Category Archives: echo

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

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

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

Apple’s Siri-controlled smart speaker could be revealed at WWDC next week

Enlarge / $159/£159 Apple AirPods.

Ahead of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference next week, a report from Bloomberg suggest the company could announce a long-rumored, Siri-controlled smart speaker. "People familiar with the matter" told Bloomberg that the device could be revealed as early as WWDC, but likely would not ship until later this year.

Details about the speaker are slim, but the report states the Siri-controlled smart speaker will have "virtual surround sound technology" and integration with Apple's existing product lineup. This would be Apple's first device to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home, both of which are vessels for each company's virtual assistant. Sources say Apple has been developing the speaker to be louder than its competition and to produce crisper sound overall. The device may also include "sensors that measure a room’s acoustics and automatically adjust audio levels during use."

In addition to keeping up with Amazon and Google, a Siri-controlled speaker would also likely serve as a smart home hub for Apple HomeKit products. Currently only Apple TVs and iPads can fully control HomeKit lights, door locks, and other devices, so a home-based speaker would be a logical addition to a household already equipped with HomeKit products.

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Sayspring raises $1.5M for software that lets designers prototype and test voice apps without coding

 Sayspring, a startup that enables designers to create voice-enabled apps without code ahead of handing over projects to development, has just raised $1.5 million in funding for its efforts, the company is announcing today. The round was led by Compound (formerly Metamorphic Ventures), with participation from strategic angels including Scott Belsky, Alan Chung, and Peter Stern. The startup… Read More

Amazon is helping to remove false wake words from Alexa’s vocabulary

 Amazon’s smart assistant has gotten pretty good at recognizing its own name (much to the apparent chagrin of many who share it), but that doesn’t make it immune from false positives. To make Alexa better at filtering out similar words, Amazon is today introducing a new feature called Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification for third-party manufacturers who have Alexa built into… Read More

After Harman Kardon, HP signs on to launch Cortana-enabled devices, too

 Earlier this week, Harman Kardon announced the Invoke, its Cortana-enabled Amazon Echo competitor. While Harman Kardon was the first company to integrate Cortana into this kind of device, it’s not going to be the only one for long. As Microsoft announced today, HP has also signed on to build similar devices. Intel, too, is getting into this game and promises to soon launch reference… Read More

Crunch Report | Amazon Unveils The Amazon Echo Show

Amazon unveils the Amazon Echo show, the first female general partner gets hired at Benchmark, Amazon makes phone calls free and Snapchat stays hip with a new eraser feature. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

Amazon enables free calls and messages on all Echo devices with Alexa Calling

 Amazon may have flopped with the Fire Phone, but don’t count it out of the telephony game just yet. Alongside Amazon unveiling its newest Echo device earlier today — the Echo Show with a seven-inch video screen — the company also announced Alexa Calling, free voice calls and messaging services that you use through all Echo devices (not just the Show), as well as users of… Read More