Amazon Alexa: The voice behind the smartspeaker devices
Voice-assistant technology is revolutionizing the way we interact with our environments.
One major player in this space is Amazon Alexa, Amazon’s virtual voice assistant that can answer your questions and help you manage your smart home. Alexa stands shoulder to shoulder with other industry leaders like Apple’s Siri.
Amazon offers Alexa at no cost.
What can Alexa do?
Alexa is a versatile tool that helps users manage tasks like manipulating lights and thermostats, orchestrating daily schedules, playing music, setting alarms, checking the weather, or keeping up with the latest sports scores.
Other smart products and apps integrate with Alexa, which means you can send them commands using your voice.
To get Alexa’s attention, you need to preface any question or command with the “wake word,” which by default is “Alexa.” An example of an Alexa command is “Alexa, set a 30-minute timer.”
With so many ways to use Alexa, no two people may have quite the same experience with the virtual assistant.
Users can readily access Alexa via the Android or iOS smartphone apps – available in most App Stores. There’s also an array of dedicated devices. The best Amazon Alexa device currently available is the 4th-generation Amazon Echo.
Can I play music on Alexa for free?
Users can stream music, podcasts, and other audio using Alexa from popular platforms like SiriusXM, Spotify, and Amazon’s Amazon Music.
You may need to pay for the app or platform you’re streaming from. Spotify, for example, has both a free version and a paid subscription.
Amazon Prime members get access to the extensive library of Amazon Music Prime at no extra charge.
Amazon Audible is also available to stream via Alexa, giving users access to audiobook titles.
With the latest Echo smart speakers, it’s possible to leverage multiple devices and get synchronized playback across different rooms of your house.
Is Amazon’s Alexa successful?
While Alexa once led the smart speaker sector, its market share is down from an overwhelming 93% in 2016 to just over 28% in 2022, data from Statista shows. This softening can be attributed to an increasingly competitive market and the diversification of options available to consumers.
Amazon plans to reboot the Alexa business by working on its own ChatGPT-like technology, according to a leaked document.
Dave Johnson contributed to this report.
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