Amazon's Echo success took me a little by surprise. It seemed like we went overnight from questioning the idea of a voice assistant in a speaker to almost everyone owning an Echo and companies rushing to add Alexa support for their services and products. Part of what seemed like a quick success is due to the Echo Dot, the smaller cheaper version that you can sprinkle around the house in places where you don't care about excellent sound quality.
The second generation Echo Dot builds on that. Unlike the first one, you can order it directly from Amazon without having to use another Echo. Read More
If you own an Android TV box or a television with it built in, there's a pretty good chance you've also taken the time to install Google's remote control app to go with it. It's not that the app is necessary, but it's a great backup in case your main remote is lost or the batteries die. All things considered, it's a pretty basic utility app; but it might not be quite so simple in the near future. A teardown shows that this little remote control is about to turn your phone into a full-fledged gamepad. There are also signs that it may soon take care of shutting off your TV for you and we might also gain control over the volume of voice responses. Read More
Alexa, what are you doing tonight? Oh, you'll be in my living room, listening for my every word? I think I like where this is going... You're a very dedicated assistant Alexa. I want to give you a raise and ask you to be a more permanent resident in my life. How would you like to work inside my Fire TV as well as my Echo? No, I didn't say light my fire baby, though I like the way you think.
AFTVnews has been digging through Amazon's Fire OS 5 developer preview and uncovering lots of evidence pointing toward Alexa's arrival on Fire TVs, but whether this includes existing devices or only the next generation ones, they can't be 100% sure yet. Read More
Just because you have an Android device, that doesn't mean you have to commit to using Google Now. Maybe you don't trust el Goog with that much information. Maybe, for some reason, you rather give that data to Microsoft instead. In such a case, you're welcome to use Cortana as your digital voice assistant.
An early Android version has been available since last month. We've even seen an update roll out that lets you launch Cortana using the Google Now "swipe up" gesture. Now you can get future updates without having to hunt around for the APK or wait for Microsoft to approve your request. Read More
We've known that Microsoft has big plans for its Google Now-style Cortana service, and those extend beyond Windows on both the phone and desktop. The company has finally shared when it intends to make good on those plans. A blog post says that Cortana (named for the female AI in the Halo series of shooters) will be coming to Android as a beta sometime in July. Windows 10, which will include Cortana for desktops and laptops, is scheduled to be released on July 29th.
Microsoft says that the Android app will be "working as a companion to Cortana on your Windows 10 PC." Exactly what that means isn't clear, but it seems that Microsoft may limit Cortana on Android to Windows 10 users, at least initially. Read More
Tech companies regularly spin their products as innovative revolutions that disrupt existing standards and push humans further along the evolutionary tract. So when each new app comes along with promises of raising the bar, it's easy to be skeptical. Just because SoundHound recently released a competitor to Google Now, that doesn't mean it will be any good.
Well, from the looks of the latest video to appear on Hound's YouTube page, the voice assistant's natural speech recognition is actually pretty amazing. In the demonstration, we see Hound speedily respond to obscenely specific inquiries, such as: "How many days are there between the day after tomorrow and three days before the second Thursday of November of 2022?" The answer, according to Hound, is 2714 days between the day after tomorrow and Monday, November 7th, 2022. Read More
Part of using Amazon revolves around ordering cool new stuff, 80% of which probably consists of impulse buys. But for people who use the site for more mundane things—say, soap—the online retailer spends a good amount of time resending the same stuff. Those who happen to own an Amazon Echo can now use the cylindrical voice assistant to re-order supplies without having to pull out a phone or head to the nearest PC.
To get Echo to send you another shipment, just say something along the lines of, "Alexa, re-order toilet paper." It will search through your order history for the item and then place an order using your default payment information. Read More
Utter! isn't the quiet kid in the back of class who only answers a question when asked, pointing out the answer in a textbook like Google Now, nor is it the class clown who dishes out snarky answers whenever he or she doesn't like the way a teacher asks a question, like Siri. Utter! is the student that sits in the front seat and always raises their hand first, the one that has the answer for every question, no matter how it's phrased or what it's about. Now Utter! has a number of new features set to make the other kids jealous, such as a Moto X style wake-up feature, integration with both Spotify and Google Music All Access, and oh so much more. Read More
Here at Android Police, we love Google Now (and all the associated voice actions), but the natural language could use a bit of sprucing up. If you'd like to try an alternative voice assistant, Indigo may grab your attention on this front. The pitch here is that the app remembers your conversations and can sync those inquiries across devices.
If you ask a question like, "Where can I find Indian food around here?" you'll get a list of results. Tap on the one you're most interested in. You can then follow that up with "How can I get there?" From the context of your last question, the app can understand that "there" is "the indian restaurant." It even works if you switch devices, provided they're both logged in to the same account. Read More