Category Archives: Alexa

42 percent of Amazon Echo owners have bought a second device (or more)

 Here’s a promising metric for Amazon, in terms of its ability to maintain its current lead in the voice computing market: 42 percent of Amazon Echo owners have two or more devices, according to Edison Research. This figure is seemingly growing, too. Last year, there were about 1.18 Amazon Echo devices per Alexa household, but this new finding pushes that number to around 1.5 to 1.6… Read More

The first ad network for Alexa Skills shuts down following Amazon’s policy changes

 A series of policy changes at Amazon that detail how advertising will be supported within Alexa’s voice-enabled apps, called “Skills,” have now had their first casualty: VoiceLabs. The startup was the leading way for third-party developers to make money from their Alexa applications, through the use of VoiceLab’s “Sponsored Messages.” Unlike traditional… Read More

Amazon’s Dash Wand barcode scanner returns with Alexa and is now essentially free

 The first iteration of Amazon’s Dash Wand wasn’t long for this world. The company trialed the barcode scanner with select Prime Fresh customers in California, but the hardware didn’t seem to really go anywhere. Instead the company switch tacts, moving to those now familiar single product buttons. Now that Amazon’s all bullish about hardware, thanks to the… Read More

Logitech’s Circle 2 is a modular home surveillance tool with Alexa and HomeKit support

 A few weeks ago, I sat down with Logitech to talk about the wired and wireless versions of the Circle 2: a modular home surveillance camera, with four different mounts that change where and how you’d use the camera. The modular approach stems from four different mounts: the first is a glass window mount, so you can see outdoors without glare. Second is the plug mount, ensuring… Read More

The HTC U11 is a good phone with a dumb gimmick

 Squeezable sides are a very bad reason to buy a phone. Especially now, when the U11’s Edge Sense doesn’t do a whole hell of a lot. Who knows, perhaps one day it will do much more than simply launching favorite apps. But even then, squeezable sides will be a very bad reason to buy a phone. HTC has done itself a disservice banking on a goofy gimmick with its new flagship. The Edge… Read More

Amazon introduces a way for any TV provider or streaming service to build Alexa-powered video apps

 Alexa can already control your Fire TV to help you launch Netflix or find your favorite show, among other things, but today Amazon is announcing a new tool for developers that will allow any cable and satellite TV company, streaming service, or other content provider to add the same sort of voice control to their apps, as well. With the new Video Skill API, developers could allow Echo and… Read More

Why Apple’s HomePod won’t just collect dust on your shelf

 Apple brought its smart speaker into the world with a shoddy name and an unconventional pitch, but anyone brash enough to cast the device to the side so easily will surely pay the price. Apple, unlike Amazon and Google, understands that selling glorified intelligence-in-a-box as a method of human computer interaction lacks foresight — people want a product, not a technology. Launching… Read More

How Google could fire up its smart home play

 When it was unveiled at last year’s I/O, Home felt like little more than Google’s attempt to cash in on the Echo’s success. And the intervening year hasn’t done a lot to dispel that notion. The company announced additions to Home and Assistant at this year’s event to try to pull even with Amazon’s lead, but the whole Google Home offering still feels ambling… Read More

Alexa adds support for reminders and named timers

 One of Alexa’s more practical, everyday uses is setting timers – helpful when cooking, remembering to perform some task, or alerting kids it’s bedtime, among other things. Today, Amazon is improving its timers by allowing users to name their different ones. This will make it easier to use multiple timers simultaneously, Amazon says. Plus, since many Alexa customers were… Read More