Category Archives: Alexa


Amazon Reportedly Working On Alexa-Powered Smart Glasses

Tyler Lee September 20, 2017

When Google showed off the Google Glass, many were amazed at the possibilities of the headset, although at that time it seemed that Google might have been a bit early to the market and the public just wasn’t ready. However fast forward a few years later, it seems that smart glasses could be catching on.

We’ve seen how Snap’s Spectacles has been launched with great success, and we are also hearing that companies like Apple could be working on something of their own. Now a report from the Financial Times (paywall; via The Verge) is claiming that Amazon could also be interested and are working on a pair of Alexa-powered smart glasses.

While Amazon might be known to many as retailer, the company has dabbled in a variety of gadgets in the past such as smartphones, tablets, and speakers, just to name a few, but if the report is true, these smart glasses could be Amazon’s first attempt at a wearable. The glasses in question is said to have been designed to resemble a regular pair of glasses and will use bone conduction technology which will do away with the need for headphones or speakers.

It will also not come with a screen or camera (which is good news for privacy-advocates), although we’re not sure that without a screen what would be the point, since Alexa-powered headphones could do exactly the same thing. Perhaps there is more to this than what the report let on, but take it with a grain of salt for now.

Amazon Reportedly Working On Alexa-Powered Smart Glasses , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Researchers Demonstrate ‘Dolphin Attack’ That Targets Digital Voice Assistants

Tyler Lee September 7, 2017

We hear about our smartphones being vulnerable to attacks all the time, and with the rise in popularity in digital voice assistants, it seems that we now have a new avenue to be worried about. A report from FastCompany has revealed that Chinese researchers have discovered a new way that hackers can take control of your smartphone using your voice assistant.

Dubbed the DolphinAttack, this technique was discovered by a team at the Zhejiang University in which it uses normal voice commands that have been transformed into ultrasonic frequencies to communicate with your phone. These frequencies cannot be heard or detected by the human ear, but can be picked up by microphones and voice assistants, which if you have enabled it to be always-on will act on those commands where possible.

This isn’t just limited to smartphones but it works with any device that has an always-on voice assistant software running on it. For example the researchers managed to test it out on a MacBook and an Audi Q3 where they managed to get the car’s navigation system redirected to a new location.

However there is a potential fix and that is all companies need to do is tell their voice assistants to ignore commands that are speaking at 20kHz by using a digital audio filter, although the researchers suggest that in theory, the reason this hasn’t been done is because maybe the voice analyzing software needs every bit of your voice in order to parse the commands. In any case we can only hope that with this knowledge being public that these tech companies will try to come up with some kind of fix for it.

Researchers Demonstrate ‘Dolphin Attack’ That Targets Digital Voice Assistants , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Alexa Now Recommends Third-Party Skills If It Can’t Get The Job Done

Tyler Lee September 6, 2017

Amazon’s Alexa is a highly capable voice assistant, and while it has access to thousands of different skills, users will actually have to choose which skills they want to use and enable them accordingly. This means that if you do not have certain skills enabled, you won’t be able to use them.

This can sometimes lead to the wrong impression that Alexa isn’t capable of doing something, but Amazon wants to change that because in a recently launched feature, Amazon is now allowing Alexa to actually make recommendations for skills for things that it isn’t able to do, and point users towards the right direction.

In a statement made to TechCrunch, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed the new feature and said, “Currently, in limited scenarios, Alexa will respond to certain questions by suggesting skills that may be helpful. We are excited for this feature to expand and to roll out to more customers over time to help them discover new skills and get information through Alexa.”

This feature was initially discovered by Voicebot when they asked Alexa a question related to a stock price to which she did not know the answer to, and Alexa responded by saying, “I don’t know that. Maybe the skill Stock Prices by Opening Bell can help. Do you want to try it?” While it’s not exactly a groundbreaking new feature, it does help to make Alexa more useful and help users discover new skills in the future moving forwards.

Alexa Now Recommends Third-Party Skills If It Can’t Get The Job Done , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Bragi Dash To Get Amazon’s Alexa In Upcoming Software Update

Tyler Lee September 1, 2017

#IFA2017 – Thanks to Amazon making Alexa almost immediately available to third-party developers right out of the door, it has helped spur the creation of a host of devices that are integrating Alexa support into them, such as speakers, smartphones, and even headphones, which is the case for Bragi.

During IFA 2017, the company announced that their Bragi Dash headphones will be getting a software update later this year which will introduce Amazon Alexa integration into them. Basically what this means is that using the headphones and the built-in microphone, users will be able to activate Alexa via voice commands and have access to the thousands of Alexa skills that are currently available, such as being able to control certain smart home devices, calling for an Uber, ordering a pizza, asking for the news or weather, and so on.

Bragi’s headphones are definitely not the first set of headphones to receive Alexa integration, but it definitely seems to be pointing towards a trend in which we are starting to see more headphone makers try to make their headphones more functional beyond just being able to playback audio.

In fact recent reports have even suggested that Google could be making their own pair of headphones that will feature Google Assistant integration, although whether or not the reports are true remains to be seen.

Bragi Dash To Get Amazon’s Alexa In Upcoming Software Update , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Harman Kardon Allure Alexa Speakers Launched

Tyler Lee August 31, 2017

#IFA2017 – There are a few Alexa-powered speakers available in the market today, but in case you’re shopping about for more alternatives, you might be interested to learn that Harman Kardon has recently taken the wraps off their latest set of speakers called the Harman Kardon Allure.

