Tag Archive: Alexa



Samsung said on Tuesday it will be bringing Bixby, its virtual assistant, to India later this month, as the company announced the availability of the Galaxy Note 8 smartphone. The arrival of Bixby in India further intensifies the battle for AI-powered digital assistants Google’s Assistant, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa, which is also set to be launched in the country later this year.

The South Korean electronics company, which assumes the tentpole position among smartphone makers by both volume and brand value, said it had put months of rigorous efforts at its Research and Development centres in Bengaluru to understand and adapt to Indian dialects and contexts. Samsung says it has thoroughly baked in support for various Indian accents, letting even those customers who have opted for English (US) language, make use of Bixby.

Bixby, which was launched across several US and European markets earlier this year, offers four essential features to customers – the ability to talk to Bixby, take pictures and let it make sense of it, use it to set reminders, and receive recommendations for products, foods, and things to read.

Samsung said Bixby will be available to customers in India from September 30. Bixby, unlike Siri and Google’s Assistant, doesn’t work with a wide-range of smartphones. At present, only the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, and the Galaxy Note 8 offer this functionality. Samsung-made Android smartphones, however, also support Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, and Amazon Alexa, should users desire to utilise them.

The limited target audience for Bixby might emerge as a roadblock in its growth. Apple has shown some commitment to improve Siri’s reachability in India, adding diction support for a handful of local languages including Hindi. iOS 11, the latest mobile operating system from Apple that is expected to roll out later this month, will introduce that support.

In the meantime, Amazon is planning to bring Alexa with the Echo Dot smart-speaker in India later this year, people familiar with the matter said.

 

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

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Amazon’s Fire tablets are getting the Alexa voice assistant.

The previously announced feature will start rolling out to customers Wednesday. It’s meant to complement what users get on other Alexa devices, such as the Echo speaker. Through voice commands, users can get the news read out to them or listen to music from services such as Amazon Music or Pandora.

The Fire tablets will go beyond Echo by offering full-screen cards with additional details. For instance, when you ask for the weather, Alexa will speak out the current temperature and offer the day’s forecast, just as she does on Echo. But the visual card will also display the week’s forecast. For news and music, the card offers playback control such as pausing and skipping.

For those with both Fire and Echo, making a request on Echo will trigger the Fire’s screen to turn on and present the detailed cards, as long as a Voicecast feature is enabled through the Alexa app.

Amazon says Alexa will differ from Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant in being designed for tablets first, rather than phones. That means focusing on tasks typically done at home, such as entertainment, recipes and timers. For tasks on the go, such as finding nearby restaurants, Alexa performs a standard web search or directs you to the Alexa app. Apple and Google have special interfaces with restaurant ratings, price ranges and more, and both integrate that information into their chat apps, too.
Although the overall tablet market has been slumping, Amazon.com Inc. has managed to stay strong by slashing prices and encouraging people to buy more than one. Its bare-bones base model costs just $49. Last month, Amazon introduced a new 8-inch tablet for $90, down from $150 for similar models in the past.

So far, Amazon is avoiding business-oriented tablets such as Apple’s iPad Pro and Microsoft’s Surface. Aaron Bromberg, a senior product manager for Fire tablets, said that while such devices work well as laptop replacements, “we also see an awful lot of people that want tablets to use around the house for entertainment.”

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Ahead of its Prime Day sale on July 12, Amazon has started offering exclusive deals via its Echo range of devices. Even though there not many deals available under this offer at present, you can, for example, save up to $50 if you order an Amazon Tap via your existing Alexa-powered Echo device at the moment. There are a couple of other deals as well.

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The company is further slashing $10 off every order (minimum $20 purchase) made through Alexa if it is your first purchase through Alexa. This offer is valid until July 12.

With these deals, the company wants to remind its users that the Echo speakers can do much more than just stream music from Spotify or order a pizza for you. Amazon wants to encourage users to shop using their voice to make them realise the ease with which things can be bought through its Alexa-enabled devices.

