After a planned Amazon - Microsoft initiative to integrate their respective Alexa and Cortana digital assistants put Alexa onto PCs by the end of 2017 failed to happen, Amazon is going ahead down an alternative route to make Alexa available on PCs by partnering with manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Lenovo and HP. Manufacturers have mentioned that they will use Intel's Smart sound an integrated audio DSP (Digital Signal Processor) built to handle audio, voice, and speech interactions to pick up the Alexa wake word. Folks shouldn't be surprised to find out, then, that Amazon's been shopping for new places to integrate its popular digital assistant Alexa.
The list of devices that will work with Alexa is likely to be substantial. Several OEMs, including Bose, Jabra, iHome, Beyerdynamic, Bowers and Wilkins are already working on voice-controlled Alexa experiences on their products and device makers are invited to signup to be notified when the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit is made available later this year. Other companies will also be launching their Alexa enable PCs and Laptops later this year.
Amazon's voice assistant is coming to PCs during the first quarter, starting with machines from Acer.
It will have some of the visual display elements from the Echo Show as a taskbar pop up, but it won't be a full service - not at launch at least - one of the big draws - smart home control - will be missing. As a result, these companies are investing heavily in voice technology and are increasingly debuting products like Google and its Google Home speakers that use voice assistants to do things like play certain songs when asked.
"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", Amazon Alexa vice president Steve Rabuchin said in a statement.
As of mid-December, Amazon was said to have a roster of an estimated 25,000 Alexa skills, while Cortana was said to be on 230.
READ NEXT:Starry Internet to expand wireless broadband service this month Windows PCs are a logical next step for Amazon's rapidly expanding Alexa. However, it means more competition for contenders Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana, the latter of which could be facing an early grave.