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Apple Working on Amazon Echo Competitor, Opening Siri Up to Developers

Apple is actively developing a product that would compete with the Amazon Echo and Google Home, reports The Information. Citing a source with direct knowledge of Apple's plans, the report suggests Apple is working on a Siri-based device that would include a speaker and microphone that could be used for features like listening to music, getting news headlines, and more. In addition to developing such a device, Apple is planning to improve Siri by opening the voice assistant up to outside developers. Apple is said to be preparing to release a Siri software development kit that would allow developers to make their apps and their app content accessible through Siri voice commands. Apple plans to require developers to use the tool responsibly. Opening Siri up to third-party developers will go a long way towards expanding the capabilities of Apple's virtual assistant. Right now, Siri only works with a handful of apps like OpenTable and Yelp, and Apple has been hesitant to develop a Siri API and improve Siri's functionality because of privacy concerns. According to The Information, a Siri SDK could be introduced as soon as WWDC, meaning third-party Siri access would be built into iOS 10 and perhaps OS X 10.12, which is also rumored to be gaining Siri support. Both Amazon and Google have developed robust in-home personal assistant devices built around their respective AI platforms, which Apple hopes to compete with. The products are able to perform a wide range of features, from giving weather reports and answering queries to controlling smart home devices like light

Google Set to Announce Amazon Echo Rival, Codenamed 'Chirp'

Google is working on a standalone hardware device that will integrate the company's search and voice assistant technology, reports Recode. According to sources, the product is said to be similar to Google's smart home enabled OnHub wireless router and is set to compete against the likes of Amazon's Echo. OnHub wireless router (Image: Google) Google declined to comment on the rumor, but the project, said to be known internally as 'Chirp', is expected to be officially announced at next week's Google I/O developer conference, where voice search and intelligent personal assistance are to take center stage alongside the company's latest forays into virtual reality. In 2014, Google acquired connected device company Nest, which reportedly had its own designs for an Echo competitor running Google's search technology, but scrapped the plans because of concerns over consumer privacy. After launching the Echo over a year ago, Amazon announced in March two new additions to its lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company's personal assistant, Alexa.

Amazon Expands Echo Family With 'Amazon Tap' and 'Echo Dot'

After launching the Echo over a year ago, today Amazon announced two new additions to the lineup of voice-controlled smart hubs that house the company's personal assistant Alexa. Users will now be able to purchase a more portable version of Echo with Amazon Tap, and even expand the device's power into other rooms with Echo Dot. The $130 Amazon Tap is a more rugged, pick-up-and-go alternative to the original Echo, housing built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the company's Alexa operating system. Instead of interacting with Alexa through always-on functionality, Amazon Tap requires users to tap the microphone button on the front of the speaker to access the service's voice commands. If connected to Wi-Fi or a mobile hotspot, users will be able to gain access to all of the normal, cloud-based features the Echo grants at home. Amazon Tap TechCrunch got a brief hands-on demo of Amazon Tap and came away largely satisfied with its sound quality and battery life: Amazon demonstrated the sound quality to me before Tap went out today and I can say it did provide an impressive musical experience. Duel-firing Dolby speakers enable Tap to provide rich, 360-degree quality sound. It’s also meant to tote around and comes with a pretty solid battery life for that purpose. A fully charged Tap will last for up to nine hours of playback or three weeks in standby mode. Alternatively, Amazon also has created a new household expansion to Echo with Echo Dot. The small, palm-sized device will let users expand the capabilities of Echo to different rooms of their house for $90, or half of