Amazon is also promising that its Prime Day will feature a few Alexa-only deals, so watch out for them on July 12.

Alexa voice assistant is currently available via Amazon Tap, Amazon Echo, and Echo Dot devices by Amazon and it is able to follow commands like ordering an Uber for you, streaming music, and ordering a pizza. The devices are required to be connected to Wi-Fi and the voice service acts as a digital assistant.

It is often better to check and compare products before making purchases. Many believe that oversimplification in shopping process can lead to undesirable purchases, or at the very least loss of money due to a variety of factors.

 

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Alexa, Amazon’s answer to Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google’s Now, will now power voice commands on a smartwatch.

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Chinese company iMCO has introduced the CoWatch smartwatch on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo to raise $80,000 (roughly Rs. 5,300,000) funds to make the device. With about a month left to go, iMCO has been backed by 160 backers to raise a sum of $28,248 (roughly Rs. 18,800,00). Early backers were able to get the CoWatch for a sum of just $159 (roughly Rs. 10,500) plus shipping chargers.

At the time of writing, the CoWatch was available to pre-order for backers at $179 (roughly Rs. 12,000) for early riser, $310 (roughly Rs. 20,500) for super early riser bundle, and $350 (roughly Rs. 23,500) for early riser bundle. The company says that production of the CoWatch is already underway and it aims that first 800 watches will be shipped to early supporters within 3 weeks of the end of the campaign.

“Speak, and CoWatch will listen,” notes Indiegogo page for the CoWatch. The company adds that as the first smartwatch to integrate the voice-capabilities of Amazon’s cloud-based voice assistant, Alexa. Using Alexa, the CoWatch will provide traffic reports, will help control connected devices, enables making a phone call to contacts, order taxi, and more. Amazon made the Alexa Voice Service available to third-party manufacturers by opening out Alexa’s APIs in August last year. Alongside, the company had released the Alexa Skill Set, a set of features that lets developers add additional voice commands and support to the service.

To recall, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant recently was integrated to give Fitbit progress updates to users. Launched in late 2014, Alexa powered Amazon’s cylinder-shaped speakers Echo and Fire TV devices.

The CoWatch has been built by both iMCO and Cronologics teams, and it doesn’t run Android Wear. Instead, the CoWatch runs Cronologics, which is a software platform including a host of apps from different categories such as messaging, fitness, and more. The company adds that third-party app developers will also soon have an opportunity to get involved to build more apps for the CoWatch. It is compatible with both iOS (iOS 9.0 and above) and Android (Android 5.0 Lollipop and above) devices.

CoWatch can track calories, count steps, and monitor heart rate through use of a nine-axis accelerometer, digital compass and gyroscope. It also packs heart rate sensor and vibro motor. Users can pick the CoWatch which will be available with a choice between Carbon Black and Mineral Silver stainless steel that iMCO touts is a “fracture-resistant zirconia composite ceramic body.” It is claimed to offer up to 32 hours of battery life in an always-on mode.

For specifications, the CoWatch is powered by a dual-core processor clocked at 1.2GHz and comes with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. It features a 1.39-inch Super Amoled display offering a screen resolution of 400×400 pixels. It offers a pixel density of 286ppi. The device is also water resistant and is IP67 certified. It is backed by a 300mAh battery.

 
Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Amazon.com is introducing two devices designed to amplify the role its voice-controlled assistant Alexa plays in people’s homes and lives.

The products unveiled Thursday are echoes of Amazon’s Echo, a cylinder-shaped speaker with Internet-connected microphones that became Alexa’s first major showcase when it debuted in late 2014. Set these gadgets up and they’ll listen for your voice and respond to commands – for instance, to read the morning’s headlines.

Both new devices, called the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot, cost less than the $180 Echo and offer slightly different features in an attempt to plant Amazon’s Internet-connected microphones in more homes and other places.

