Amazon has silently updated its Alexa assistant to include Outlook.com calendar support, reports The Verge.
Amazon's Echo family of connected smart speakers have always supported Google calendars, but now Outlook users can ask Alexa to add or review upcoming events in their schedule using voice commands like "What's on my calendar?" or "Add an event to my calendar."
Outlook.com calendars can be added via the iOS Alexa app under Settings -> Calendar, which will activate the support on any connected Alexa-powered devices. Alexa still doesn't officially offer support for Apple Calendar, but a basic skill has recently been developed and made available on Github that allows the assistant to read upcoming events from the native Apple app.
In related news, Amazon has added hands-free Alexa support to its Tap portable speakers via an over-the-air software update. Originally, Amazon Tap users wishing to activate Alexa had to press a physical button on the Bluetooth speakers, but the latest update means Alexa can now be invoked via voice alone.
Amazon says that even with the hands-free function, Tap speakers should retain about eight hours of battery life, while the "listening" mode of the devices can be put to sleep with a press of the power button. Tap speakers now also support Amazon's "echo spatial perception", which enables the closest Alexa device to respond to commands when two or more are in proximity.
Top Rated Comments
I have an Amazon dot, though I haven't unboxed it yet. I'll probably do that shortly and see how it works
It certainly isn't perfect either, but it was Apple who had (or bought) the headstart here and then totally fell asleep hoping a slightly pimped voice commands alla iOS 6 with internet dependency and very little real-world enhancements would cut it, at least with the competitors you can see the progress being made and having a stationary device that has its volume controls set independently from whatever you set for late-night video playback etc is more convenience than one might imagine.
Too bad I can't use my iCloud services with Alexa, but I'm still hoping that Apple is merely late to catch the train and not boarding another station.
Cause one thing's for sure, with all the flack I'll give Apple, they got the upper hand in the privacy game and whilst I'm willing to use Google and Amazon to great extends I am glad I can freely pick whatever I'm willing to share with which company. Well at least for the most part, you guys know what I mean.
Apple has absolutely dropped the ball on this. I still have some hope because Apple's 3rd party ecosystem being amassed with Siri integration would immediately make it a contender from a "skill"/usefulness perspective, but Siri's voice recognition, language processing and accuracy need a lot of work. Amazon is eating their lunch from a consumer product perspective and Google Now is showing what's possible with their language processing.