Technology

Alexa to live in new Windows 10 PCs launching later this year

Alexa to live in new Windows 10 PCs launching later this year

After smart speakers, smart displays, and a bunch of other gadgets, Amazon is bringing its Alexa smart assistant to Windows 10 PCs.

Unlike Microsoft Cortana, however, Amazon Alexa will live as a standalone third-party application for obvious reasons. That computer, like Acer's Amazon-supported PCs, also contains custom Intel audio processors that are meant to help Alexa better hear and respond to people's voices.

Some features like Alexa calling and messaging, security camera feeds, and access to streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and Amazon Video will not be available at launch, an HP spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. "A voice interface can make everyday tasks simpler for customers - now that includes their desktop and laptop PCs, too", an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email. Lenovo, Asus, and Acer also reportedly plan to bring Alexa to a series of Windows 10 laptops and desktops.

The list of devices that will work with Alexa is likely to be substantial. The computer maker says it will add a custom LED to the tower to indicate when Alexa is listening. Intel's Smart Sound Technology will also be used in some devices for improved voice and audio interactions with Alexa. Alexa's reach isn't necessarily a problem for Amazon, but the company doesn't have the hardware platform advantages that Google does, as Google's Assistant is available to millions of Android users already.

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Perhaps, most interestingly, the newly integrated PCs will show findings on screen, as well as audibly delivering information, with other Alexa integrations only able to perform the latter. The rollout of the Alexa-Cortana integration, announced past year, has been delayed but is expected to start soon.

Acer says it's also adding Alexa to its new V6820M and V6820i 4K UHD projectors.

While it's unclear how many customers will be enticed by these specific Windows PCs, Amazon should be very happy about having HP, Acer and Asus commit to supporting Alexa. Amazon Alexa has spread from the company's Echo speakers into a growing number of third-party devices, in settings ranging from the auto to the bathroom.


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