Technology

Amazon's Alexa Coming to Windows PCs

Share
HP is adding a custom LED for Alexa to its HP Pavilion Wave desktop tower

The new Alexa app for Windows 10 is notably separate from the deal Microsoft and Amazon struck a year ago that allowed for integration between Alexa and the former's Cortana voice assistant.

Unlike Microsoft Cortana, however, Amazon Alexa will live as a standalone third-party application for obvious reasons. HP Pavillion Wave is one of the few devices in the limelight ahead of Amazon's announcement of its partnerships at CES 2018. HP, Acer, Asus and Lenovo are also planning to integrate Alexa for their upcoming laptops line-up this year. With Alexa enabled, you can ask your laptop or desktop to do anything you might ask of your Echo device: check calendars, create lists and answer questions, play music, and manage smart home devices. "Working with Intel and Amazon engineers to optimize Intel Smart Sound Technology to help deliver a hands-free experience, the 360-degree multi-directional reflective audio can hear voice commands from any angle". With Alexa soon to be available on the same system, it could also spell doom for Microsoft's digital assistant.

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

Additionally, it's not entirely clear at this stage, given that the launch was for specific laptops, whether all capable machines will be able to use the Windows 10 version of Alexa or whether it is specifically available on these new ranges, and that fact alone could make a huge difference. As Google and Apple continue growing and expanding their own personal assistants, Amazon has maintained its lead on those companies by getting Alexa into as much hardware as possible. An Amazon spokesperson said these new Alexa integrations are unrelated. Moreover, Acer and Asus have also said their latest notebooks will be compatible with Alexa.

To use Alexa, you'll first need to open its desktop application - displayed as a tall rectangle as big as a smartphone - and then say "Hey Alexa". Users will be able to control the projector after enabling the Acer Projector Smart Home skill by asking Alexa compatible Acer PC, "Alexa, turn on the projector", "Alexa, select HDMI as the projector source", or "Alexa, change projector display mode to bright".

Share