CES 2018: Amazon's Alexa to challenge Cortana

Bill Rogers
January 9, 2018

AMAZON'S ALL CONQUERING voice assistant Alexa has a new home as a number of PC manufacturers have announced it will be integrated into their new laptops.

With Amazon Alexa, users with compatible Acer notebooks and PCs can get more done by asking Alexa to check their calendar, create lists and answer questions; be entertained by asking Alexa to play their favourite music, podcasts or audiobooks. Intel's Smart Sound Technology will also be used in some devices for improved voice and audio interactions with Alexa. The company is partnering with some of the biggest Windows device makers, including the likes of Lenovo, HP, Asus, and Acer, to bring Alexa to new Windows 10 devices this year.

The tech giants, which are rivals on many fronts, made the joint announcement at this weeks's CES 2018 tradeshow in Las Vegas.

From the first look, Pavilion Wave Wave with Alexa for Windows looks like a speaker with a custom LED to indicate Alexa and its state at the top.

Amazon's latest partnership with PC OEMs is separate from its partnership with Microsoft that aims to have Alexa and Cortana speak to each other.

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Google Assistant, meanwhile, has expanded from Android devices to Google Home speakers and third-party devices, as well.

This could get awkward for Microsoft and Amazon. A command given to Cortana could be interpreted by Alexa or vice versa.

Acer's Jerry Kao says: "Alexa lets users do thousands of things, and we're now bringing those capabilities natively to PC". Siri and Google Assistant have found a home on phones and Microsoft's poor performance in the smart home department combined with Amazon's mindshare in that market means that Amazon's Alexa has already won that war before it has even started.The time for Microsoft to dominate with Cortana in the home market has passed, now the firm needs to look inside and focus on its strengths before it loses what few advantages it already has. Machines from these companies should include this feature. Amazon's digital assistant was already available for everyone as a web app, but it's not clear yet if this new desktop app will be restricted to select PCs with special mics. Notebooks with Acer Purified.Voice and four digital microphones, like the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5, will support Alexa from up to 9 feet away.

The advent of Alexa for Business combined with these integrations could help to set Alexa up as a key business tool.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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