As a smart home writer and editor, you can likely imagine the amount of smart technology I have throughout my home. I can hardly go a few feet without seeing some smart tech, whether it’s a smart plug, lights, kitchen appliances, air purifiers, security cameras, or home hubs — they’re all there to help a sister out. I have Google Home Nest and Amazon Echos and Dots throughout the house.
They can all be a bit intrusive and completely off the mark when watching TV. The Google Nest will say something totally off topic because of something it heard on TV. The Echo Show will also try to be helpful and offer up a recipe for a phrase it heard while I was watching Top Chef. FYI, Alexa, I do not want a recipe for clam chowder because you heard the phrase clambake.
There’s no doubt that an Alexa-powered smart speaker is useful. After all, the ability to control your smart home, play games, and choose music with your voice is phenomenal — but did you know there are a lot of abilities that go overlooked?
Alexa is jam-packed with features that don’t get as much time in the limelight. Some will keep you entertained, while others can help you give back to the world around you.
Amazon Alexa can now make and receive calls if you’re an AT&T customer, essentially turning your smart home device into a giant speakerphone.
The tech giant announced the new feature called “AT&T calling with Alexa.” Starting Wednesday, September 9, AT&T customers can use Alexa-enabled devices to answer incoming calls or start a new call, even if their phone is far away or turned off.
The new feature only works for AT&T customers in the U.S. that have a compatible HD-voice mobile phone like an iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy.
The third-generation Amazon Echo Dot is total fire, but for one family, that description became too true for comfort. Joe Jachym, a retired firefighter, says he came home on Sunday, February 24, to find his kitchen filling with smoke and his third-generation Amazon Echo Dot in flames. According to Jachym, an electrical fire centered around the plug or the outlet would throw the breaker and (in theory) extinguish the flames, but neither the plug or the outlet was damaged — only the smart assistant.
In Jeff Bezos’s vision of the future, microwaving a potato is a multi-step, error-ridden, complicated affair.
This much was made clear at a press event in Seattle today, where Amazon unveiled a host of new household products that integrate with the company’s voice assistant, Alexa. In doing so, Amazon succeeded in more than just debuting a voice-controlled microwave. Indeed, in the course of today’s IRL informercial the company managed to do something much more remarkable: give life to the adage that just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should.
When Amazon introduced Alexa, it changed how people interacted with devices. The convenience and ease of voice assistance has pushed this technology into nearly every new device, from laptops to even lawn mowers.
While Alexa comes equipped with a wide range of uses, small businesses can also take advantage of this technology through Amazon’s Alexa for Business initiative, which provides resources and support for Alexa in the workplace. Business owners with Alexa devices, like the Echo, Echo Spot, Echo Dot or Echo Show, can use various voice commands to carry out important business tasks, like ordering new supplies or starting a video meeting. Businesses can also create their own skills with Alexa and use Amazon’s APIs to build on existing interfaces.
Amazon wants to make its virtual assistant Alexa available on more devices, instead of just its own hardware. To that end, the company today is broadly opening up access to developer tools that will allow commercial device makers to build products powered by Alexa. With the launch of the Alexa Voice Service Device SDK toolset, companies can add a fully functional version of Alexa to their devices that’s able to handle speech recognition, as well as other Alexa functionality, like streaming media, using timers and alarms, notifications, weather reports, and accessing the thousands of voice apps, known as Alexa skills.