Alexa is the Google Assistant’s closest rival. When it was introduced in 2014, it was meant to compete with Siri and Google Now. You can talk to Alexa on many smart home devices as there have been a lot of product and service integrations throughout the years. We can go on and on listing the items that work with Alexa but for now, we will focus on the updates the voice assistant recently received from Amazon. Alexa really gets smarter each month as new features and enhancements are introduced.
The latest monthly roundup for Alexa has been published by Amazon. The company notes the trends that have surfaced in the past few months. In April, questions about cooking have increased. More customers asked in one week compared to during the Thanksgiving week in 2010.
More customers also asked Alexa about the NFL Draft. Interestingly, not many people asked the most common questions: “Alexa, what day is it?” and “What time is it?”.
Amazon presented the Alexa Developer Rewards (ADR) program to more developers as it opened in New Zealand and Australia. The Australia Skill Store has allowed the skill developers to publish and receive royalties based on skill engagement.
Alexa Auto is now available to more car owners including Volkswagen Golf 8 customers in the UK, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. Simply get the Alexa WebApp from the VW Webstore and then enable Alexa. Echo Auto is up for pre-order in Australia. Pioneer is also offering a new line of NEX in-dash receivers with built-in Alexa and these products are ready in Japan, EU, and the US.
New Alexa features have been introduced as well. There’s Drop-In for all your devices, Reminders, Photo sharing and reactions, and Daily Music Pick. Drop-in lets you connect all of your Echo devices into a group conversation. This seems to be the highlight among all other updates.
The Reminders can be given and set on all devices. When someone sends you a photo, you can send “laugh,” “love,”, or “wow” as a reaction. Have Alexa play the “Daily Music Pick” for you to enjoy.
So more developers and manufacturers can apply Alexa on their products, Authorized Test Labs (ATL) for Alexa Built-in devices are now ready. This means more solution providers and device makers can work with the team for testing and certification. Some manufacturers like Lenovo and Sonos also announced new products like the Lenovo Smart Tab M10 FHD Plus (2nd Gen) with Alexa Built-in and the Sonos Arc.