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amazon

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Alexa will support notifications in an upcoming update

One of my main problems with 'smart' assistants is that they aren't great at delivering information. Yes, you can ask "will there be storms," but having your Echo or Google Home proactively inform you about dangerous weather would be far more useful.

Amazon today announced that it is working on notification support for Alexa, which will allow skills to send notifications to the user (if allowed).

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Element announces pre-orders and availability for its new 4K Fire TV Edition line

Element Electronics, the manufacturer of affordable TVs, has taken to the internet to announce that pre-orders for its new line of 4K television sets with Amazon's Fire TV built-in are officially live. Featuring Alexa, voice controls, and all of the ecosystem's streaming apps, Element is poised to tackle the low-end 4K smart TV market.

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Alexa can now double-check if you actually said a wake word

My Google Home isn't the best at figuring out if me (or someone else) actually says "Hey Google" or "OK Google." Sometimes I'll be watching a video where no one says anything remotely similar to those phrases, and the lights on my Home flip on. But I have noticed that most of the time, the lights turn off a split-second later, as the Home actually realizes that no one called for it (presumably once the voice clip is processed by Google's servers).

Amazon appears to be giving Alexa a similar ability, with the introduction of 'Cloud-based wake word verification.'

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You can now pre-order the Samsung Chromebook Pro on Amazon

Samsung announced a pair of Chromebooks back at CES 2017, the Chromebook Plus and Chromebook Pro. The former is powered by a custom ARM-based OP1 processor, while the latter is equipped with an Intel Core M3 6Y30 chip. The Plus was released back in February, but the Pro was delayed - presumably to fix issues with the Android app compatibility.

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[Deal Alert] Benson-approved 9ft USB-C AmazonBasics cables are $7.99 (20% off), 6ft 15% off

USB Type-C cables can get pretty expensive, but if you don't need the fast transfer speeds of USB 3.0/3.1, Amazon's own AmazonBasics cables are a good option. In fact, they're an even better option right now, because they're on sale. Now you can get the 9ft Type C cable for $7.99 (20%) and the 6ft for $6.79 (15% off).

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[Deal Alert] Get 10,000 Amazon Appstore coins for $65 ($35 off) through May 25th

Amazon recently announced the end of its "Actually Free" program for the Amazon Appstore. Now, it's back to basics with things that cost money. Although, you can use Amazon coins instead of money if you want. New Appstore users can get a whole mess of coins at a steep discount right now, too.

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Sony's budget phone, the L1, is now available to purchase in the U.S. for $200 from Best Buy and Amazon

Sony announced the L1 back in March, calling it an affordable device. At the time, Sony kept the lid on pricing and availability, leaving them a mystery. With May almost half over, the Japanese OEM has finally made the budget phone available for sale in the U.S. through Amazon and Best Buy. 

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[Deal Alert] Huawei Watch in Jewel/Pearl $220 at Amazon ($330 off)

This one is a huge price drop. Just a few days ago this was $550 on Amazon (although it has been down around $450 a few times, like back at the beginning of April), but right now Huawei's Jewel/Pearl model of their OG smartwatch is $220. Huawei's Android Wear device is one of the best from the last generation. The style might not be for everyone, but the price certainly is. And the deal is at Amazon with no 3rd party seller or code needed. The only disadvantage is a slight delay in shipping.

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Amazon is adding voice calling and messaging to Alexa

Amazon's Alexa assistant is currently only talking to you, but you will soon be able to have Alexa reach out and touch someone else. Amazon is adding voice calling and messaging to its Alexa devices, which will most likely be available in time for the launch of the Echo Show on June 28th. This won't be connected to your phone number—it's a completely separate way of making and accepting voice calls.

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Amazon's Echo Show is official, will be available June 28 for $229.99

We first caught a glimpse at an upcoming touchscreen Echo speaker a few days ago, when the first image was leaked. Now the speaker is officially real, and you can pre-order it now for $229.99 (or $359.98 for two).

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