Items tagged with echo

Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world, and so you can bet it is going to have a whole bunch of products on sale for the holiday season, and specifically the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping bonanza that looms next week. In anticipation of the shopping frenzy that awaits, Amazon is offering a sneak peek of its upcoming Black Friday deals, some of which are live right now. "Whether customers are readying their house for the holidays or searching for gift-giving inspiration, they will find incredible savings and fast, free shipping options on the hottest items across toys, electronics,... Read more...
Black Friday is still over three weeks away, but retailers are already showing their hand with respect to what deals they will have. So far, we've seen the tech goodies that Costco, Sam's Club, Kohl's and Target will have on the biggest shopping day of the year. Amazon doesn't want to be left out, but it isn't quite ready to give us a look at its hottest Black Friday deals. Instead, the company is giving us a rundown of its pre-Black Friday deals what will run from November 16th through November 22nd. Without further ado, here's what to expect: November 16th:... Read more...
Amazon is doing very well with its line of Alexa-powered Echo smart speakers. Earlier this week a rumor was making the rounds that suggested Amazon was set to significantly expand its Alexa offerings on the market with eight new devices including a microwave and an amplifier. A couple of those new Alexa devices have leaked with Amazon itself being the source. It appears someone hit the live button a bit too early and listings turned up for an Echo Sub and an Echo Plug on Amazon UK. Those listings have since disappeared, but Pocket-lint was able to grab images and details on what we can expect in... Read more...
A new study published by Adobe Analytics that looks at the market for voice devices such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home. The study surveyed 1,000 consumers in the U.S. and looked at how people use the devices they own and what they use them for. According to the study, the most common use for voice assistant devices is music playback with 70% of owners using their device for that task. Weather forecasts came in a close second with 64% of owners using their device for figuring out what the weather will be like for the day. Asking fun questions was a common use for 53% of people along with conducting... Read more...
If you are wondering why companies like Amazon and Google put so much time and energy into smart speakers, just look at the numbers. Sales of voice-activated speakers will add an incremental $1.6 billion to the US technology industry through 2019, in part because they tap into the growing smart home market, according to data by The NPD Group. “While many new households will explore the smart home experience in the next two years, propelled by the growing ownership of voice-activated speakers, the biggest and best opportunity for retail may remain in encouraging the installed smart home base... Read more...
Smart speakers are growing in popularity, but in addition to providing a level of convenience to home consumers, they can potentially act as another point of entry for hackers and cyber criminals. To demonstrate this, researchers Wu Huiyu and Qian Wenxiang demonstrated at DefCon 2018 a technique for hacking Amazon's second-generation Echo speaker that allows an attacker to spy on the speaker's owner. The hackers spent month developing the technique. On the bright side, they have only managed to intercept the microphone rather than take complete control of the speaker, the latter of which could... Read more...
I had an aunt who used to have her living room lights plugged into a timer, so they turn on and serve as a deterrent to potential burglars. That is how it was done 'back in the day'. What about today? There are fancier methods, and one of them involves Amazon's Echo smart speaker with Alexa. There is a new skill available that could keep would-be thieves away. The skill is called Away Mode and it works by playing lengthy audio clips that sound like people are having a conversation inside. It was created by Hippo Insurance, an insurance outfit located in San Francisco, California. At present, Away... Read more...
Amazon's Echo family has expanded over years with the addition of the Echo Dot, Echo Spot, and Echo Show (among others). Last year, Amazon unveiled a second-generation Echo and it appears that this year the company is looking to launch a third-generation Echo Dot.  The first- and second-generation devices were codenamed "pancake" and "biscuit" respectively, and the new third-generation device is rumored to have been developed under the codename "donut". Rather than the flat top of the current Echo Dot, it appears that its newer counterpart has a more rounded appearance. Second-generation Amazon... Read more...
The world of digital assistants is a little bit crowded and immensely competitive. Since its introduction, Amazon has looked at ways of setting Alexa apart from the competition, and it just found another one—equalizer controls. In a blog post, Amazon announced it has added EQ and sound mode controls for smart home entertainment devices using Alexa. If you own an Echo speaker, you can shout, "Alexa, crank up the bass" or "Alexa, turn up treble" and the digital assistant will do exactly that. The new feature is available to customers in the US across the Echo family of devices, and on select... Read more...
Amazon's Alexa AI assistant is a neat device that can perform all sorts of tasks, from answering questions to controlling your smart home and controlling video playback, among many other useful talents. Alexa has also been known to be downright creepy on occasion. It wasn't too long ago that Alexa was laughing maniacally and freaking out users. Alexa has also recorded private conversations and sent them out to at least one owner's contacts. Amazon did, however, give a convoluted explanation of how that happened and vowed to change things so that situation wouldn’t arise again. However,... Read more...
Amazon and the Alexa voice assistant that powers the device has come under a lot of scrutiny in the past week following a disturbing story that made the news. A woman's private conversation was recorded by her Amazon Echo and was forwarded (unbeknownst to her) to a person on her contact list. Amazon profusely apologized for the invasion of privacy, and provided the following explanation: Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like "Alexa." Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?"... 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...
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...
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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