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.

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>


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.


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?

There’s a new Fire TV Soundbar.

It’s got Bluetooth and should work with all Fire TV products, no set up required. That’s a leg up on many other soundbars, which require at least a little time and navigating a few menus in an app to get up and running.

It’s available today for $119.99.

After publishing Amazon reached out to confirm that yes, the Soundbar will work with any smart TV via HDMI.

The Fire TV Soundbar
The Fire TV Soundbar
Image by Amazon
Generative-AI-powered Fire TV search will help you find better stuff to watch

The new Alexa LLM will power a more conversational search experience on Fire TV.

Using the Alexa voice remote you can dig down through options on the myriad of streaming services and even ask it to narrow down choices based on random facts like “Which movie should have won an Oscar but didn’t?”

Now, who is making that call.

The Fire TV search demo is really cool, but the TV has motion smoothing on.

Please no one tell Tom Cruise, or he might vault into the building from 300 feet in the air to turn the motion smoothing off.

Finally some hardware...for kids.

Amazon has a new has two new Fire Kids tablets. There’s a new Fire HD 10 Kids Pro for “older” kids and a Fire HD 10 Kids. The new hardware will start at $189.99 and should be about 25-percent faster than the previous generation of Fire HD 10 Kids tablets. They’ll sport 1080p 10.1-inch displays, 3GB of RAM and up to 13 hours of battery life.

The new Fire HD 10 Kids Pro.
The new Fire HD 10 Kids Pro.
Want to advertise The Avengers in your kid’s bedroom? Get a new Echo Pop Kids.

The new Echo Pop Kids will cost $49.99 and include Amazon’s Kids Plus service.

But, boy, do they look ugly.

Alexa Eye Gaze offers a new way to control Alexa on a Fire tablet

This accessibility feature Amazon just announced lets you use your eye gaze to control smart home devices, audio, video, and more Alexa features. It will be available later this year for free, on the Fire Max 11 tablet.

BMW will get Amazon’s LLM-powered voice assistant.

The voice assistant that Amazon is working on with BMW will work with Amazon’s LLM for more conversational AI, the company said in its Devices and Services event today. is coming to Alexa. already lets you chat with plenty of famous people via a chat bot, but is now coming to Alexa-powered devices, which means you can have a conversation with Grace Hopper (Amazon’s example) or Aristotle or even fictional characters.

This will be very dangerous for those of us whom harass our voice assistants when we’re bored at home. I cannot wait to ask Frodo how he feels about current events in the United States.

The announcement came during today’s Amazon hardware event.

You’ll soon be able to talk to historical and fictional characters on Alexa-powered devices.
You’ll soon be able to talk to historical and fictional characters on Alexa-powered devices.
Jennifer Tuohy / The Verge
Alexa is going to be a lot more expressive very soon.

This event is fast becoming the Alexa show instead of the Alexa-based hardware show, and with demos this neat that’s okay! The demo playing right now showcases a more emotive Alexa who analyzed Van Gogh’s Starry Night in a much more natural and expressive way than the current Alexa.

The best way to describe it is Alexa sounds...richer? That robotic cadence Alexa and other voice assistants has softened to something much more natural sounding.

“Alexa, let’s chat.”

Wow, the new Alexa sounds way more ... normal. Limp is demoing it live on stage and having a (somewhat successful) conversation about — what else — football.

Even the Echo can struggle with the Amazon Event’s Wi-Fi, but the AI demo is impressive.

Limp is showing off the new LLM powering Alexa at the event, and it's slow, much like the Wi-Fi currently at the Amazon event, but it did know Limp’s favorite football team without prompting.

And apparently, Alexa is a Seahawks fan.

The most impressive part of this troubled demo was the total lack of wake words between each question. Limp grilled it like a 5-year-old when they see you have a Nintendo Switch and apart from Wi-Fi hiccups it sounded like a normal conversation.

The new Alexa LLM-powered voice assistant will work on the original Echo that launched in 2014.

That’s ... impressive.

In the new Echo Show 8, Alexa will be 40 percent faster.

Shown today during Amazon’s hardware event, this will be a huge improvement. Personally, I’ve found smart displays are often slower than the standard Echo speakers.

Echo Show 8 shown in an animated GIF


Echo Show 8
Image: Amazon
The Echo Show 8 is Amazon’s latest smart speaker.

The Echo Show 8 will have “spacial audio” and “room adaptation” software. That should make it behave sort of like Sonos speakers have for years.

The home screen will also change depending on your proximity to it. Changing content as you approach so its easier to interact with via touch, and then simplify when you step away.

It will be available starting next month, pre-orders start today and it will retail for $149.99

Echo Show 8
The Echo Show 8
A new, smarter Alexa is on the way.

Dave Limp says a superhuman voice assistant is within reach as he takes us through a history of its efforts in the smart home at Amazon’s Fall hardware event. There are nearly a billion devices connected to Alexa today, he says. Yes, mainly for timers and alarms — but also smart home, which he says is up 25 percent year on year.

Dave Limp at his last Amazon event.
Dave Limp at his last Amazon event.
Amazon’s September hardware event just started.

David Limp’s on stage preparing to announce a whole lot of hardware. There’s the stuff we’re expecting, like a new Echo and Fire TV, and maybe even Alexa powered by generative AI. We’ll see what else gets announced.

This followed an opening video showing off, naturally, the power of Alexa, and David’s own reminder that he’s moving on from Amazon.

External Link
Amazon’s Sidewalk network is about to get some dedicated chips.

At Silicon Labs’ Works With conference today, the company launched the SG23 and SG28 SoCs, new chips designed for Amazon Sidewalk. It also announced more tools to help developers build devices for Amazon’s new long-range, low-bandwidth IoT network.

This means we might soon see some useful gadgets leveraging the free-to-use protocol that covers 90 percent of the US population (thanks to being embedded in practically every Echo smart speaker ever made.)

All I really want is that pet tracker Amazon promised us.