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Alexa

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Amazon extends Announcements to Alexa built-in devices

Back in April, Amazon announced a new feature called Announcements that let users broadcast voice messages to Echo devices. Although these could be initiated from a phone with the Alexa app, they required an Echo speaker for the message to be played out loud. However, the company is now extending the functionality to other devices with the voice assistant built-in.

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Right before Google I/O, Amazon says Alexa now supports 60,000 smart home devices

Google I/O is kicking off in a few hours and we expect to hear a lot about Android, Assistant, and various other Google products and services during the conference. Just in time for this parade of all things Google, Amazon has updated its Alexa smart home compatibility page to say that a staggering 60,000 smart home devices from 7,400 brands are now compatible with the voice assistant. Sixty thousand.

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UK government adds '12,000 pieces of information' to Google Assistant and Alexa

Smart speakers are great for answering basic questions, like "what's the weather tomorrow" or "what's the population of Brazil" (it's 209.3 million, in case you were wondering). However, since the answers to many of these questions come from Google's ability to scrape the content of webpages, they can sometimes be inaccurate or purposely manipulated. Answers to questions about the UK government should now be fairly accurate, as the country has added "more than 12,000 pieces of information" to both Google Assistant and Alexa.

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Alexa picks up free ad-supported Amazon Music playlists in totally non-reactionary move

Music is one of the most popular uses of smart speakers, and owners are getting more free options. Yesterday, a limited, free version of YouTube Music came to Google Home speakers, and now, Amazon is following suit with a free Amazon Music playlists and stations for Alexa devices.

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Harmony Express is a $250 minimal universal remote with built-in Alexa

Logitech's Harmony are the best universal remotes out there, even if their user-friendliness is questionable. It's been nearly four years since the Elite was announced, and it shows. User interfaces have evolved and so has the smart home, yet the Elite's remote and app both feel stuck in the past. So it only made sense that Logitech would announce a new remote: enter the Express.

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Amazon is reportedly developing wireless earbuds with Alexa built in

Amazon is building earbuds with Alexa built right in, according to a report from Bloomberg. The buds "mirror" AirPods, the report says, implying they'll be fully wireless. Pricing and availability aren't yet known.

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[Update: Now on Fire TV too] Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echo devices in December

Music streaming is a popular use for smart speakers, but the particular speaker you have dictates which services you have access to. Amazon's speakers are getting better in that regard in the near future, as the company has announced that Apple Music will be available on Echo devices later this year.

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The Amazon Echo and TP-Link Smart Plug Mini bundle is 30% off at $90

Although a connected home ecosystem will surely make your life easier, setting it up tends to be costly, as you usually have to buy smart speakers, bulbs, and plugs. You can often save a few bucks when buying a starter kit, which includes a combination of smart devices at a discount. Amazon regularly throws in a connected device with its smart speakers and sells them at a markdown, which is what it's doing now with this deal that lets you save $37 when buying a second-generation Echo speaker together with a TP-Link Smart Plug Mini.

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Get a $20 Amazon Echo Input to fill the Chromecast Audio-size hole in your heart

Google's recently discontinued the brilliantly straightforward Chromecast Audio in a move to encourage people to buy full-featured smart speakers rather than letting them stream music cordlessly with the help of a dongle. Unfortunately for many, this was one of the few ways to connect "dumb" audio equipment to Wi-Fi networks, and with Google sunsetting its product, people have been left with a limited number of alternatives — excluding Bluetooth, of course. This was until Amazon unveiled the Echo Input, which essentially lets you use any speaker with Alexa.

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[Update: Deal available again] Grab a 2-pack Aukey smart socket or a dual outlet smart plug for ~$20

Earlier this week we were telling you how you could save money on new smart plugs thanks to Amazon's markdown. Although this was an interesting deal, many Assistant users felt let down as they were only compatible with Alexa. Well, we've got some comforting news for you: With these promotional codes, you can grab a pair of Aukey WiFi Smart Plugs for just $20 or a dual outlet plug for $19, respectively $8 and $6 off their original prices.

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