Amazon Echo Stories May 31, 2021

PSA: If you have Amazon devices, you may want to opt out of Amazon Sidewalk

If you own any one of a number of Amazon devices, and are in the US, you have just over a week to opt out of a feature the company calls Amazon Sidewalk, to avoid potential security and privacy issues …

Amazon Echo Stories December 13, 2019

Apple has partnered with Amazon to launch support for Apple Podcasts on Amazon Echo devices. Starting today, Echo owners in the United States can ask Alexa to play any of the 800,000 shows in the Apple Podcasts directory.

To set up the integration, Echo customers must first link their Apple ID in the Alexa app. As well as asking Alexa to play a specific show, playback progress will automatically sync with all of your Apple Podcasts app across iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac.

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Amazon Echo Stories July 10, 2019

UK NHS to provide health advice through Amazon Alexa

The UK National Health Service is partnering with Amazon Alexa to bring official government health advice to smart speakers like the Amazon Echo.

Amazon Echo Stories May 14, 2019

Amazon is rolling out a new feature for its Echo smart speaker devices called Alexa Guard. Alexa Guard turns your Echo into a mini-home security device. It will listen out for noises like smoke alarms going off or smashed glass, and send alerts to your phone including audio clips and quick access to a video feed (if your Echo has a camera).

Following a beta test last year, the feature will soon be available to all Echo owners in the United States. You can start using it by enabling Guard in the Alexa app.

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Amazon Echo Stories April 10, 2019

A new report from Bloomberg offers a look at the team of people that Amazon employs to listen to and monitor Alexa voice recordings. The report explains that Amazon employs “thousands of people around the world” to listen to voice recordings captured through its Echo devices.

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Amazon Echo Stories December 19, 2018

Amazon promises Apple Music integration coming to third-party Alexa-enabled speakers after Echo exclusivity

Apple Music integration with Amazon Echo speakers has been an interesting development. At first Amazon did all the marketing, with Apple remaining mostly quiet. Yesterday, we spotted Apple promoting the functionality on the App Store and also shared a new trick.

Now, Amazon has confirmed that it will be rolling out Apple Music support for third-party Alexa-enabled speakers.

Amazon Echo Stories December 13, 2018

How to set up Apple Music on Amazon Echo speakers and make default for Alexa

After an unexpected announcement two weeks ago, Apple Music integration has arrived Amazon Echo speakers. Read on for how to set up Apple Music on Amazon Echo speakers and make it the default for Alexa.

Amazon Echo Stories November 30, 2018

There are plenty of wireless speakers out there, but if you want to use a voice command to play Apple Music, there’s just one option open to you at present: HomePod. That’s about to change, with the ability to play Apple Music on Echo speakers

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Amazon Echo Stories November 19, 2018

One of the great things about the Amazon Echo ecosystem is the ability to set your preferred music streaming service — not just Amazon’s. Starting today, Amazon Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-enabled speakers now work with Pandora Premium, the personalized radio station service’s version of Apple Music. Amazon Echo speakers and screens are also gaining support for Skype audio and video calling just in time for the holidays.

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Amazon Echo Stories April 5, 2018

While Apple’ Siri digital assistant is still pretty limited in its functionality, despite it being the main input for HomePod, Amazon has been experimenting and adding new features at a rapid pace.

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Amazon Echo Stories April 4, 2018

It’s no secret that Siri is far behind its competition in the digital assistant space, and this continues with Apple’s new product, HomePod, which features Siri at the core of the experience.

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Amazon Echo Stories March 9, 2018

The most annoying thing about digital assistants is that you have to say a trigger word after every request, with few exceptions. Whether it be “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google”, or “Alexa”, it can become increasingly tiresome, especially if you’re trying to have a fluid conversation.

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Amazon Echo Stories February 12, 2018

As HomePod hits the market, Amazon is working on custom chips for Echo devices

As eager customers got their hands on Apple’s HomePod starting last Friday, one thing is for sure, the smart speaker competition is heating up. The latest news is that Amazon is working on creating custom chips for future Echo devices to help maintain its market lead.

Amazon Echo Stories December 22, 2017

Amazon announced today that it is expanding multi-room music playback with Echo devices with support for Spotify. The feature was originally announced back in August, but with limited support from music streaming services…

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Amazon Echo Stories May 31, 2017

While Apple may be planning to unveil its ‘Siri Speaker’ next week at WWDC, Amazon is updating its Echo ecosystem to work with iCloud Calendars. Amazon’s Alexa app can now link Apple iCloud Calendars to enable Echo integration.

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Amazon Echo Stories May 5, 2017

While Apple is rumored to announce a Siri Speaker at WWDC aimed as a high-end Echo competitor, Amazon is readying an Alexa device with a built-in display. In a leaked image, the new device is more monolithic, featuring a touchscreen and possibly a camera.

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Amazon Echo Stories April 13, 2017

The high-performance far-field microphones found in Amazon Echo products may soon find their way to other hardware companies as Amazon has announced that the technology will be available to those who want to integrate into the Alexa Experience.

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Amazon Echo Stories September 23, 2016

echo Amazon Echo speaker with intelligent voice assistant
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Amazon Echo speaker with intelligent voice assistant

We first heard suggestions that Apple was working on its own equivalent to Amazon’s Echo – an intelligent voice-controlled assistant in a speaker – in the run-up to WWDC back in May. A subsequent report suggested that the device would feature a camera capable of facial-recognition to identify household members and set preferences.

Little more has been heard since then, but a new Bloomberg report says that the product now exists in prototype form and has begun testing outside the lab …

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Amazon Echo Stories August 23, 2016

Amazon reportedly set to do what Apple wasn’t able to (for non-students): launch a $5/mo streaming music service

Re/code reports that Amazon may be about to do something Apple tried hard to do but wasn’t able: launch a true streaming music service for $5/month (Apple was able to secure the $5/month pricing for students). There is, though, rather a big catch for Amazon: the service will only work on the company’s own Amazon Echo speaker.

Amazon Echo Stories May 26, 2016

siri

Last year, I wrote a Feature Request asking that Apple give third-party apps access to Siri, and generally work at beefing-up both the intelligence and the capabilities of its intelligent assistant. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an opinion piece pointing to the fact that Viv is exactly what Siri should have been by now.

This week, a report suggests that I may finally be getting my wish. Apple is said to be not only planning to offer a Siri SDK to all developers, but also building an Amazon Echo/Google Home type box that will embed Siri more deeply in the home through integration with HomeKit. We will, says the report, find out more at WWDC.

If true, the implications could be profound – perhaps even meaning that we’ve hit ‘peak app’ …

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Amazon Echo Stories November 6, 2014

Amazon today announced a new hardware product called Echo. It’s essentially a speaker unit dedicated to being a voice-control system. It kind of sounds like Siri but in a speaker for a single room instead of in your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch.

You can set alarms, control music, ask about the weather, search the web, ask questions, and access local news. It streams content via Bluetooth and WiFi, and connects to the Fire Phone (if you have one, lol), iOS via the browser, Android, and desktop computers via the web. Instead of “Hey Siri,” you say “Alexa” to start speaking the device. You’ll need a Fire OS/Android device to take full advantage, but music should work fine via iOS.

The whole concept is very futuristic, and it’s unclear how beneficial this will be to people with voice-controlled phones. But, hey, this comes from the developers of a faux-3D phone and delivery drones, so this is not completely out of left field. The Echo is $99 for Amazon Prime users, $199 for everyone else, and (for some reason) you need an invitation to receive the honor to buy one of these untested things.

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