Tag Archives: Alexa

Acer Bringing Amazon Alexa to Windows PCs Starting May 23rd

By Radu Iorga

Tomorrow is a big day for Amazon Alexa, that’s coming to Windows PCs, to spite Cortana. Acer is pulling off this move, by launching the famous assistant included in the TV show Mr. Robot on its devices. This is a premiere, which we detail below.

Acer announced this week that Alexa will be rolling out new Windows 10 PCs, within the Switch, Swift and Aspire series, that have Amazon Alexa on board. This is big news for Amazon, that already had its assistant on phones, tablets and various smart speakers. Acer’s notebooks are the first in the industry to offer this support, even the Acer Spin 3 and Acer Spin 5 series, which are available at retailers right now.

The inaugural models for this are the Acer Spin 5 and Acer Spin 3 devices, with availability slated for May 23 and the 26th respectively. Amazon Alexa has also been confirmed as supported on the Acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming notebook line next month. Plus, the Aspire All in One PCs are also expected to get a similar treatment. We’re not 100% sure how well Alexa integrates with Windows 10 PCs and how much it lets you access from the OS.

A comical moment would have having Alexa start up Cortana or viceversa. Alexa can be asked to manage smart home devices from the PC, including lighting, thermostats and home appliances, all of that via voice. Amazon could have released Alexa in the Microsoft Store, to put it on all device brands, but Microsoft is probably not a big fan of that. In the meantime we expect Cortana to get an upgrade and become smarter, like Google Assistant did recently.

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HP’s Latest Envy All in One PC Has Alexa Built In, Huge Curved Screen

By Radu Iorga

Over the past 24 hours HP went berserk and launched a few PCs, laptops, desktops and more goodies. Chief among them is an unusual setup: an All in One HP Envy PC, with Alexa built in. This one lets you control the smart home gear around the house and also works as a powerful computer.

This is a 34 inch curved screen machine with Alexa and HP highlighted this thing in the device’s official description. It’s actually the first AIO with Alexa. If you use vocal commands you will be able to play music and check the weather, plus do tons of other querries. Bang & Olufsen speakers ensure optimal acoustics and a wireless charging pad juices up your phone.

The AIO has a wood grain finish, making it blend seamlessly with the surroundings. Inside we find an Intel core 8th gen CPU, GeForce GTX 1050 graphics and the resolution is an unusual 3340 x 1440 pixel resolution. No pricing or configs are available just yet, but we expect something north of $1500. Obviously this machine runs on Windows 10 and the Alexa integration doesn’t come alone, as you also get far field microphones and the blue light that activates when you’re doing voice commands.

The acoustics involve a soundbar with 4 B&O speakers, plus two passive radiators. If you ask me, the device’s base feels a lot like a sort of amplifier.

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Alexa’s Calling and Messaging Features Now Available on Tablets

By Radu Iorga

Alexa is not just your one stop place for vocal commands, reminders, recipes and so forth. It also has a voice and video calling functionality, which was recently unlocked on tablets. It was already available on the Echo and now it reached slates.

Amazon announced over the past 24 hours that it’s activating the support for calling and messaging features on iPads, Android tablets and Fire OS tablets. On Amazon Fire HD 10 for example, Alexa calling and voice messaging works via hands free, so you basically just ask Alexa to take some action. Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 or older generation slates will let you press the Home button to place a call or send a message.

It’s that easy, it seems. They also support Drop In, which is a feature that lets you use Alexa devices as intercoms. Basically you can connect with other devices around the home or in friends and families homes, if you enable that dedicated feature. In order to use the calling and messaging features, you need the latest version of the Alexa app and also to verify the phone number, then import contacts.

The expanded support for voice calls and messaging shows that Alexa is more than just a regular virtual assistant and hub for smart home features. Voice integration has been promised since January, so in the future you’ll speak to Alexa in a dedicated app, not just through Alexa devices. We see this as a way to matter more in the world of mobiles, where Amazon already failed with Fire Phone.

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Amazon Alexa Ready to Arrive on Windows 10 PCs in Q1 2018

By Radu Iorga

Amazon Alexa is ready to expand and arrive on multiple Windows 10 PCs over Q1 2018, or at least so are claiming sources from ZDNet. Last we heard there was talk about integration between Cortana and Alexa, which was delayed last month. Amazon is dead set on bringing its virtual assistant to the Windows 10 PCs this year.

They announced that at CES 2018, but somehow it flew under the radar. Mary Jo Foley discovered some extra info about the integration via an official support page. Amazon is saying that Alexa for PC should work just like on the Echo devices. This means you can use the digital assistant to set reminders, calendar appointments, read the news (or have them read to you), have ebooks read to you and shop from Amazon. You can ask for definitions, ask it to play tunes and simply search the web for info.

One can also control the smart home via the same assistant. Developers can create new Alexa skills, but there are also limitations, as shown in the chart below. Alexa on PC can’t listen to Spotify, Pandora, or TuneIn Radio and it’ll perform free voice calls to the US, Mexico and Canada. Partnerships include select Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP and Lenovo and they’ll start from Q1 2018, exclusively for the US market.

The digital assistant doesn’t need extra microphones or speakers to work, so that’s a plus. If you’re interested, you can sign up here to be notified on new information about Alexa for PC.

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