Amazon's Alexa Gets Expanded Calendar Support and Tap Speaker Hands-Free Mode

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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."

alexa family shot copy
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

thasan Avatar
50 months ago
While siri gets "batman" support. What a mess Apple is making with siri :(
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maflynn Avatar
50 months ago
I have to say this is very un-apple like. They're the ones in the past to see the potential of an existing device and produce something that no one else thought to do. Given how well Alexa, Google Now and Cortana is, its disappointing to see Apple so far behind

I have an Amazon dot, though I haven't unboxed it yet. I'll probably do that shortly and see how it works
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DaveTheRave Avatar
50 months ago
Oh boy. Meanwhile Apple innovates with "Planet of the Apps". Go get em, Apple! LMAO!
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Glassed Silver Avatar
50 months ago
I habe the Dot and Lord Almighty let me tell you the language recognition from the few days of testing I've had so far with it is really good.

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.

Glassed Silver:ios
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
itsvdiddy Avatar
50 months ago

While siri gets "batman" support. What a mess Apple is making with siri :(

Our household uses our Dot everyday. It's integrated with my lights and my TV/AppleTV and we use it to play all our music inside our house.

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.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheHammer Avatar
50 months ago
Apple really need to release their alternative soon. And not charge the world for it. So yeah no luck
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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