Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Move over Cortana, Amazon Alexa is coming to Windows 10

Above HP Pavilion Wave with Alexa for Windows Image Credit HP Above HP Pavilion Wave with Alexa for Windows Image Credit HP
Olivia Ford | 09 January, 2018, 01:09

After a planned Amazon - Microsoft initiative to integrate their respective Alexa and Cortana digital assistants put Alexa onto PCs by the end of 2017 failed to happen, Amazon is going ahead down an alternative route to make Alexa available on PCs by partnering with manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP.

The Intel Smart Sound Technology which is an integrated audio DSP (Digital Signal Processor), manages audio, voice and speech interactions through voice commands enabled by Amazon Alexa on compatible Acer notebooks while simultaneously providing high-quality audio without affecting system performance.

Notebooks such as the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5 with Acer Purified.Voice and four digital microphones support far-field voice recognition from up to nine feet (2.74 m) away, while others with dual microphones will be able to activate Alexa within three feet (0.91 m). Alexa will present responses to questions with visuals on Windows 10, just like Cortana.

Already PC makers are saying their machines will include support for Alexa such as HP with its new Pavillion Wave system.

Although most people interact with the Alexa voice assistant through Amazon's web-connected speakers, the Echo and the Echo Dot, the online retail giant has been increasingly courting third-party companies to embed Alexa in their own devices.

This is a very interesting announcement overall, and we look forward to see what Acer and Lenovo will say about their upcoming PCs featuring Alexa support.

Amazon Alexa will roll out on Acer PCs in the United States via an update through Acer Care Center; other regions will get it in mid-2018. Similarly, there is a custom LED to indicate Alexa's activeness - similar to Amazon Echo speakers. That computer, like Acer's Amazon-supported PCs, also contains custom Intel audio processors that are meant to help Alexa better hear and respond to people's voices.

"It's day one for Alexa on PCs and we are excited that PC customers will have access to hands-free Alexa voice capabilities and tens of thousands of skills".

Similar to Acer, HP also recently unveiled the Pavilion Wave that is specifically created to offer voice interactions powered by Amazon Alexa. Basically, at some point in the future, you'll be able to ask Cortana to tell Alexa to do something and vice versa.

This could be a huge win for Amazon, which is now trying to stay ahead of Google with regard to in-home digital assistants.

Acer is keen on taking ICT technology to new heights by integrating hardware, software and the aligned services such as the Internet of Things, gaming, and virtual reality.

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