Amazon just reported that Alexa is now available on over 85,000 devices, a 41% spike from May, from 9,500 brands — up another 28.3% from four months ago. With those kinds of numbers, it is paramount that more thought be put into a user's sense of privacy and security when they own an Alexa product. Today, the company announced a number of improvements, features, and skills it has worked towards in the past year with some new features available from today — notably including the coming addition of Samuel L. Jackson as a voice for Alexa. Read More
Last year at IFA we took a look at the then-new Moto X4, checking out (among other features) its Wireless Sound System from Tempow, allowing it to sync audio across multiple Bluetooth speakers or headphones at the same time. This week we got to learn about the next evolution of Tempow's system, TAP Smart, shown off with the help of the Android-powered Keecker home robot. Read More
Samsung's Note9-revealing Unpacked event just wrapped up, and the company had a few surprises outside the expected big-screen phone. Among them was the Bixby Home, Samsung's first entry into the smart speaker market. Built around Samsung's in-house personal assistant, It's packed with six individual drivers for omnidirectional sound, plus a subwoofer. This time it isn't an April Fools' Day joke, either. Read More
If you think it looks like a miniature Echo Dot for your car, you're basically spot on. The Garmin Speak is a GPS navigation unit with Amazon Alexa built-in. It was announced yesterday and is the first in-car device of its kind to add Alexa capabilities. At just an inch and a half, it's tiny, and yet it offers the same turn-by-turn GPS navigation as Garmin's other products while also including Amazon's smart assistant. Read More
In-chat assistance is not a new concept. If you've ever used Google's Allo app, you'll know what it's all about. While in a conversation with a friend, you can call upon the Google Assistant to answer a question, bring up directions, or perform a host of other helpful tasks, all without leaving the conversation. Skype will soon be getting similar functionality, as Microsoft is bringing its Cortana assistant to the messaging app.
As well as being able to bring up web results, you'll be able to utilize Cortana's full range of abilities. These include creating reminders and scheduling calendar events. Cortana will automatically detect when you're talking about something it can help with, and contextual options will be offered just above the chat box next to the blue ring. Read More
In the battle to become our smart assistant of choice, Amazon's Alexa is currently losing out in one key area: mobile. Apple's iPhones have Siri, and Android phones have the Google Assistant, but with the failure of the Fire phone, Alexa isn't the convenient choice on any smartphone. According to a report in the Financial Times, Amazon plans to address this issue by launching a pair of 'smart glasses' that can interact with Alexa. Read More
Back at Google I/O in May it was announced that music streaming app Deezer would be getting Google Home integration, allowing subscribers to ask the smart assistant to play music from its extensive catalog. Users have been patiently waiting for further news on this, and today Deezer announced that the functionality was live in Germany and France. Later in the year, it will also be coming to the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Read More
Android co-founder Andy Rubin finally unveiled Essential's much-anticipated new phone today, the almost bezel-less PH-1. In an industry besieged by leaks, it's rare for any device to be launched these days without knowing exactly what it'll look like. Not only did Essential manage to keep the PH-1 pretty much a secret, except for the teaser images they released themselves, they also manage to complete conceal the fact that they would be announcing another full-fledged product at the same time. Much to everyone's surprise, we've now been introduced to Essential Home, the company's smart assistant competitor. Read More
Amazon's Echo success took me a little by surprise. It seemed like we went overnight from questioning the idea of a voice assistant in a speaker to almost everyone owning an Echo and companies rushing to add Alexa support for their services and products. Part of what seemed like a quick success is due to the Echo Dot, the smaller cheaper version that you can sprinkle around the house in places where you don't care about excellent sound quality.
The second generation Echo Dot builds on that. Unlike the first one, you can order it directly from Amazon without having to use another Echo. Read More