As you can see from the design, it seems that the Allure will be retaining some of the design language of Harman Kardon’s iconic SoundSticks speakers. However one of the main differences is that the Allure comes with Alexa integration, so users can use their voice to command the speaker and the AI to do tasks for them, like call them an Uber, read the news, order a pizza, and so on.

The speakers themselves will be able to radiate 360-degree sound, so placing it in the middle of the room should allow the sound to fill up to the room without any issue. There is also 360-degree ambient lighting so if you wanted a set of speakers that can also double as furniture, then the Allure’s lighting should help with that. The Allure is also wireless and will pair with devices via Bluetooth.

If these speakers sound like something you’d like to put in your home, then they will be available this coming winter for $249.95.

Harman Kardon Allure Alexa Speakers Launched , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Microsoft And Amazon Have Integrated Cortana And Alexa

Adnan Farooqui August 30, 2017

Major tech companies like Microsoft and Apple have created their own artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistants. It’s not common for rival assistants to play nice with each other but the relationship between Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa will be cordial. The two companies have partnered to better integrate their own digital assistants.

The companies today announced that Cortana will be able to talk to Alexa and vice versa. Users can turn on their Echo device and say “Alexa, open Cortana” or use their Windows 10 device and say “Cortana, open Alexa.”

Alexa customers will get access to Cortana’s features like the ability to book a meeting or access work calendars. Cortana users will be able to use Alex to control their smart home devices, shop on Amazon, and interact with more than 20,000 skills that developers have created for Echo.

“Ensuring Cortana is available for our customers everywhere and across any device is a key priority for us,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, adding that bringing Cortana’s knowledge, Office 365 integration, and more to Alexa is a big step towards that goal.

It seems that Microsoft and Alexa have simply created skills on their platforms to enable this basic form of integration between their virtual assistants. Nobody was expecting the companies to make this move but now that they have, it’s not like customers will ever complain about having more functionality.

Microsoft And Amazon Have Integrated Cortana And Alexa , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Amazon To Start Paying More Developers Who Create Alexa Skills

Tyler Lee August 18, 2017

One of the great things about Amazon’s Alexa is that it is open to third-party developers, which means that Amazon won’t have to work so hard to increase its functionality as this can be done by third-party developers, who have in the past come up with a variety of skills that Alexa can use, like hailing you an Uber, order a pizza, and so on.

Now it looks like Amazon wants to step things up a bit by encouraging more developers to come on board, or to encourage existing ones to create more skills because according to a report from TechCrunch, Amazon is apparently starting to pay more developers for creating Alexa skills that are popular.

This initiative is confirmed on Amazon’s website which reads, “Every month, developers can earn money for eligible skills that drive some of the highest customer engagement. We’ve expanded the eligible skill categories beyond Games, Trivia & Accessories to also include: Education & Reference; Food & Drink; Health & Fitness; Lifestyle; Music & Audio; and Productivity.”

Unfortunately there is no mention of the specifics like how much one can get paid, what kind of rates Amazon is using, or any kind of metrics for that matter. According to Amazon, payment is based on customer engagement, which once again seems rather vague as Amazon is basing this on various factors, so it seems that for now developers will just have to create skills and hope that they get chosen.

Amazon To Start Paying More Developers Who Create Alexa Skills , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 & MEGABOOM Gain Alexa Support

Tyler Lee August 16, 2017

Smart speakers such as Amazon’s Echo series seem to be the rage these days, but what if you’re something of an audiophile who also wants some smarts in their speaker? While the Echo devices run fine, we wouldn’t exactly call its sound amazing, but the good news is that you now have more options to choose from.

Ultimate Ears has recently announced that its BOOM 2 and MEGABOOM Bluetooth speakers have been updated where it will now support Amazon’s Alexa AI. This means that if you wanted to, you could use your voice to control the speaker or to do other things that Alexa normally would, such as schedule your appointments, set reminders, call an Uber, order a pizza, and so on.

Essentially this turns the speakers into an Echo-like device, except that with potentially better audio quality, or with other features that you might appreciate from the BOOM 2 or MEGABOOM. Now in order to get Alexa onto the speakers, you will have to update the UE BOOM app.

At the moment it seems that support for Alexa is only available for Android devices, so for iOS users who own either device, you guys are out of luck for now, although we guess with the HomePod expected to launch soon, you will have some alternatives in the future.

Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 & MEGABOOM Gain Alexa Support , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.


Anker’s Alexa Speaker Is A Cheaper Echo Dot

Adnan Farooqui August 9, 2017

The Echo Dot is the cheapest Alexa-powered device that Amazon will sell you. If you’ve always wanted one but have found it to be a bit more expensive than you’d want it to be, then you’re going to like what Anker has to offer. Anker, a well known affordable accessory manufacturer, has made a new Alexa-powered smart speaker that’s essentially a cheaper version of the Echo Dot.

The Anker Eufy Genie, yes that’s what it’s calling the tiny speaker, is a cheaper version of the Echo Dot. Amazon’s device costs $50 while Anker is going to sell the Eufy Genie for $35. Anker says that the Eufy Genie provides a better audio experience than the Echo Dot.

Since it’s powered by Alexa, it offers similar functionality, since Alexa has more than 15,000 Skills that it can now lean on to get things done for users. Alexa’s abilities include controlling smart home objects, streaming music, reading out the news, hailing an Uber, and more.

Anker has announced the Eufy Genie today but it’s not going to start shipping the $35 smart speaker until August 16th. The company is also going to release a $40 version of the speaker later which will have Bluetooth support.

This will enable users to hook it up to external speakers. That’s going to come in handy when users want to stream music in more rooms simultaneously.

Anker’s Alexa Speaker Is A Cheaper Echo Dot , original content from Ubergizmo. Read our Copyrights and terms of use.

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