Skip to main content
All Stories Tagged:

Amazon Alexa

Amazon's Alexa smart assistant seems to be everywhere. Since it was first announced in 2014 with the original Amazon Echo speaker, the voice assistant has gained thousands of new "skills" and comes in a variety of form factors – from miniature speakers to ones with a video camera and a touchscreen. Alexa has been integrated into a wide range of devices including cars, fridges, smartwatches, lights, and security cameras.

W
TikTok
What makes the Echo Hub stand out?

Basically, it’s just a better smart home device than the company’s Echo Show smart display, but there’s more to it. The Verge’s Jen Tuohy gives you the rundown. Be sure to check out her full review for more detail.


J
External Link
“Alexa Plus” may be a smarter version of Amazon’s voice assistant that you pay for.

While the new Alexa voice technology (dubbed “Remarkable Alexa”) is supposedly scheduled for a June 30th launch, a report from Business Insider cites sources who say early testing with 15,000 customers has not gone well.

Apparently, Alexa is “often giving unnecessarily long or inaccurate responses.” I am all for a smarter Alexa, but a hallucinating Alexa could be downright dangerous.

Amazon showed off some of what it planned for Alexa and generative AI at its hardware event last fall, where Dave Limp hinted it might come with a price tag.


2023 in the smart home: Matter’s broken promises

The new smart home standard finally arrived this year. But poor implementation, significant backpedaling, and glacial progress have left it broken.

“Alexa, thank my driver,” again.

It won’t cost you a thing, but that simple phrase sends $5 to your most recent Amazon delivery person and will ultimately require the company to pay its fleet of US drivers an extra $10,000,000. The return of Amazon’s tipping program began a few days ago and will continue until it gathers two million thank yous. You can also type “thank my driver” in the search bar on amazon.com or the shopping app.


J
External Link
Senator Klobuchar wants Jeff Bezos to answer for misinformation on Alexa.

She co-signed a letter to him after The Washington Post spotted Alexa reciting misinformation about the 2020 presidential election.

I will note that Bezos does not, exactly, run Amazon anymore. Though he is head of the company’s board.


W
External Link
A reminder that you shouldn’t trust everything your smart speaker says.

The Washington Post reported that Amazon’s Alexa answered some 2020 US presidential election questions by claiming it was “stolen by a massive amount of election fraud” while citing sources like Rumble, Substack, and Alexa Answers (Amazon’s crowd-sourced answers program).

The Post writes that it flagged some of the questions with Amazon and they were fixed, but that other questions still gave similar answers. The outlet added that Google Assistant and Siri had no such trouble with these questions.


A
The Verge
Amazon’s big hardware launch is over, but stay tuned.

Thanks for hanging with us! We’re gonna be physically checking out all of the stuff announced today in just a few minutes. So we’ll be back. The same can’t be said for David Limp who thanked his coworkers as he ended his final hardware event at Amazon.


Oooh look — Amazon has a smart home control panel.

Amazon just announced a new Echo Hub at Amazon’s Fall hardware event. The tablet-like screen mounts to the wall and costs $179.99.

It’s a Zigbee hub, Thread border router, and Matter controller in one, with a smart home widget interface that automatically appears as you approach.

Amazon says it can control devices in milliseconds, but the big question is how snappy will its touchscreen be?


Alexa Map View could make managing your smart home so much easier ...

This map view makes a lot of sense for control of your smart home, and anything is better than the current Alexa app UI.


<em>Gallery View</em>

1/3

Gallery View
Image: Amazon
Blink adds a new sync module, and brings four years of battery life to its outdoor cameras.

The Blink Sync Module Pro extends the range of Blink’s cameras beyond Wi-Fi, costs $49.99, and will be available early next year.

The new Blink outdoor battery pack will extend the new Blink Cam 4’s two-year battery life to four years. This was first promised about two years ago — so it’s nice to see it finally arrive.


Amazon brings ambient art with AI-generated images to Fire TV sticks and the Echo Show.

At its Devices and Services event, Amazon announced that it’s bringing ambient art to new and existing Echo Show and Fire TV devices. What’s more, it can generate or alter images for you on the fly, right on your TV using voice commands.

Previously, the ambient art feature was only available on Fire TVs.


1/2

The Fire TV Max is Amazon’s ‘most powerful streaming stick yet.’

It comes with support for Wi-Fi 6e for less congested streaming, a 2GHz quad-core processor, Dolby Vision, HDR, HDR 10+, and Dolby Atmos Audio.

It’ll cost $59.99 and can be pre-ordered today. So, come on — who is going to save $10 and buy the regular Fire TV stick?