What Is Alexa And Who Should Get It
Alexa is the voice platform that powers Amazons Echo speakers, including the standard Echo, the little Echo Dot, the video-enabled Echo Show smart display, and a bunch of compatible speakers from other manufacturers. Alexa speakers include built-in microphones, so they can listen to your commands and then send a recording of them to Amazons cloud services, where the recording is analyzed and the appropriate response is triggered. That process usually takes only a couple of seconds.
Several Alexa speakers are good as music systems. But the real reason to get oneas opposed to a non-smart speaker or a Bluetooth speakeris to access the Alexa voice-control platform, which makes interacting with your speaker and other devices much easier. To access a song, an artist, or a music channel, you just request it. You can say, Alexa, play Panther Burns, and your speaker starts playing the music you requested .
All Amazon Echo speakers can play music from Amazon Prime Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and even Apple Music. Some services, such as Pandora and TuneIn, dont cost anything extra, but Amazon Prime Music requires a Prime subscription . Apple Music, SiriusXM, and Spotify Premium require subscriptions.
Amazon Unveils New Version Of Alexa App For Ios And Android
Amazon today unveiled a revamped Alexa mobile app for iOS and Android devices. TechCrunch says the new version is designed to offer a more personalized experience on users home screens and offers more instructions on how and when consumers can use the digital assistant, among other changes.
A new home screen offers a large Alexa button at the top, to encourage users to either tap the button or say Alexa to get started. The app has moved its third-party skill suggestions off the main screen, to increase focus on how consumers are actually using Alexa.
Amazon makes task suggestions designed to help users get more out of Alexa. The suggestions are based on how the customer has used the app in the past, and which Amazon services they use, such as Audible, Amazon Music, reminders, and more. First-time users will see a wider variety of suggestions and tips on what can be done through the app.
Users may also see controls for frequently accessed or currently active features, such as the volume level for their Echo devices, so they can pick up where they left off, Amazon says.
In addition, the new app notably deprioritizes Alexas third-party voice apps , as many Amazon customers were not using the feature. Amazons first-party offerings, like shopping and media playback, are now the focal point of the home screen.
How To Set Up Alexa
One of the most feature-rich smart hub lineups on the market is . Comprised of the standard Echo speaker, Echo Dot, Echo Studio, and various other display iterations, the Echo family is powered by Amazons all-knowing voice assistant, Alexa. If youve just bought your very first Echo product, or would appreciate a reminder on some of the basics, weve put together this helpful guide to get your new Echo up and running. Lets dive right in.
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Alexa Care For An Update
For the most part, you dont have to worry about Alexa updates since the entire process is automatized. Amazon is diligent with providing distributors like Microsoft with the latest firmware. As long as you download the official version of the app, youll have access to all the features.
Echo devices are also automatically updated during the nighttime, as long as the Wi-Fi connection is secured. If you think theres a new software version available, and it hasnt yet been integrated into your device, you can always check. Of course, installing the PC app eliminates the need for Alexa devices since the voice assistant can rely on the built-in microphone to operate.
Can you picture your life without Alexa? Have you installed the app yet? Let us know if theres something weve missed in the comments section below.
Concerns Relating To In
In February 2017, Luke Millanta successfully demonstrated how an Echo could be connected to, and used to control, a Tesla Model S. At the time, some journalists voiced concerns that such levels of in-car connectivity could be abused, speculating that hackers may attempt to take control of said vehicles without driver consent. Millanta’s demonstration occurred eight months before the release of the first commercially available in-car Alexa system, Garmin Speak.
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Also Great For The Outdoors: Ultimate Ears Megablast
If you want to take your Alexa speaker outside and not have to worry about power or a little rain, get the Ultimate Ears Megablast. The UE Megablast and the smaller UE Blast are essentially Alexa versions of the companys outdoor waterproof Megaboom and Boom Bluetooth speakers, respectively, but with the addition of Wi-Fi plus microphones and voice control. UE claims an IP67 rating for the Megablast, so a dunk in the pool or a rain shower wont kill it, and it runs for about 12 hours on rechargeable batteries. The speaker sounds great, with strong bass and detail. The microphones arent nearly as sensitive as those in the latest-generation Echo speaker, so you may find yourself frequently reaching for the microphone button when the speaker cant hear you through the music. And I dont like the bottom placement of the charging-cable port because it forces you to turn the speaker upside down to charge it, but you can buy a wireless charging base separately.
The volume controls arent as easy to use as those on other Alexa speakers: It takes a little more effort than should be required to push the large plus and minus symbols on the side. But the design helps keep the speaker waterproof, so its a fair trade-off. Also, if youre out of Wi-Fi range, the Megablast functions like a normal Bluetooth speaker without the Alexa functionality.
