February 21, 2018

Amazon Echo Spot: 'Smart alarm clock' with Alexa comes to the UK

16 January 2018, 08:05 | Dan Bryan

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The Echo Spot, which will cost £199.99, will carry similar functionality, with a series of clock faces available hinting at the device's premier use case - as an Alexa powered alarm clock for your bedside table or elsewhere in the home. At the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here in Las Vegas, voice has emerged as the new search enabler - use your words to "talk" to virtual assistants and give commands right from your vehicle to the television, light fixtures and music system at home, or the washing machine, showers and bath fittings, and even the refrigerator and microwave-oven in the kitchen. For example, Domino's Pizza has developed a skill so that customers can order pizza via voice.

Report spokesperson, Amit Sharma, said that consumers in the United Kingdom were already exhibiting growing eagerness to try out voice-based safe shopping online, with the rapid growth expected to continue throughout 2018 and beyond as people become more familiar with the experience and benefits.

Established brands are already getting in on the action. I don't have any iOS/Apple so no Siri for me, please and thank you.

To keep the size down, Amazon had to completely redesign its far-field microphone array - that's what helps Alexa pick up your voice commands accurately, at a distance. For instance, to enable Ola, just say "Alexa, enable Ola". In the U.S., developer Joel Wilson made $9,000 a month for his two quiz skills - nearly without trying. The mirror also provides you with news, beauty tips and music which you can control through Alexa. For instance, popular quiz game Jeopardy! is offering six additional clues a day to users for a small monthly fee.

Both deliver Alexa to the tech's fullest capabilities, with a growing number of uses for the screens on both devices. Maybe you do, maybe you don't - it really depends what you get up to in your bedroom.

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Every time a new high-tech device is released, it seems like it's followed by the next best thing. In fact, you may want it in all of these places. Following success in the United States, it's landing in the UK market in late January with an RRP of £120 (or you can buy two for £200).

The Alexa team has been also been hosting developer workshops in cities in India to engage with the country's developer community. Alexa can still hear and understand you most of the time.

Privacy concerns are not necessarily deal breakers for many consumers but they are certain to grow as the technology proliferates. As per Amazon, you don't need to have a background in natural language understanding or speech recognition to build voice experiences for your products with Alexa.

The company also debuted an upgraded Cortana software development kit, better-enabling developers to integrate the smart assistant into their products. Alexa-gathered data indicated the martini and the Manhattan were the most-requested drinks, chocolate chip cookies were the most-requested recipe and "Jingle Bells" was the most-requested song. With the explosion of data on the internet, falling pricings of sensors, network and computing speeds, it has led to a new renaissance of what some call intelligent systems of the fourth industrial revolution.

Manufacturers of appliances and other products are considering factors such as ease of use and language support as they pick voice technology from what they view as a wide open battle between Alphabet's Google, and others.

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