Tap in all colors. The Echo won’t be back in stock until December 30th for white models, and January 17th for the black variant. The battery-powered Tap won’t be in stock until December 27th, while the Echo Dot is also listed as being available on December 27th. The devices have even disappeared from the Prime Now service, which delivers... Read more...
First there was Amazon Echo, then came along Google Home. Now it looks as though Microsoft is looking to get in on the digital AI assistant/speaker movement with the help of Harman Kardon — a brand that is about to be tucked under Samsung’s wing with the acquisition of Harman. Although the device doesn’t have an official name at this point, it would be the first third-party device to integrate Cortana AI with speaker hardware. Although we can’t see the full product, it looks similar in design to the Amazon Echo with a towering cylindrical shape. Where it differs, however, is with what appears to be some sort of LCD display at the top which responds by lighting up and creates the familiar blue... Read more...
Before too long it might be easier and quicker to list the things Amazon's digital assistant can't do rather than all the things it can. Case in point, Alexa just learned yet another trick, one of many of as of late. This newest trick, or "skill" as Amazon likes to call them, is the ability to transmit text messages. The caveat is that you have to be an AT&T subscriber to use the feature. AT&T is in full braggadocios mode at being the first and so far only wireless carrier to offer this skill. Using it, AT&T subscribers can summon Alexa to dutifully transcribe their voice message into a text message and fire it off from their mobile number to someone on their contacts list. "Amazon... Read more...
Reviews for Google Home may have started flooding the internet this week, but Amazon’s Echo is still the device to beat when acting as your central hub for AI voice assistance and home automation. Now, Amazon is looking to make it even easier to add new Alexa skills to your Echo straight from Amazon.com to give it a leg up on the competition. Not only will Amazon customers be able to quickly browse Alexa skills with an easy-to-use interface, but developers will also have the ability to give customers direct access to their skills on Amazon via a single click. “On the page, customers can take actions, like enable and disable the skill and link their accounts,” writes Amazon’s David Isbitski. “For... Read more...
Amazon first launched its Echo speaker in November 2014, and it has quickly become a dominant force in the personal digital assistant market. Roughly a year ago, Amazon opened up the Alexa engine that powers the Echo to developers. The resulting Alexa Skills allow developers to “plug-in” their services to the speaker using voice commands. Now, over 3,000 Alexa Skills are available for customers to use. Today, Amazon is making a minor update to its original Echo speaker. Since its debut, the Echo has only been available in a black finish. However, black might not fit the design aesthetic for every room in your hose, so Amazon is making the speaker available in a new white finish as well.... Read more...
Let’s pretend that you just asked Alexa to get an Uber for you. You go and get ready, but have no idea when your ride will arrive. In order to get that information, you have to ask Alexa when your Uber ride will be at your door. Amazon’s upcoming update, however, means that Alexa will now update you without being prompted. Amazon plans to update the Alexa assistant in the Echo and Fire HD 8 tablet to speak certain important notifications without being asked by the user. Amazon is referring to this feature as “push notifications”. It is currently unclear which apps or skills will receive the push notifications. Some have argued that Alexa could potentially become annoying with this newfound funtionality.... Read more...
Amazon is currently working on a new music services similar in concept to what Spotify offers. The company has plans for a $10 a month subscription that would play all the music a customer wants to stream, wherever they want to stream. The second plan would stream the same music, but would cost half the price and only work on Amazon Echo.Amazon plans to launch the services in September, however, it is still working on licensing deals with record companies and publishers. It is unclear whether the cheaper service will cost $4 or $5 USD. The company already offers an Amazon Music subscription to Amazon Prime customers, but the service has a limited variety of music. Pandora is also reportedly... Read more...
Is there anything that Alexa can’t do? The Alexa-powered Echo first launched nearly two years ago and it has grown from a seemingly tame voice-activated “smart” speaker to a home automation hub that features over 1400 “Skills”. And the Echo family itself has grown to include the Echo Tap and Echo Dot. Today, August Home has announced that one more Alexa skill is coming to the Echo family; one that will enable you to lock your front door using the sound of your voice. The August Smart Lock is now baked into the Alexa ecosystem — to get started, simply say “Alexa, enable August Smart Lock” and the Skill will be added to your Echo’s repertoire. Or if you prefer, you can enable your August Smart... Read more...
We’re not sure that many people expected great things to come from Amazon’s Echo speaker when it was announced back in late 2014. After all, a voice-activated speaker seemed like a superfluous gadget in our increasingly crowded digital lives. However, Echo, which is powered by the Alexa engine, has become one of Amazon’s most popular hardware products and has spawned the Dot and Tap. Even the latest generation Fire TV taps into the Alexa engine. Developers have flocked to the platform, plugging in their services and apps to make Echo even more useful for its owners. Today, you can hail an Uber ride, order a pizza (or two) from Dominoes, or even access your CapitalOne banking information using... Read more...
Amazon has struck a chord with its Echo speaker. First released back in November 2014 (initially as an exclusive for Amazon Prime members), the wireless speaker doubles as a voice-controlled digital assistant providing frequently-requested information regarding traffic, weather and even sports scores. Later updates added home automaton functionality to the device. And if that wasn’t enough, Amazon released two Alexa-powered follow-up devices earlier this month: the hockey puck-sized Echo Dot and the portable, Bluetooth-enabled Amazon Tap. Now we’re learning that Google has had enough of sitting on the sidelines while the Echo grabs the spotlight as a home automation hub. Heck, the Echo will now... 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 been a long time coming, but Amazon’s innovative Echo speaker can now be purchased by anyone with an Amazon account. Echo, which was first announced in early November, has until today only been available to Amazon customers on an invite-only basis. Echo is more than just a speaker; it’s a digital assistant for your home that responds to the sound of your voice to provide information on weather, sports scores, traffic, and even news. It’s audio capabilities are enhanced via the ability to tap into streaming music services like Amazon Music, Prime Music, iHeartRadio, and Pandora. You can use your voice to reorder products that you’ve purchased in the past from Amazon and you can even command... Read more...
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