Amazon Alexa

Amazon-exclusive Essential Phone features Alexa built-in

Amazon-exclusive Essential Phone features Alexa built-in

It's only been a day since Essential announced three new limited edition color options for its flagship PH-1 phone, but it turns out Andy Rubin’s startup has one more surprise to add to the mix. Dubbed Halo Gray, this new version sports a stylish look like the previously announced Ocean Depths, Stellar Gray, and Copper Black, however, it's only available from Amazon, and includes a few other noticeable differences.

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Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

Apple HomePod vs Google Home vs Amazon Echo showdown

With the launch of the Apple HomePod, and pending the launch of a Bixby speaker, if there will ever be one, the major pieces on the smart speaker game board are now all in place. And so are the three major voice-controlled AI-driven smart assistants (sorry Cortana, you’ll have to sit this one out). That means, of course, questions on which one you should buy. “Should” is probably too strong a word, because it really depends on multiple factors. We can, however, give you the lay of the land so that you can decide better where to sink your hard-earned money into.

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Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

Smart assistants need to be more proactive to be useful

You have an important meeting with a client at 9 a.m. but you got so engrossed in that novel you read at night that you overslept. Luckily, your smart assistant (let’s call it “Bucksbee”), sounded a reminder an hour before your appointment. You frantically prepare, without giving your phone a second glance. You rush out the door to the nearest bus stop, only to be drenched in an unexpected (for you) downpour. You hop on a bus, soaking wet, but had enough time to try in the unexpected (for you) heavy traffic. You mentally compose a profound apology email and then whip out your phone, only to see the client sent an email hours earlier canceling the meeting for an emergency. We humans sometimes aren’t smart, but our smart assistants are often not that much better.

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Canary security cameras get Alexa skill for viewing video feeds

Canary security cameras get Alexa skill for viewing video feeds

Canary has added Amazon Alexa support for all of its customers, enabling users to view their security camera feeds on video-equipped Echo devices and Fire TVs using voice commands. This new Alexa skill supports all Canary devices; with it, device owners can say something like, "Alexa, show me Camera Name" to pull up a video feed on their preferred device.

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Vizio Alexa control goes live for 4K TVs

Vizio Alexa control goes live for 4K TVs

Vizio TVs are learning to play nicely with Amazon Alexa, with a new skill for the virtual assistant that enables voice control of select sets. The Vizio SmartCast skill for Amazon Alexa can, when enabled on an Echo speaker or other device that supports the assistant, remotely turn the TV on and off by voice, as well as replace other features you'd usually have to reach for the remote for.

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Alexa is getting a custom Amazon AI chip: Report

Alexa is getting a custom Amazon AI chip: Report

Amazon plans to join the custom chip club, with future Alexa devices like the Echo smart speaker reportedly set to be powered by a homegrown AI processor. Efforts to design a special chipset that would give Alexa offline talents, among other improvements, are said to have been underway for the past few years. As well as further differentiating its assistant technology, it could also open Amazon up to a potentially lucrative new market.

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How to get Gordon Ramsay’s voice on your Echo or Alexa device

How to get Gordon Ramsay’s voice on your Echo or Alexa device

Gordon Ramsay, foul-mouthed chef and TV star, was one of the celebrities featured in Amazon's Super Bowl commercial over the weekend. The commercial featured various celebrities offering their voices to fill in for Alexa after she lost her voice. It was a fun look at what Alexa could be like with a different personality, and now you can sort of experience that yourself with a new Gordon Ramsay skill.

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Alexa won’t be paying attention to Amazon’s Super Bowl ad

Alexa won’t be paying attention to Amazon’s Super Bowl ad

Alexa purposefully ignoring her name might seem like unexpected sass from Amazon's virtual assistant, but it's a key part of the retailer's big Super Bowl promotion this coming weekend. The assistant will take center stage in a celebrity-filled commercial at the ball game, but if you're already an Echo owner, you'll be pleased to hear that Amazon has figured out how to avoid its spot inadvertently activating your smart speaker.

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Alexa SMS support lets users send text messages via voice

Alexa SMS support lets users send text messages via voice

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa is on the receiving end of a new ability: SMS support. With this, Alexa users located in the US can now use their smart speaker to send a text message to one of their contacts. This joins Alexa messaging, expanding the number of people that Echo device owners can message using the hands-free convenience that comes with voice commands.

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Watch Jeff Bezos star in Alexa’s Super Bowl 2018 ad teaser

Watch Jeff Bezos star in Alexa’s Super Bowl 2018 ad teaser

Amazon's Jeff Bezos is stepping in front of the camera for the retailer's Super Bowl 2018 advert, and as you might expect its all about Alexa. The spot has been previewed on YouTube ahead of the big game, setting up what sounds like a reveal around the virtual assistant's voice.

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Sonos’ killer alternative HomePod deal is live

Sonos’ killer alternative HomePod deal is live

Apple might want your money for a HomePod preorder, but Sonos is making a pitch for that $349 instead, with its Sonos One deal going live today. The Alexa-powered smart speaker may not be as powerful or as large as Apple's, but for a limited time you'll be able to get two of them for the price of one HomePod.

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Alexa app finally has a voice

Alexa app finally has a voice

An update for the Alexa app for Android was given an update this morning with support for Alexa voice interaction. This update brings Alexa voice interaction on all Androids, not just a few - all just as long as they have at least Android 4.4 or newer. That's the basic requirement for the app itself - and was before this update, too.

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