Amazon Echo


'Amazon Echo' Articles

Google's Echo Rival is a 'Dressed-up' Version of Chromecast

Last month, Google announced plans for its upcoming Amazon Echo rival, Google Home, a Wi-Fi enabled personal assistant that enables people to ask Google search queries, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. Yesterday, a few more details emerged about Google Home, which will potentially go directly up against the smart device Apple is rumored to be working on. According to technology news site The Information, Google Home will share many of the hardware components of the company's popular internet-connected TV streaming device, Chromecast, relying on the same dual-core ARM-based microprocessor, 4GB of RAM, and a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip. The similarities are apparently so close between the two devices because the same team responsible for the Chromecast headed up development of the Google Home. As a result, it is being described as "dressed-up version" of the company's existing device, with the addition of a microphone, speaker, plastic top with LED lights, and a fabric or metal bottom.  The Home is also expected to run the same Linux-based OS used on the Chromecast, though Google has discussed powering future versions with its Android mobile platform.  The upshot of all this is that the device could be extremely inexpensive to produce, given that the Chromecast currently sells at $35. That would mean Google being able to significantly undercut the $179 Amazon Echo. Notably, the Chromecast is also one of Google's most successful hardware products, selling 3 million units in the

Apple May Introduce Next-Gen Natural Language API in its Amazon Echo Competitor

Last week we reported that Apple is said to be readying an Amazon Echo competitor that could be used in the home for features like listening to music, asking for information and getting news headlines. The product is thought to include a camera with facial recognition capabilities and said to learn over time about its users, which interact with the device via an enhanced version of Siri. Meanwhile, Apple's virtual assistant is expected to be opened up to outside developers via a soon-to-be-released software development kit in order to facilitate this integration. Now, Tech Insider claims that a natural language outfit bought by Apple late last year could play a central part in the company's plans for the upcoming smart home device. In October 2015, Apple acquired VocalIQ, a UK-based startup that had spent the last 10 years researching natural language, belief tracking, decision making, and message generation, in an attempt to develop a next-generation natural language API. Speculation at the time suggested Apple hoped to use the technology in its car project, codenamed "Titan". However, according to a source familiar with VocalIQ's technology who spoke to Tech Insider, Apple is likely to introduce the API in its Echo competitor because of its ability to go beyond the "session-based" contextual responses touted by the likes of Viv. VocalIQ achieves this feat by retaining semantic context between conversations and permanently remembering the preferences of its users. Apparently the company had been testing VocalIQ against Siri, Google Now, and Cortana,

Apple's Amazon Echo Competitor Could Feature Camera, Facial Recognition

Apple's rumored product designed to compete with the Amazon Echo could come equipped with a camera and facial recognition capabilities, reports CNET. Citing sources with knowledge of Apple's plans, CNET says the device would be "self aware," able to detect the people in the room through facial recognition technology. Once the device determines who is in the room, that information could be used to pull up each person's preferences, "such as the music and lighting they like," allowing for a customized interactive experience for each member of the home. Facial recognition is something Apple has previously expressed interest in, both through patent filings and acquisitions. News of Apple's work on an Amazon Echo competitor first surfaced earlier this week, when The Information reported such a device was under development. The Amazon Echo is an in-home personal assistant device that features a built-in speaker and a robust artificial intelligence system, and a product from Apple would likely be similar, with AI capabilities based on Siri along with its own speaker and microphone. It is not clear what form Apple's in-home hub will take. While The Information's report suggested it was a standalone hardware product, a second report from VentureBeat has said Apple will built the Echo-like features into a next-generation Apple TV. Apple is laying the groundwork for a robust in-home AI-powered product through its work on Siri, and major Siri improvements could come in iOS 10. Apple is said to be preparing to release a Siri SDK, which would make the personal assistant

Apple's Rumored Amazon Echo Competitor Could Be a Next-Generation Apple TV

Earlier this week, The Information said Apple was actively developing an in-home hub that would compete with the Amazon Echo and the Google Home, and now VentureBeat has shared new details on the product and its prospective features. Citing an unnamed source, VentureBeat says rather than developing a new product, Apple could add Echo-like features to a revamped version of the Apple TV. The Amazon Echo, for those unfamiliar, is an in-home personal assistant device with a built-in speaker and a robust AI system. The Echo is able to perform a wide range of functions, from giving weather reports and answering queries to controlling smart home devices. A future version of the Apple TV may gain a dedicated microphone and speaker, along with deeper Siri integration to allow it to function like the Echo. Processing queries and serving up results is said to require additional computing infrastructure, which Apple is working on. It is not clear what extra computing infrastructure is needed as the fourth-generation Apple TV includes the same A8 processor that was used in the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, two devices more than capable of processing Siri inquiries.The company will build on its enhancements to the Apple TV announced last year, which brought the Siri virtual assistant to the set-top box. A new version of the Apple TV will solve problems with the existing box and remote control, a source familiar with the matter claims. "They want Apple TV to be just the hub of everything," the source told VentureBeat.Apple reportedly considered several options, ranging from a

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