Amazon first introduced its line of “Alexa Gadgets” — devices that are meant to enhance Echo devices in “fun and playful” ways — with the $20 Echo Button last year, but since then, there hasn’t been much movement on other Alexa Gadgets. That changes today, though, with the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit beta that will give tools to developers to create their own Echo-connected accessories. The Alexa Gadgets Toolkit gives developers APIs and technical documentation for building devices that can interact with Echo speakers, as well as helping with things like pairing and connectivity and software updates between your gadgets and their paired Echo devices. To be clear: these aren’t more devices that necessarily feature the onboard Alexa assistant — rather, they would pair up with to work with an Alexa device. Amazon has a variety of examples of the sort of gadgets that developers can create, to get an idea of what’s possible: things … [Read more...] about Amazon is letting developers make their own Alexa Gadgets
Amazon is all set to introduce a range of Alexa-powered devices before the end of the year. According to CNBC, the new devices include a microwave, receiver, subwoofer, amplifier, and an in-car solution. The publication notes that Amazon will release some of the devices at an event scheduled later this month. Some of the devices will have Alexa built-in, while the others will pair to other Alexa-controlled devices. As for what they'll be called, it's likely Amazon will go with entirely new branding to differentiate the home appliances from the Echo series. The move is an ambitious one by Amazon that sees it going up against the likes of Sonos in the audio department. Sonos' Beam soundbar has Alexa built in, and the company also introduced an amplifier that features the voice assistant. Likewise, GE has a microwave that can be controlled with Alexa. It'll be interesting to see how Amazon's devices will compete in this space, and we should have more details on that later this month. What … [Read more...] about Amazon is reportedly launching an Alexa-enabled subwoofer, microwave, and much more
September 12, 2018 - Written By Daniel Fuller The AI-based voice services sector is experiencing a period of growth in the United States, according to a study by Adobe subsidiary CMO, and it seems to be driven by smart speakers. The now-ubiquitous gadgets are getting used daily by at least 71-percent of their owners, according to the report, which involved 1,000 participants. The survey found that there is a large number of new use cases popping up, and many that were less common, such as getting food delivered, are being embraced on a much larger scale than when the sector was still in its infancy.To be specific about that, 70-percent of owners reported using their smart speakers to play music, making it the most common use. Weather trailed fairly close behind at 64-percent. Asking fun questions came in next at 53-percent, with less popular cornerstone entries being online research and news. Only 20-percent of respondents said they played sound-based and text-based games on their … [Read more...] about Smart Speakers Driving Voice Service Growth In The U.S.
September 6, 2018 - Written By Daniel Fuller According to data obtained by voicebot.ai, Amazon’s recent announcement that Alexa had a total of 50,000 available skills amounted to nearly 40,000 of those being available in or based in the United States, with Japan being the smallest market at fewer than 2,000 skills. The UK has close to 23,000 available, and Germany has right around 5,000, according to data from the end of August. The chart, in total, accounts for 67,781 skills. With the United States having 38,790 of those available, this means that close to 57-percent of all Alexa Skills are available stateside.Speaking strictly to Skill growth, the data indicated that there were roughly 82 new Skills being added per day during the rise from 40,000 Skills to 50,000. This counts not only entirely new Skills, but also Skills being ported to other languages and regions. In any case, the United States was found to be getting around 62 new Skills per day, making up 76-percent of … [Read more...] about The U.S. Has The Most Alexa Skills, Japan Lagging: Report
Microsoft is starting to test Alexa support on the Xbox One today with its Xbox Insiders. The software giant is releasing an Xbox Skill for Alexa that will allow Echo, Sonos, and various other Alexa-enabled devices to control an Xbox One. With the new skill you’ll be able to power on an Xbox One with your voice, launch games, adjust volume, capture screenshots, start broadcasts, and more. Commands will work like “Alexa, start Destiny 2.” While Microsoft has long supported Kinect on Xbox One to do many of these exact things, as the company is no longer manufacturing Kinect this Alexa integration is clearly the next logical move. There were rumors that Microsoft may include Google Assistant integration on the Xbox One, and it appears that’s now likely. Microsoft says it will “continue to evolve this experience and grow our voice integration across devices, digital assistants, and voice services,” suggesting that we’ll see other voice assistants … [Read more...] about Microsoft brings Alexa support to Xbox One for Kinect-like voice controls