Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa is set to make the leap to Windows 10 devices, following a hold-up in cross-company collaboration.
In the cutthroat world of big tech, it came as something of a surprise when Microsoft and Amazon announced last year their plans to integrate competing technologies with one another. It was promised at the time that, soon, Windows users could use Alexa, whilst Amazon devices would support Cortana. All the user had to do is ask their built-in digital assistant to fire up the other.
The announcement came in 2017, with a full roll-out pencilled in for later that same year. However, nothing was forthcoming and the partnership failed to materialise (even though both companies had taken the step to build the required skills into their assistants). Now, it seems Amazon has seized the initiative and created a new app to open its assistant up to Windows 10 users – provided they have devices capable of handling far-field voice recognition, of course.
A whole host of Windows 10 devices are now set to hit the shelves with Alexa already built in. Amazon has struck deals with companies including Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo, which sees them integrate the technology on new devices set for release in 2018. Among them is the head-turning Pavillion Wave PC which, thanks to its fabric exterior, looks much more like a speaker than a computer. Lenovo, meanwhile, has confirmed plans to use Alexa in its upcoming laptop releases.
Users of these devices can ‘wake’ Alexa either by saying the name, or using a keyboard shortcut.
In a press release by Acer, the vice president of Amazon’s Alexa division Steve Rabuchin said: “Hands-free access to Alexa on PCs can be helpful to customers in many ways, like making it simple to interact with your smart home, get news or weather, set timers, and more.
“This is a big step toward making Alexa available wherever customers might need her.”