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The Super Bowl gets voice-enabled

Amazon, Dish, Comcast and others are hoping to turn Super Bowl 2019 into a way to show off the potential for their voice technologies and TV integrations. The companies this week have been touting new features and a variety of voice commands that will allow viewers to get prepared for the big game, learn about players and teams, tune into NFL news and highlights, set their recordings and more. In some cases, this may be as simple as asking your TV to tune to the Super Bowl, record the event…

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Amazon introduces APL, a new design language for building Alexa skills for devices with screens

Along with the launch of the all-new Echo Show, the Alexa-powered device with a screen, Amazon also introduced a new design language for developers who want to build voice skills that include multimedia experiences. Called Alexa Presentation Language, or APL, developers will be able to build voice-based apps that also include things like images, graphics, slideshows and video, and easily customize them for different device types – including not only the Echo Show, but other Alexa-enabled devices like Fire TV, Fire Tablet, and the small screen of the Alexa alarm…

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Alexa has literally lost her voice as users report outages and unresponsiveness

Amazon’s Alexa smart assistant seems to be down this morning. We’ve been hearing reports over the last hour of either delayed responses or just total loss of connection. While Amazon doesn’t have a status page for its consumer products, Down Detector is reporting a huge spike in Alexa-related complaints over the last hour. For example, Alexa is giving me replies like “I’m not sure what went wrong”, “sorry, something went wrong”, or a loud chime followed by “sorry, your echo dot lost its connection” and the red ring of sadness. The problem…

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Alexa is coming to the Amazon app on Android, starting this week

This spring, Amazon introduced Alexa to a wider audience by making the virtual assistant a feature that could be accessed within the retailers main shopping app. However, that integration which allows you to ask Alexa about news, weather, basic facts, or use the assistants add-on skills, among other things was available only for iPhone users. This week, Alexa is arriving on Android, as well. Amazon hasnt made a formal announcement about the launch but, when asked, the company confirmed the integration is indeed rolling out this week. Looks like Alexa…

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Amazons Alexa passes 15,000 skills, up from 10,000 in February

Amazons Alexa voice platform has now passed 15,000 skills the voice-powered apps that run on devices like the Echo speaker, Echo Dot, newer Echo Show and others. The figure is up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced back in February, which had then represented a 3x increase from September. The new 15,000 figure was first reported via third-party analysis from Voicebot, and Amazon has now confirmed to TechCrunch that the number is accurate. According to Voicebot, which only analyzed skills in the U.S., the milestone was reached for the…

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The Amazon Echo now doubles as a home intercom system

Amazon will officially release the Show in a few days, but in the meantime, the company is introducing a long-awaited intercom feature for existing Echo devices. The addition uses Drop-In, a teleconferencing feature introduced on the Show that lets close friends and family members call into one anothers device with little warning. I really didnt like the feature when I tested the device this week I found it to be pretty intrusive compared to standard calling, but this implementation makes a lot more sense. This upgrade brings Drop-In to the…

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Logitechs Circle 2 is a modular home surveillance tool with Alexa and HomeKit support

I recently sat down with Logitech to talk aboutthe wired and wireless versions of the Circle 2: a modular home surveillance camera with four different mounts that change where and how youd use the camera. The modular approach stems from four different mounts: the first is a glass window mount, so you can see outdoors without glare. Second is the plug mount, ensuring youll never have to charge the wireless version, since it will always be connected to a power source (think in your kitchen or desk). Previous

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How Google could fire up its smart home play

When it was unveiled at last years I/O, Home felt like little more than Googles attempt to cash in on the Echos success. And the intervening year hasnt done a lot to dispel that notion. The company announced a handful of additions to Home and Assistant at this years event to try to pull even with Amazons lead, but the whole Google Home offering still feels ambling and aimless. That Google thought it had a slam dunk with Assistant on the mobile side hasnt helped much, either. Since launching on…

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Third parties have always been the key to Amazons smart home domination plans

For Amazon, hardware has always been a means to an end. From the Kindle e-reader to the Fire tablets to its TV offerings, the company has always treated the space as something of a loss leader even with its most popular offerings. Amazon has found success in pricing devices much closer to cost than the competition something a company can only really get away with if it plans to make up for things somewhere down the road, like, say if youre in the content selling business. The Echo line is…

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This could be Amazons Echo with a built-in display

Rumor has it that Amazon has been working on an Echo device with a touchscreen for a while. Its worth noting that AFTVnews already leaked the first-generation iMac with a tilted display and speakers below the display. And theres a lighter dot above the screen. It could be a camera, but its hard to say with this image quality. Its been nearly a year since the Wall Street Journal later announce a high-end speaker with a vocal assistant at some point this year. Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/05/05/this-could-be-amazons-echo-with-a-built-in-display/

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How Echo Look could feed Amazons big data fueled fashion ambitions

This week Amazon took the wraps off a new incarnation of its Alexa voice assistant, giving the AI an eye so it can see as well as speak and hear. The indefinitely stores a copy for Amazon too). But the flagship feature of the app isa fashion feedback service, calledStyle Check, which Amazon says will utilizemachine learning to ratefashion choices and help users choosebetween outfit pairs. And ultimately, presumably, givetheir entire wardrobe a score. Albeit, the featureis using(human) stylists too, at least for now, to help train what Amazon surely…

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