In doing so, Amazon hopes to outmaneuver rivals Google and Apple in their battle to build hubs in “smart” homes that are being furnished with appliances, electronics and other accoutrements that connect to the Internet.

Alexa is competing against other voice-controlled services such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s search engine that are built into the operating systems of smartphones and other devices that do more than the Echo.

The interest in smart homes appears to be rising as more people become enamored with their smartphones. A recent online survey of more than 4,600 adults in the US by Forrester Research’s Technographics found 57 percent of them either had used or were interested in using a smart home device.

Alexa, a riff on the Library of Alexandria, initially didn’t do much but answer trivia questions, play music and order stuff from Amazon’s website. The device’s limited range raised the prospect that it might be a passing fancy or little more than a cute party trick for consumers who could afford to indulge in a curiosity like the Echo.

But the assistant has become increasingly versatile as Amazon.com Inc. learned more about what customers want. Last summer, the company gave outside programmers the ability to build applications that work with Alexa in a move that expanded service’s skillset. Alexa can now perform more than 300 tasks, such as hailing car rides, turning on lights and controlling home thermostats.

The Echo now ranks among Seattle-based Amazon’s top-selling items in consumer electronics, although the company hasn’t specified how many have been sold so far. “The response has been nothing short of incredible,” boasted David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices.

The 6.25-inch Amazon Tap is a slimmed down “grab and go” version of the 9.25-inch Echo that sells for $130. Unlike the Echo, the Amazon Tap doesn’t need to be plugged in.

To conserve battery power, however, the Tap requires people to touch a button on the front of the device to prompt Alexa to awaken and listen for a question or a command. The Echo operates on more energy-intensive technology that allows people to summon Alexa with spoken words that can be heard from as far as 25 feet away. The Tap connects to the Internet through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals.

The Echo Dot, priced at $90, represents Amazon’s attempt to expand Alexa’s household presence beyond the kitchen or another room where the Echo typically remains anchored.

The Dot is shaped like a hockey puck because it doesn’t have cylinder with a large speaker. Instead, it offers an option for people to plug into other sound systems to provide better audio than the speaker built into the Echo. Interactions with Alexa through the Dot can be started with a voice command from across the room, just like the Echo.

Both devices can be ordered on Amazon.com beginning Thursday. Anyone can buy the Tap, but sales of the Dot initially are being confined to Amazon Prime subscribers who have already bought an Echo or the company’s Fire TV device. Shipments will begin by the end of March.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Amazon’s personal assistant speaker is taking over more functions for home automation networks.
The device introduced last year as Amazon Echo, which responds to voice commands and answers questions, can now turn compatible lights on and off, control fans, heaters and other devices.

A customer can activate the assistant by saying “Amazon” or “Alexa.”

So a customer can say, “Alexa, turn on the hallway light” or “Alexa, dim the living room lights to 20 percent,” according to examples provided by Amazon.

The US online giant has added other features since introducing the device in November, including integrating with Pandora’s online radio service, getting information on traffic or sports scores and setting schedule reminders.

These features could for example allow consumers to use voice commands to launch a music playlist, or ask Alexa to “add gelato to my shopping list,” in another example cited by the company.

Amazon said its agreements with electronics makers Philips and Belkin will allow the speaker to integrate with products from those firms including smart lightbulbs, electric blankets and coffee makers.

Echo became available last year on an invitation-only basis at a price of $199, or $99 for those who pay for the Seattle-based company’s Prime subscription service.

“Echo’s brain is in the cloud, running on Amazon Web Services so it continually learns and adds more functionality over time,” Amazon says on a Web page for the service.

“The more you use Echo, the more it adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.”

A demonstration video online revealed a female voice responding to questions or commands preceded by the trigger word “Alexa.”

A ring of microphones built into can-shaped Echo speakers enable the devices to identify voices even when music is playing, according to Amazon.

Echo accesses news, weather, streaming music and more using wireless Internet connections.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)