Published: Tue, January 09, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Amazon's Alexa Coming to Windows PCs

Amazon's Alexa Coming to Windows PCs

Now Microsoft's Cortana does have a few smart speaker and thermostat wins, but its distribution is flooded by Alexa as well as Google Assistant.

Amazon has also announced the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit which will enable OEMs to add Alexa to devices such as hearables, headphones, smart watches and fitness devices without having to start from scratch with coding for Alexa integration.

He says that each assistant "brings aspects the other lacks", highlighting Alexa's skill at shopping and music, and Cortana's natural Windows integration. Amazon has partnered with a bunch of major desktop makers including HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, all of which plan to integrate Alexa into their next range of Windows 10 computers this year.

Acer’s Switch 7 Black Edition will offer four microphones enabling far-field voice recognition for Alexa
Acer’s Switch 7 Black Edition will offer four microphones enabling far-field voice recognition for Alexa

A year ago, Amazon's Alexa everywhere strategy rolled out.

Amazon made the announcement at CES 2018, happening in Las Vegas this week. On the other hand, it also wants Cortana to be in your vehicle, and on your smart speaker, and to run on your Android phone and iPhone (but mostly the former). and Windows PC. "Cortana and Alexa can co-exist".

This could get awkward for Microsoft and Amazon. You can use your Android phone and Google Assistant if you want, but Cortana will be passing data from your phone to your PC, both notifications, images and more so you can be productive.

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The idea with Amazon's latest venture is that the company will release a special Alexa app in the coming months, with laptop manufacturers honing Intel's Smart Sound tech, ensuring that users' voices will be picked up by the app, even when they're not right next to their computer.

In an Acer press release, Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, said, "Acer is excited to be among the first brands to bring Alexa to PCs".

Acer, Asus, and HP have all announced forthcoming PCs that integrate Alexa: select Acer Aspire, Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks and some Aspire all-in-one PCs; select Asus ZenBook and VivoBook laptops; and HP's new Pavilion Wave PC, which looks most like an Amazon Echo than any of the other devices.

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The Pavilion Wave 600-a010t is meant to appeal to audiophiles, but it also includes some features that could make it useful for video calls and productivity.

People can already access Alexa on their PCs through an Amazon-sanctioned website for developers to test their Alexa apps, or skills, built for the Echo.

Acer says it's also adding Alexa to its new V6820M and V6820i 4K UHD projectors.

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