What Are The Features Of Amazon Alexa
One of the best parts about downloading the Amazon Alexa app on your Windows computer is that it lets you perform all functions that you would otherwise only be able to do using Amazon Echo. As mentioned above, you can use the app to control your smart devices, update daily tasks, check content, create shopping lists, and access other services.
You can control Alexa using a buttonor via voice commands. For the latter, all you need to do is call out Alexa, and the app will get activated. The app has moved on from just being a device-based assistant and has become more of a productivity tool. For example, users can take notes, listen to music, control the speaker volume, and so much more.
There are still a few functionalities missing, but the developers plan to add additional features soon. Some of the features that arent currently available with Amazon Alexa latest versionare calls, videos, Spotify controls, and other Windows-specific functions. As mentioned before, some features are also only available based on regions, like accessing the music player Pandora app with the Alex app. Likewise, like the missing features, Amazon plans to roll out the availability of these tools to additional countries in the near future.
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What Is The Difference Between Alexa And Echo
Theres a big difference between Alexa and Echo. While the former is an advanced voice assistant, the latter is just the name of a product created by Amazon. The AI Alexa is also available as part of Amazon Echo. However, the device is only there to facilitate the conversation between you and your voice assistant. Once you , you wont need an Echo device to control your smart devices or perform other productivity functions.
How To Update The Alexa App On A Pc
If you use the Alexa app on your PC, youll know the importance of updating it on a regular basis. Fortunately, Amazon is diligent with Alexa updates, and theyre usually installed automatically.
Amazon usually automatically installs the latest software as soon as its available. Once the framework has arrived in your region, youll likely wake up to a brand-new version of the app without having to manually upgrade it. Moreover, you can ask Alexa to do it for you in a matter of minutes.
Windows OS users can get the latest version of the Alexa app from the Microsoft Store with the latest features.
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Best Video Doorbell : Ring Peephole Cam
Ring’s $150 Peephole Cam is a unique product for the Amazon-owned company. Rather than mounting to a door frame or somewhere else to the side of your door, the Peephole Cam replaces a traditional peephole.
That means this Amazon Alexa compatible device is perfect for folks living in apartments who want a smart doorbell, but don’t want to deal with a hardwired device — or otherwise messing up a door frame for the installation. None of Ring’s main competitors offer this sort of seamless solution for apartment-dwellers, making this doorbell particularly innovative alongside the other devices available today.
Not only that, but the Peephole Cam has the easiest installation of any doorbell I’ve tested to date. It also has advanced Alexa integration. Yes, you can pull up the live feed on an Amazon smart display, but you can also chat with whoever’s at your door via the built-in speaker on the smart display with the command, “Alexa, answer the front door.“
That two-way talk feature via an Alexa smart display is unique to Ring devices.
Echo As Criminal Evidence
During the course of the investigation into the November 22, 2015 death of Victor Collins in the home of James Andrew Bates in Bentonville, Arkansas, police sought the data stored on the Amazon Echo on the premises as evidence, but were refused by Amazon. The conflict was resolved when Bates consented to the release of his personal information that was held by the company.
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Best Light: Philips Hue White Led
The latest version of the Philips Hue White LED smart bulb works with ZigBee and Bluetooth. The addition of Bluetooth is significant for Philips Hue, because it means you don’t need a Philips hub to get these smart bulbs to work.
Instead, the smart bulbs connect directly to your phone — and they work with Alexa voice commands. Ask Alexa to turn on the living room lights, or dim the dining room smart lights to 70%.
Philips Hue White LEDs cost just $15 each, meaning you don’t have to dish out a ton of cash for these straightforward Alexa-enabled bulbs.
Deleting Voice Recordings Alexa Has Saved
Now, every user can delete all the voice recordings Alexa has saved with a voice command. You will not need to go to the Alexa app or the privacy Settings page anymore to do it.
All you need to say to any of your Echo devices is: Alexa, delete everything Ive said. This action will delete all voice recordings associated with your account.
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Units Not In Sync Cannot Redesign Lists Order
Our sons and our bedroom are close together. He has an echo kids. When we say good morning Routine it plays on our echo in our bedroom instead of his bedroom. We constantly miss listening to our morning news and weather. Other than changing Alexas name we wish you could make Alexa ignore a 2,3,and 4 year old. It was cute at first but now it totally annoying to the point where we just want to get rid of Alexa and the 4 units we bought. I like being able not to have to talk to Alexa and being able to type commands or to switch buttons. I dont like the volume control as it blasted as it jumps several volume levels at a time and help destroy my new very expensive speaker system on my stereo which also is hooked to sound our TV. This is bad having Alexa listen to your 3 year old crank up the volume. A lot would have to change for me to ever give it 5 stars. There are some nice features but are outweighed by the bad. Alexa needs more and better Setting Controls and a way to ignore small children who like to change music every 5 seconds. I want to turn on my garage lights first and after I scrolled through every other light in the house I finally arrive to where I can turn the switch on you should be able to arrange the switches the way you want. Still havent figured Kids Free time out. Hard to have other main adult family members use the app too only one master.
