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Articles Tagged:

amazon alexa

9

Alexa Announcements one-way voice feature rolling out to Echo devices

Amazon is rolling out a feature today that lets users broadcast messages to connected Echo devices. The company is calling it Alexa Announcements, and the functionality is very similar to the broadcast feature Google Home has had since late last year.

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10

Ecobee Switch+ smart light switch with built-in Alexa action is finally up for sale

When you're putting together a smart home, it's easy to get a little carried away. Maybe you start with a speaker connected to a voice assistant. Then you're ordering pack after pack of smart light bulb, wiring in a doorbell cam, and before you know it your curtains and blinds are opening all by themselves. Well, homeowners aren't the only ones going down this path, we've also seen the companies behind these devices start out making just one kind of smart-home accessory, before finding themselves building a whole home's worth of connected tech. You may be familiar with Ecobee from its smart thermostats, and now the company's expanding with the release of the Switch+ smart light switch.

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218

10 stupidly simple things I wish Google Home would do

I love my Google Home(s). I've been using two of them for nearly a year in my apartment, and they were recently augmented by a couple of JBL Link speakers with Assistant and a Google Home Mini at work. I call upon them frequently throughout the day to ask about the weather, play music, set reminders and calendar events, control my smart home devices, and more. And I have spent countless hours testing and checking everything they can do, which culminated in a very long but super detailed Google Home tutorial that I suggest you read.

However, as time passes, there are features that I find myself repeatedly yearning for.

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7

Alexa gets Follow-up Mode to listen to consecutive requests, and enables calling and messaging on tablets

Every few weeks, Amazon adds a couple of features to its Echo line-up or Alexa app, and today is no different. Rolling out now are two changes: a Follow-Up Mode for Echo speakers and the option to make calls, send messages, and drop in from tablets.

Starting with Follow-Up Mode, this can be activated on a device basis only for US English, and lets you ask other questions to your Echo without repeating the wake word "Alexa." The way this works is after Alexa answers your first request, the blue indicator light on the Echo remains active for a few seconds, waiting to see if you have any more questions, then turns off.

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72

Taking a page from Kindle, Amazon’s Alexa is everywhere—can Google's Assistant catch up?

When Amazon upended the publishing industry with the advent of the Kindle, it also paved the way for an approach to luring consumers into a larger sphere of influence, a strategy that is now being successfully adapted for the new age of smart speakers and digital assistants. Both the Kindle and the Echo provide consumers with valuable services, encouraging them to shop and receive content within Amazon's ecosystem. Most of the experiences of its Kindle and Echo hardware also come in the form of apps or services that appear on other manufacturers' devices without additional charge to the consumer, making that connection even stronger.

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5

Canary announces $99 Canary View security camera, plus new Package Detection feature and Alexa integration

Smart home security cameras are very much in vogue these days. From Amazon's Cloud Cam to Nest's assorted cameras, it's a popular and growing market. Canary might not be quite so big as its competitors, but it offers affordable alternatives in the wake of its crowdfunding campaign back in 2013. The newest home security camera in the Canary lineup is the $99 Canary View. In addition to this new hardware, Canary has also announced an AI-based Package Detection feature and skill integration with Amazon's Alexa. 

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9

Toshiba introduces Symbio, a smart home hub, security camera and system, and Alexa speaker in one

I look around at my hallway console nowadays and see a Canary camera, a Google Home, and a SmartThings Hub v2. Not to mention the Synology server, router, and a few other miscellaneous tech items. The idea of having all three integrated in the same device, saving space and unnecessary wiring is quite appealing, and that's what Toshiba's new Symbio aims to do.

It's a 6-in-1 device: a 1080p wide-angle "low-light" camera with sound and motion alerts, a smart sound detector for babies and pets and even legacy alarms around the house, a Bluetooth and WiFi streaming speaker with ODMD driver, a voice control interface with Amazon Alexa built-in, a smart home hub with ZigBee and Z-Wave radios, and an intercom for communicating between Symbios and phones.

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41

Amazon's Alexa Android app just reached 10 million installs on the Play Store

There is no denying that Amazon's Echo devices and Alexa voice assistant are a huge success at this point. What started out as a weird little cylinder you can command to play music and ask a few questions has now become an entire line-up of devices, an ecosystem that has engendered many integrations from thousands of companies worldwide, and has kickstarted an entire product category and tech section that was nearly non-existent before it.

But since Amazon doesn't divulge any sales numbers for Echo devices, all we've had to go with are estimates from statistics companies or vague numbers from Amazon itself.

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11

Ultimate Ears' $229.99 BLAST and $299.99 MEGABLAST bring WiFi, Alexa integration, and improved sound

Ultimate Ears' current BOOM line of Bluetooth speakers features some of the most beloved Bluetooth speakers on the market. But if you were holding off on buying a BOOM or MEGABOOM because they don't have Amazon Alexa integration or WiFi and you maybe want some better sound, UE has the solution for you: the new BLAST and MEGABLAST.

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8

Alexa voice controls are now available in the Amazon Music app

 

You can already ask Alexa to play you the latest Ed Sheeran hit on various music platforms, either through the Alexa app on your phone or via an Amazon Echo device. Starting today, you'll also be able to call on Alexa to control your music playback from directly within the Amazon Music app.

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