New "Brief Mode" for Alexa will keep her quiet after your request

Sure, virtual assistant Alexa is very helpful on the Amazon Echo smart speakers. All you need to do is say “Alexa…,” and complete your inquiry or task. But she also can be a migraine trigger. Ask Alexa to turn on or off a smart appliance and she will say “Okay” before completing the task. Ask her to play a song, and she repeats the title and the name of the artist before fetching the tune for you.

If hearing her confirm your request is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, we can tell you that the tool to silence Alexa is rolling out right now to the iOS version of the Alexa app. “Brief …

Alexa is down; this is a not an ad (UPDATE: Verizon down too)

During the Super Bowl, Amazon ran an ad for its virtual personal assistant Alexa that showed various guest celebrities taking over after she became ill and lost her voice. Among those pinch hitting for Alexa in the ad were Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson and Anthony Hopkins. But that was all make believe. Today, Alexa really is down with some inquiries receiving delayed responses, and some not being answered at all.

Turning to, we can see that problems with Alexa were first reported around 9:39 am EST, and peaked at 1,099 complaints. 53% said that the problem was the lack of …

Essential launches Halo Gray phone with Amazon Alexa built in

Just one day after unveiling three fresh color variants of the Essential Phone, Essential today announced yet another new version of the handset. Called Halo Gray, the new model is unique because it comes with Amazon Alexa built in – thus offering an alternative to Google Assistant (the virtual assistant that’s already available on all other color variants of the Essential Phone).  
The Halo Gray Essential Phone – pictured above and below – doesn’t seem to be too different from the Stellar Gray model unveiled yesterday. According to Essential, the design …

Amazon has a way to prevent Echo units from responding to its Alexa ad during the Super Bowl

Amazon’s Alexa-based commercial for the Super Bowl is all about the company finding replacements when Alexa loses her voice. Somehow, we can’t see Gordon Ramsay, Cardi B, Rebel Wilson or Anthony Hopkins becoming the voice of Amazon’s personal virtual assistant. But there is something that Amazon had to concern itself with related to the ad. According to one count, the name Alexa is said ten times during the 90 second commercial, and Amazon was worried that the spot would accidentally set off Echo units positioned near television sets worldwide during this Sunday’s global Super Bowl broadcast.

There …

Who ends up replacing Alexa? The complete Super Bowl ad is right here!

Last month, we showed you a teaser for Amazon’s Super Bowl ad. As you recall, Alexa had lost her voice and Amazon founder, CEO and richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, had agreed to a plan to replace her. But who ended up getting the gig? That is revealed in the complete version of the commercial, which you can view by clicking on the video at the top of this story. The first 15 seconds repeats the teaser, and from that point on, the content is brand new.

The first new scene takes place in the kitchen of a man who asks Alexa how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. Since Alexa has …

Amazon denies it has a ban on Alexa skills referencing Google

Amazon and Google are numbers one and two, respectively, in smart speaker market share worldwide. Amazon has a wide lead over Google at the moment, not surprising since the company did create the category after all. Google, for the moment, is the competitor that Amazon is most losing sleep over. In fact, Amazon seems to be quite sensitive about Google’s success with its Home line of smart speakers. For example, an Amazon employee hinted that developers are prohibited from submitting skills for Alexa that mention the Google name.

Similar to an app on a smartphone, enabling a skill for Alexa …

Alexa loses her voice in Amazon's Super Bowl ad teaser

What would be the worst thing that could happen to Amazon founder/Chairman/CEO Jeff Bezos? Besides Amazon’s shares crashing down to single digits, that is. Well, Amazon’s virtual personal assistant Alexa could lose her voice. And that is what happens in a teaser video that Amazon has posted for its Super Bowl ad. The teaser opens with a woman brushing her teeth in the bathroom, casually asking her Echo what the weather is like in Austin, Texas. At first, everything seems fine as Alexa reports that it is 60 degrees in the city. But all of a sudden, she starts coughing. Alexa has lost her …

Amazon brings Alexa to your smartphone, but it won't replace your smart speaker

Amazon isn’t making it easier for Google to monopolize the personal digital assistant market. The US giant has just rolled out a small but important update to the Alexa app for Android devices.

The update enables the vocal commands for the Alexa app, which was a mere tool to manage settings for the Echo smart speaker and other similar devices until now. With the latest version of Alexa, Android users will be able to speak to their smartphones and trigger Alexa skills, play music or even send messages.

However, you can only take advantage of voice commands if the Alexa application …

Harman Kardon announces the exquisite Allure Portable smart speaker with Alexa

Harman Kardon, a well-known company that dabbles in the audio and visual technology, has just announced yet another premium product, a follow-up to the Allure smart speaker that was announced at IFA 2017, only this one is portable.

The new Harman Kardon Allure Portable will be available for purchase starting this spring for $199, $50 cheaper than its regular brother. Customers will be able to get one via Amazon or Harman Kardon’s online store.

It’s powered by Alexa, which features more than 20,000 skills, but since Amazon is adding new ones every month, it’s probably going to have …

Google declares war against Alexa and Siri at CES 2018


It’s an artificial intelligence showdown.

This year at CES, the world’s largest electronics trade show (running Jan. 9-12), thousands of companies will travel to Las Vegas to show off their newest products and build new partnerships. But this time around, one exhibitor stands out from the rest: Google.

It’s the first time in many years that Google will have its own, large, standalone booth in the middle of the convention center. But the search giant has gone far beyond buying space on the showroom floor. It’s also commissioned several large advertisements around the city, including one you simply can’t miss. Read more…

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