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Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

That smart speaker in your living room is just about to get smarter. Or maybe more invasive, for that matter. Google and Amazon, two companies that dabble in smartphones (or previously, for Amazon) are reportedly mulling over evolving their Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers from smart home hubs to part time hands-free smartphones. While it might seem like a small step, considering how both companies already have strong presences in the mobile market, it is going to be a big leap in terms of what the companies may or may not collect from users.

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Now you can make Outlook your default Alexa calendar

Now you can make Outlook your default Alexa calendar

If you're an Outlook user, you might be pleased to know that you can now access your calendar using Amazon's AI assistant, Alexa. Amazon is flipping the switch on Alexa support for Outlook calendars today, and the best part is you can manage all of this through the Alexa app. That means nothing extra to download, and no specific Alexa skills to implement.

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Amazon patent details delivery drone drops using parachutes

Amazon patent details delivery drone drops using parachutes

Amazon has been testing its drone technology for a while now, and we’ve seen some demonstrations and patents related to this testing. The latest patent to surface details one method by which Amazon delivery drones may get packages directly to customers — via a parachute, allowing the package to be dropped from the sky. This would prevent the drone from having to land, though it would monitor the package’s descent before taking off.

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Amazon Chime brings retail giant to the teleconferencing arena

Amazon Chime brings retail giant to the teleconferencing arena

Amazon is, of course, most famous for its retail store first and foremost, and perhaps its digital content second. But for the geekier crowd, Amazon’s name is also synonymous to cloud infrastructure through its Amazon Web Services. Powering not a few critical cloud services, AWS is venturing into the business of directly offering services, particularly for enterprises. Its latest stab at that market is Chime, which, unlike its name, is going to be a more or less noisy service, as it enables companies to chat in groups, whether by voice or by video.

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Amazon Kindle 1st, 2nd gen can no longer be registered [UPDATE]

Amazon Kindle 1st, 2nd gen can no longer be registered [UPDATE]

Despite the prevalence of tablets and even smartphones, book lovers who go digital still flock to e-readers like Amazon Kindle for their on-the-go fix. The niche device still enjoys a fanbase, which is why even the oldest models are still being re-sold years after they went out of production. Soon, however, owners of those devices will have no choice but to begrudgingly upgrade as Amazon seems to be practically shutting down the first and second gen Kindles by preventing them from registering.

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Sonos has Alexa control working, but don’t hold your breath

Sonos has Alexa control working, but don’t hold your breath

Sonos has given its first public demonstration of Amazon Alexa integration, though the streaming speaker company says the actual roll-out of voice control is still some way off. The two companies announced a partnership back in August 2016, which will see Amazon's virtual assistant supplant the current iOS, Android, and desktop remote apps for Sonos' popular speaker line-up. Still, according to Sonos it's not ready for primetime yet.

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Amazon Tap’s biggest Alexa problem just got fixed

Amazon Tap’s biggest Alexa problem just got fixed

Amazon has fixed the number one complaint about its Amazon Tap Bluetooth smart speaker, with a firmware update that brings it up to par with its Echo and Echo Dot cousins. Launched last year, the Bluetooth speaker promised the same Amazon Alexa functionality as the original Echo, only in a battery-powered, portable form-factor. However, in the process Amazon left out one of the core features that has helped make Alexa so popular.

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Logitech brings Amazon Alexa support to ZeroTouch car mounts

Logitech brings Amazon Alexa support to ZeroTouch car mounts

Amazon Alexa skills have launched to support a number of different devices and services, but today Logitech is bringing Alexa support to a product you may not expect: car mounts. Logitech's line of ZeroTouch dashboard and air vent mounts now support Alexa voice control, which greatly expands the number of hands-free options you have while you're driving your car.

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Amazon’s Alexa can now control your Plex media server

Amazon’s Alexa can now control your Plex media server

The AI battle over your living room is getting a tad more intense. At CES 2017, NVIDIA surprised its fans by becoming the first, and so far only, gaming and multimedia device to integrate Google Assistant and Google Home into its functionality. Though that future has yet to arrive, Amazon and Plex are bringing their own future to the present. Now anyone with an Amazon Echo, or actually any device where Alexa resides, can now enjoy hands free control of the popular Plex media server, bringing the smart home of the future to your living room today.

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Walmart’s new two-day shipping is free and subscription-free

Walmart’s new two-day shipping is free and subscription-free

Walmart has fired yet volley at Amazon. Barely two years after it launched it, Walmart is killing its two-day ShippingPass service. But rising from its ashes is an offer that would give online shoppers pause. Still offering that same two-day shipping, Walmart’s new service won’t charge you shipping fees at all. And even better, you don’t even have to be a member of some exclusive club to avail of that convenience. Free and subscription free, your groceries, toiletries, and toys will be there at your door (or at a store) in two-days flat.

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Nintendo Switch Pro Controller released for sale [UPDATE: Sold Out]

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller released for sale [UPDATE: Sold Out]

If you're not much of a fan of the Nintendo Switch's new Joy Con controllers, then the Pro Controller may be more your speed. The Switch Pro Controller went up for sale today at Amazon, lagging behind other Switch hardware, which became available for pre-order a couple of weeks back. If this is like any other kind of Switch product, though, don't expect the Pro Controller to be around for long.

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Amazon rolls out Dash buttons for more than 50 new brands

Amazon rolls out Dash buttons for more than 50 new brands

If you absolutely love Amazon's Dash buttons, then today is going to be a very good day for you, because more than 50 items are joining the Dash button lineup. That brings the total number of Dash buttons available up over 250, and at this point, it seems like there should be a Dash button for whatever household item you may need.

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