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Alexa

19

Alexa can now (sort of) control your Roku devices

Amazon's own Fire TV products have had deep Alexa integration for years. Just like with a Chromecast and Google Assistant, you can use voice commands like "Play The Office" or "Turn down the volume" from any Alexa smart speaker. If you're on #TeamRoku, Alexa can now control Roku TVs and streaming devices — at least, in theory.

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8

Amazon's deals for Valentine's include the cheap $20 Echo Input, $70 2nd gen Echo, and $100 Spot

Just a few days after Google's "Dump your valentine" discount, Amazon has come up with its own deals, in time for February 14. These offers are more relevant, though, and are worth considering if you're short of gift ideas. Most of the giant's connected home devices are on sale, including Echo speakers and smart displays, Fire TVs, cameras, and even Kindles.

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7

The new Amazon Echo Show is $50 off ($180) and comes with a free Hue bulb

Whether you're thinking of setting up a smart home infrastructure or improving your existing one, now is a good time to do so. The second generation Echo Show, Amazon's new assistant with a 10" screen and upgraded built-in speakers, is currently down to $179.99 instead of $229.99 and comes with a free Philips Hue bulb.

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2

Choose Your Own Adventure books enter the world of voice AI with new Amazon Alexa skill

Netflix's recent interactive film Bandersnatch received mostly mixed reviews, but was wholly successful in driving interest in Choose Your Own Adventure-style (CYOA) stories. That was both a boon and a frustration to Chooseco, the owner of the CYOA registered trademark and publisher of the famous book series of the same name. There was finally a resurgence of interest in CYOA stories, but the company didn't feel it was getting proper recognition. After filing a lawsuit with Netflix, Chooseco has now taken its first step into taking advantage of its newfound popularity in the digital age with a CYOA Alexa skill. 

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6

Amazon's compact and well-rated Smart Plug is 40% off, down to $14.99

Connected devices have made my life a lot easier by automating tasks for me, such as turning on the heater when it's too cold or lighting up my living room before I get home. Smart plugs are one of the most convenient ways to achieve this, as they're easy to set up and work with virtually anything: I use them to control floor lamps, aroma diffusers, electric heaters, and even my Christmas lights. The main drawback with connecting almost everything at home is the price, as these devices are usually expensive, but thanks to an impressive 40% drop, you can get Amazon's Smart Plug for less than $15. This is a great bargain as the plug usually sells for $25 and hasn't been discounted for less than $20.

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4

Get the newest Amazon Echo Dot for $21 or a full-size Echo for $70 at Belk

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after we received news of the Chromecast Audio's untimely demise, Amazon put its most similar product, the Amazon Echo Input, on sale for an attention-grabbing 20 bucks. Now, Belk has a similarly sweet deal: the third-generation Echo Dot, which does everything the Input does and more, is just $20.99 at the retailer's online store. If you're looking for fuller sound, the regular Echo is on sale there, too.

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72

This Google Home and Amazon Echo hack lets you change your voice AI hotword — but it's far from elegant

Google and Amazon are both constantly improving the capabilities of their voice AIs, but there are some issues that tech giants have little incentive to fix. For instance, from a branding standpoint it makes no sense to let people change their assistant hotword from "Okay Google" or "Alexa" to anything else - even if that's what users want (and it definitely, definitely is). It's this consumer desire, along with the issue of user privacy, that prompted designers Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen to create a Google Home/Amazon Echo hack called Project Alias.

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4

Echo Dot Kids Edition is down to $40 ($30 off)

If you've considered getting a smart speaker for an area your kids spend time in but you're worried they might break it, the Echo Dot Kids Edition should be up your alley. It's a regular Echo Dot, but with some additional features to make it extra kid-friendly. It's normally a steep $69.99, but it's currently on sale for $39.99.

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19

Get an Amazon Echo Input for $20 ($15 off) and add Alexa smarts to your dumb speakers

Smart speakers have exploded over the past couple of years, and for good reason. In addition to helping out with certain tasks, they're a convenient way to consume audio media. You probably have some dumb speakers around that you're not quite ready to let go of, though, and the Echo Input can help you squeeze more life out of them. Normally $34.99, it's currently on sale for $19.99.

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41

Every product with Amazon Alexa announced at CES 2019

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This was a massive year for Google Assistant announcements at CES, but Amazon Alexa had its fair share of new integrations as well - often debuting in the same product. There were so many new Alexa integrations, in fact, that the best way to comprehensively cover them is one big roundup. 

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