Alexa Notifications

One of the most requested features on the Alexa forums has been Notifications.  It is both developers who want to add notification features to their skill, as well as users who wonder why they can't ask Alexa to notify them of some event.  The closest thing to notifications we have had were by setting a timer, where the Echo would wake up after the specified time and notify the user.  However, this functionality was only available to Amazon internal developers and third party developers had no such support. Read More >>> about Alexa Notifications

Amazon extends Echo Family: Look & Show

Amazon has been busy building their platform for voice control.  Two new products have been announced in the past couple of weeks, and it is a very interesting direction that Amazon is taking.  The beauty of the original Echo device, along with the follow-ups Echo Dot and Echo Tap, was that they were audio only.  This was in sharp contrast to previous voice assistants such as Siri, Google Now or Cortana.  They all used a screen as a secondary output device which the voice assistant could funnel results to, and does so frequently.   Read More >>> about Amazon extends Echo Family: Look & Show

Echo can now take a Selfie!

Amazon announced the new echo look product today.  At it's core, this is a voice controlled digital camera, which has all the regular voice assistant features of Alexa.  The idea is one that the echo look is kept in the bedroom, and can be used when you try on different sets of clothing.  You can then use the hands-free camera to have the device take your picture.  The pictures show up in the Alexa companion App. Read More >>> about Echo can now take a Selfie!

NEW Tools for Beta Testing your Alexa Skill

Amazon is really on a role when it comes to development tools.  There was already a facility to allow other accounts to access a skill that is still in development, yet it was difficult to use for multiple users and also required the tester to navigate the Amazon Developer website. It was also a little wierd for Alexa developers, as all the language in the prompts referred to mobile apps.   Read More >>> about NEW Tools for Beta Testing your Alexa Skill


Google Assistant Arriving on Android 6 & 7 (Nougat / Marshmallow)

Since shipping in November of 2016, analysts have estimated about 500,000 Google Home units have been sold.  Google Home contains the powerful Google Assistant. Although Google Home is the most common place to access Google Assistant, it is not the only place!  You could also use your Pixel phone, the Allo chat platform (on iOS and Android) and Google Assistant has even made it to Android Wear 2.0 which you most likely access with your smartwatch. Read More >>> about Google Assistant Arriving on Android 6 & 7 (Nougat / Marshmallow)

First Hotel with Free Alexa Access

If you happen to be staying in Seattle, Washington, soon, you might want to stay at The Alexis hotel.  Every guest room has an Echo Dot device, which allows you to order room service, check on local things to do and even give directions to get to the fitness center.  The hotel has partnered with Volera which has developed the technology to allow guests in the hospitality industry engage with Alexa.   Read More >>> about First Hotel with Free Alexa Access


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