Amazon’s Alexa Calling feature works great on the Echo and Echo Dot, from the testing TMO staff have done so far. Jeff Butts and Jeff Gamet also took the time to check out how the feature works from the Alexa app on the iPhone. Here’s what they found out, and how you can use it, too.
The just announced Echo Show isn’t the only device in Amazon’s lineup getting voice calling support. A new feature dubbed Alexa Calling is coming to the Echo, Echo Dot, and Alexa mobile app today. For now, the calling features are limited to the Echo lineup and Alexa app, but that could be the first step in turning the devices into speaker phones fro our homes.
Apple may be ready to announce its own Siri-based Amazon Echo competitor at its Worldwide Developer Conference in June. So says KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo who calls it “Apple’s first home AI product.”
At first glance, the technically and logically minded person would wonder why Amazon thinks that an AI like Alexa, within the new Echo Look, peering into your bedroom and making clothing recommendations would be a hit product. But then one has to understand the psychology of the product. At that point, all becomes clear.
Amazon filed a motion to block a search warrant demanding recordings from an Echo in its ongoing fight to protect user privacy. The warrant is part of a Bentonville, Arkansas homicide investigation, and Amazon says communication with the Echo and its Alexa voice interface are protected as free speech by the First Amendment.
Amazon thinks smart home devices shouldn’t be used for government surveillance, and is going to court to keep Echo Alexa requests out of police hands. John Martellaro and Bryan Chaffin join Jeff Gamet to look at Amazon’s argument and the impact in-home listening products are having on freedom of speech and privacy.
The Amazon Echo family of devices shouldn’t be underestimated. We talk about how it appears to be a device for casual questions, weather, music and shopping. But the underlying technology is going after something much bigger. Moreover, Amazon’s lead over Apple in AI and home automation may be unstoppable. John looks at two articles that provide insight into what Amazon is after in the long run.
Star Trek taught us years ago that we get the attention of our interactive computer systems by saying, “Computer.” We’re sort of there with Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot by saying “Alexa” before issuing a command, but it would be so much cooler if we could say “computer” instead. Turns out you can. Follow along to learn how.
Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot are pretty cool, but what if you don’t have one yet—or aren’t home to use yours? That’s where Astra comes in. It’s an iPhone app that links to your Amazon account so you talk talk to Alexa just as if you’re right in front of your own Echo. The app lets you do pretty much everything your Echo or Echo Dot can handle, except for music playback or reading audio books. You can also remotely control your Echo-aware smarthome devices with your voice, which is worth the app’s US$0.99 price tag all by itself. You can get Astra at Apple’s App Store.
The time since most of the Macs have been updated can now be described as geologic. Is that because Apple doesn’t care about the Macs? Or, more likely, could we be in for another major architectural change? Evidence is mounting that Apple will abandon Intel and take the Mac lineup to ARM. John looks at the evidence and makes the case.