Amazon probably isn't the first company that comes to mind when you think of innovative gadgets. Not anymore, anyway. Hearing a company is producing a ho-hum smartphone based on Android isn't nearly as exciting as hearing about the Kindle for the first time. But with the Echo, the online retailer does have a cool piece of tech on its hands.
The Echo, which recently became available for general purchase in the US, is essentially what you get when you stick Google Now or Siri into a plastic tube. 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. Read More
There's a minor change to the way Android M implements the lock screen. Instead of the camera and phone shortcuts, you have camera and voice search. Voice Search is accessed by swiping from the lower left corner where you now have a mic icon.
Over on the Android Developer's Google+ page an awesome new feature for Google's voice search was just announced. A small selection of applications will now open directly when using certain voice commands. For example, you can now say, "Ok Google, find houses near me on Zillow," and Google will automatically start the Zillow app, showing a map of properties near your current location (this also works with the applications for Trulia and Realtor.com). Read More
Roku announced some new features for its streaming players the other day, and now those features are filtering down to the Android remote app. In the latest iteration, you get voice search and a new "Movies Coming Soon" feed.
OK, Google, let's have a talk. No, not the two of us. I mean, let me talk to someone else, using you. I heard you're willing to let me send Hangouts messages without opening the app now.
OK, Google, let me start over. No, no, no, that wasn't a command. Ugh, OK.
Google, send a hangouts message. Read More
Amazon's Android app has received an update to 5.1 that's all about reducing how much typing you need to do to use the app. We've spotted changes to the search UI that make it possible to perform inquiries using your voice. We've also come across strings hinting that credit card scanning is either already included or on its way.
When you hit the magnifying glass in the action bar to begin a search, the screen that appears will now contain a microphone for voice searches. Read More
Update 8/21/14: Google today made the feature official by announcing it on the Inside Search blog. Head over to Search -> Settings -> Voice -> Languages to pick your languages.
Anyone who uses more than one language on a regular basis has probably felt some degree of annoyance with Google's voice search system on Android. You have to dig way into the settings to change the language, and there's no way to mix and match. Read More