The smart home revolution doesn't seem to be coming as quickly as some had hoped, but whenever it does break out, Amazon intends to be on the ground floor. To that end, the latest addition to Alexa's growing list of voice control connections is Control4, a semi-proprietary collection of home automation tools. The company announced a new Alexa skill that works with the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and any other device that can connect to the voice service. Read More
Amazon is filling in the gaps in its Fire tablet lineup, small though they are. Starting today, you can order the Fire HD 8. As the name implies, this is an 8-inch Fire tablet with an HD screen; one inch larger than the regular Fire. However, it does offer something new for Amazon's tablets—the Alexa voice assistant. Read More
Does a calendar app need a voice control function? Samsung seems to think that it does. That's the premise behind JifiCal, the company's latest published app in the Play Store. It's essentially a voice control add-on for a phone's built-in calendar. So what makes it better than, say, Google Now's voice control system (especially since the actual voice recognition in JifiCal is using Google's own servers)? According to the app description, the special sauce here is the natural language processing. Read More
Logitech is unveiling a new product today, and its exclusively for Android with the aim of making it easier to use your phone in the car without distraction. Logi ZeroTouch is a smart car mount with included voice control app. And yes, you need one to use the other. These two things are not usually so intertwined, but ZeroTouch is an unusual product. Would you like to know how unusual? Read on. Read More
At this point asking people to support your crowd-funded concept device is kind of like asking them to support your "sure-fire multi-level marketing system." Sure, it could be legitimate, but it's better to just treat that money as if it's gone forever. That said, smartwatches might be the one exception. Pebble, arguably the legitimate dark horse in that small market and one of the first to successfully market itself, got started on Kickstarter. So maybe it wouldn't be fair to dismiss the CoWatch, a new smartwatch that features interoperability with Amazon's Alexa voice control system, out of hand. Read More
Amazon really wants people to use voice command to buy stuff. So much so that the new Echo Dot, the smaller, cheaper version of the Amazon Echo that can use an existing speaker can only be bought through voice commands, specifically on an existing Amazon Echo unit or through Amazon's Fire TV platform. At least, that's what the launch announcement says. It turns out you can get one through the Amazon Android storefront app just as easily, no extra hardware required (though you do need to be an Amazon Prime subscriber). Here we go:
1. Download and install the Amazon Shopping app on an Android phone or tablet. Read More
Amazon launched the Echo a while back as the first device with its Alexa voice control system. Now there are two more, each with a different take on the Echo's functionality at a lower price. The Echo Dot is a small connected speaker/mic that can add smarts to your existing speakers, and the Amazon Tap is a portable Bluetooth Speaker with Alexa voice commands. Read More
Google's various flavors of voice control are neat, not to mention extremely useful thanks to deep integration with Android. But Mountain View doesn't have a monopoly on speech interpretation: Microsoft has made a pretty compelling case for its cross-platform Cortana system, to say nothing of the similar entries from Apple and Amazon. SoundHound threw its hat in the ring last year with the semi-proprietary Hound app, though you had to be part of the beta to check it out. Today Hound gets a public launch, and everyone can play with it with no prerequisites. Read More
Cyanogen, the company that's grown out of the most popular third-party ROM for Android phones and tablets, is now a partner of Microsoft. CEO Kirt McMaster (who you might remember from some rather colorful statements earlier this year) says that the first fruit of that union will be the integration of Cortana with future versions of the modified Android ROM.
McMaster said so in an interview with International Business Times:
McMaster revealed that Cyanogen is working with Microsoft to deeply integrate Cortana into the next version of Cyanogen OS. This is key to catapulting Cyanogen into the mass market, he asserts: Cortana is currently available as an app on Android, but in order for it to make a real difference, it needs to be able to be integrated at the OS level so that its full potential can be leveraged.