LAS VEGAS – Polk is giving Amazon’s Alexa a face lift—er, voice lift—with its Command Bar. The sound bar packs in an array of speakers for sound that nicely filled the large presentation space where we got our fist look, plus it includes a wireless subwoofer and, of course, integrated Alexa support. It also includes Polk Voice Adjust technology that makes it easier to hear dialog. The Command Bar packs in dual 4K HDMI 2.0b HDMI inputs, optical input for TV audio, HDMI (ARC) output, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, a USB port for Fire TV, and a far field microphone array for Alexa voice control. You can pre-order one for US$299.95 starting April 1, 2018, in the United States and Canada, and in other countries later in the year.
Dave Hamilton and John F. Braun join Jeff Gamet at CES 2018 in Las Vegas to talk about voice control devices’ strong presence at the event, plus they share more cool products they’ve found.
The feature works with the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and even with the Alexa iPhone app, so you’ll be able to annoy your family from anywhere in the world.
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.”
If you use the Amazon app on your iPhone to shop you can use it to talk to Alexa, too, even if you don’t own an Echo or Echo Dot. The online retailer is rolling out in-app Alexa support for iPhone users over the next week which means pretty much everything you do with an Echo or Echo Dot can happen right on your smartphone.
Starbucks just added a new feature to its iPhone app that lets you speak your order instead of tapping through the on screen menu. The feature, called My Starbucks barista, works sort of like a text chat where you say what you want—like, medium soy chai—and the app places the order at your local Starbucks. The app can handle L.A. Story-quality orders, too, like double upside down macchiato half decaf with room and splash of cream in a grande cup. The good news is the feature is part of yesterday’s Starbucks app update, and the bad news is that it’s beta right now and available to only 1,000 customers. For the rest of us, we’ll have to make due with the new Starbucks Alexa skill that lets you reorder your last drink. Seriously. You can do that now.
On Tuesday, wireless speaker manufacturer Sonos summoned the press to Manhattan to show off some new software features they’ve been working on and, in doing so, painted a picture of a more open Sonos experience. Demonstrating Amazon Alexa voice control and Spotify app integration, Sonos showed a not-too-distant future where customers have the ability to control their Sonos products in a variety of new ways without sacrificing any of the existing benefits of the Sonos platform.