Bringing Alexa To Life
The Amazon Alexa app adds a huge range of features to the Alexa voice-control system, allowing you to customize your experience. There are some gaps in the Skills available, and some differences between what’s available in the US and UK releases, but more Skills and features are regularly added. Setup can be a little time-consuming — although Alexa devices like the Echo are very much intended for people who like setting up gadgets — but once it’s done managing the device via a combination of the app and voice controls is simple.
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Love The Hardware Hate The App
Im up to 9 devices now including the Echo sub and 4K fire stick and cant fault any of them , but wow this app needs a serious overhaul. I just dont understand how the company with literally ALL the money havent got a super slick app by now. Nine times out of ten I have to close this app down as it gets all confused with commands and then spits its dummy out and becomes unresponsive like a toddler lying on the floor in Asda having a meltdown because it cant have some sweets. It takes 4 clicks to get to the section where you can adjust the bass, treble and mid which is at least two too many in my opinion, then you have to do that for each individual device which, when you have quite a few devices, becomes tedious at best. Why not have them all in one place on one screen so you can get the sound just right? And why the bass, treble and mid are in a different order on some devices compared to others is a bit of a mystery too. This app is probably fine if you have one or two devices, but for a company that wants you to buy into their complete eco system and fill your house with their hardware they really need to re-design this app from the ground up because it lets them down big time.
All New Alexa Updates Launched From Amazon
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With each passing year, Amazon Alexa keeps getting better and expanding towards a larger customer base. During the last quarter of 2020 Amazon launched new Alexa updates, most of which became available immediately and others during December and the beginning of 2021.
Some of them are features weve been expecting for some time, while others are new updates with the intention of adding the abilities of Alexa.
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Best Smart Display: Amazon Echo Show 8
The Amazon Echo Show 8 is Amazon’s latest smart display. For $110, you get an eight-inch screen with the best resolution of any Echo Show yet, a camera shutter and all the smarts of previous Amazon smart displays.
The Echo Show 8 has a built-in Alexa speaker. That means you can use this smart display to ask your Alexa digital assistant to do your bidding, whether that be asking it to play music, relay the weather or just tell you a joke. And, since it’s a smart display, it also offers advanced compatibility with Alexa-enabled security cameras.
Ask Alexa to “answer the front door” when someone rings your Ring Peephole Cam and you can see the live feed on your Show 8 — and actually talk to the person, straight from the smart display.
Check The Firmware Version That Your Echo Is Running
Once youve got your Echo connected to your Amazon Alexa account, you can check which firmware version its running. Open up the Alexa app and select Devices. Tap Echo & Alexa, then select the Echo speaker that you want to check. Scroll down and tap about, and youll see the software version listed under Device Software Version.
You can check the . Just be aware that it can take a while to show the latest devices. When I checked, the Echo Show was listed, but the Echo Show 8 wasnt.
If youve got a mismatch between the current software version youre running, and the latest software, your Echo needs an update.
New Alexa App Update: Amazon Tailors The Home Screen To You
– Amazon has announced it is introducing a completely redesigned Amazon Alexa app for mobile devices. The company clearly realises users launch the app when they want to do something with Alexa, like find their Alexa alarms, so it’s making it easier to access the assistant and the features you love.
Set Up Groups For Alexa
In the Alexa app, theres a great way to separate your Echo speaker and other smart home hardware based on the room in your home where these devices are located. Its a feature called Smart Home Grouping, and it allows you to control several things at once with just a single voice or app command. This is especially useful for devices like smart lights, where instead of having to tell Alexa to manually toggle each bulb, the assistant will apply on/off commands to all of the lights in a single room.
To start a new group, head into the Alexa app and tap Devices. Then, tap the Plus icon and tap Add Group. From here, you can tap Create a Room or Device Group. If you want to merge one or more preexisting groups together, you can also choose Combine Rooms or Groups. Youll then be prompted to choose Alexas predesignated names for the parts of your home, or you can create your own custom name for the group. Then, select the devices that get added to each group. When youre finished, tap Save.
To try out your new group, give the rooms Echo speaker a simple on/off command for the various smart devices youve assigned to the room. If everything powers on/off correctly, your grouping was a success.
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