Alexa

Echo hack makes spy from smart speaker

Echo hack makes spy from smart speaker

Amazon's original Echo smart speaker can be hacked into a 24/7 live microphone, perpetually beaming anything it can hear to a remote server. The flaw was identified by Mark Barnes, a British security researcher who figured out that certain Echo models could be compromised with just a little hands-on time. While the exploit can't be used to remotely modify an Echo, it could nonetheless fuel the privacy complaints of those uncomfortable with putting internet-connected microphones into their home or office.

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Alexa connects to Fire TV: the Echo circle is now complete

Alexa connects to Fire TV: the Echo circle is now complete

Amazon Fire TV can now be controlled by any Amazon Echo device once the two are connected in a home network. This system utilizes the personal assistant Alexa to allow users to initiate a variety of functions on the Fire TV with far-field control with an Echo device. In addition to the features listed below, a future update will allow this connectivity to show compatible smart home camera feeds by saying "Alexa, show my basement camera."

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Alexa is rolling out in Amazon’s shopping app for Android

Alexa is rolling out in Amazon’s shopping app for Android

Alexa is primarily accessed through Amazon's Echo products, but she has also made her way onto other devices over past months. The personal assistant is, for example, available on the Kindle Fire tablets, and it has also made its way onto iPhone via Amazon's iOS shopping app. Those on Android have had access to a standalone Alexa app, but that's just the start: this week Amazon is rolling out its personal assistant in its Android shopping app.

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HTC U11 Alexa hands-on: What works and what needs work

HTC U11 Alexa hands-on: What works and what needs work

This past week we've had some time with the HTC U11's newest feature boost: HTC Alexa onboard. That's Amazon's Alexa personal assistant, but placed on the HTC U11 in a way that's unique to this device. While Alexa is available in its app form for other smartphones, here Amazon and HTC have worked together to allow Alexa to act as similar to an Echo or Echo Dot as any smartphone has been before.

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Squeeze for Alexa, coming to the HTC U11 very soon [UPDATE: It’s out!]

Squeeze for Alexa, coming to the HTC U11 very soon [UPDATE: It’s out!]

In the future, we might no longer need to even touch our phones to control them. We can just do it by voice. That is, if Samsung's vision for Bixby ever truly takes off. In the meantime, however, we'll have to content ourselves with less powerful but more useful personal assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa. And we'll still need to have a physical way to trigger those, like, say, squeezing your phone, which is exactly what HTC wants you to do with its U11 phone, possibly starting this week.

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Make your own Echo with pi-topPULSE

Make your own Echo with pi-topPULSE

Smart, virtual assistants are the hot thing in tech these days but getting access to them isn’t that easy yet. You either need a specific device or settle for a less capable smartphone version. Or you could just get the new pi-topPULSE. This module designed for both the Raspberry Pi 3 and the pi-top platform combines lights and sounds to help sink their teeth deeper into tech. And it can also give you your own personal Alexa on a board.

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Amazon Echo successor tipped to take on Apple HomePod

Amazon Echo successor tipped to take on Apple HomePod

Amazon has a successor to its Echo smart speaker in the pipeline and it'll be designed to take on Apple's HomePod, according to a new report. The new not-yet-officially-revealed version of the Amazon Echo will slim down compared to the first one, assuming the source is to be believed, and it'll also be shorter. Despite the shrunken size, the updated model will see many improvements, not the least of which is better microphone tech, more tweeters, and a new chassis material.

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Amazon Prime Day Echo deals give Alexa big cuts

Amazon Prime Day Echo deals give Alexa big cuts

Amazon really, really wants you to have an Echo smart speaker, and it's using Prime Day to coax your credit card out of your wallet. The retailer's annual promotion doesn't kick off until this evening - before running through Tuesday for a total 30 hours of deals, albeit with some better than others - but Amazon is already teasing a price cut on Echo hardware. That includes an Echo at half price.

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Amazon Echo Show teardown shows glue, lots of glue

Amazon Echo Show teardown shows glue, lots of glue

Inside the Amazon Echo Show is a set of components that would likely be cheaper to replace entirely than to repair. That's what the folks at iFixit seem to have concluded from their initial teardown of Amazon's latest Alexa-infused smart device. This is the first Echo device from Amazon that utilizes a display - and it bares some striking resemblances to the insides of the Amazon Fire Tablet.

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Amazon’s “creepy” Echo Show feature is being overhyped

Amazon’s “creepy” Echo Show feature is being overhyped

Listen to the critics, and Amazon's Echo Show represents be a honeypot of privacy intrusion and creepy surveillance. Though Alexa, the retailer's virtual assistant, isn't new, the addition of a camera to the Echo Show smart speaker gives her eyes in your home for the first time. It's the circumstances around when those eyes are open - and who can turn on that camera remotely - that is triggering privacy fears.

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Google Home 6x more likely to answer than Alexa, but it doesn’t matter

Google Home 6x more likely to answer than Alexa, but it doesn’t matter

A study published this week found that Amazon Echo with Alexa - and Alexa in general - was not nearly as ready to answer questions as Google's Google Home. The systems were tested by New York firm 360i who suggest they've used their own proprietary software to test both home assistant technologies. In their first brief on the subject, they say that their Voice Search Monitor (VSM) software shows Google Home as "six times more likely to provide an answer than Amazon Alexa."

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Alexa update turns your Echo devices into intercoms

Alexa update turns your Echo devices into intercoms

Amazon is making Alexa a bit more sophisticated with new support for hands-free intercom functionality, enabling the various Echo devices to be used as an intercom system throughout your home. The support is available on the Echo, the smaller Echo Dot, and the display-based Echo Show, but you have to do a couple things first to get the feature up and running on your own devices.

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