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Thursday, September 26, 2019

Everything Announced at Amazon’s Fall 2019 Devices Event

Amazon Devices Event Fall 2019

Amazon made an avalanche of announcements today during the 2019 Devices Event held at its Seattle headquarters, including countless new features for Alexa and more than a dozen new hardware devices spanning from Alexa-enabled wearables to a smart convection oven.

Here’s a breakdown of everything that happened:

Tons of New Alexa Features and Capabilities

Amazon’s primary concern when discussing Alexa was to eliminate privacy concerns and this included various reminders about steps the company has already taken along with some new features and options:

  • Alexa will soon receive a “home mode” that users can set when they are home to disable the recording of audio or video.
  • If Alexa does something weird, later this year you’ll be able to ask the assistant to explain itself. “Alexa, why did you do that?”
  • Similarly, the assistant will support the utterance: “Alexa, tell me what you heard.”
  • Amazon announced a new opt-in that will enable users to have their voice recordings automatically deleted after certain lengths of time.

The company has also attempted to make Alexa sound more human, aiming for more of a natural cadence instead of the robotic voice currently used. This update launches today, while future changes will bring more “emotive and expressive” capabilities such as a newscaster voice when reading the news. At least one use case for this improved “conversational” tone is that Alexa can be integrated into hardware such as Ring doorbells, and it will essentially be able to answer your door for you.

For bi-lingual households, Alexa is gaining support for understanding multiple languages at the same time courtesy of a multi-lingual mode that includes Spanish and English, Canadian French and English, as well as Indian Hindi and English. Amazon discussed a new monetization scheme coming later this year that will allow users to purchase celebrity voices for $0.99 each. For instance, Alexa can mimic the voice of Samuel L. Jackson—swear words and all.

The voice assistant is also being outfitted with frustration detection so it can detect when you’re becoming frustrated with the device. Likewise, Amazon has put more thought into a providing a frustration-free experience. It has announced a “Certified for Humans” program that guarantees certain products are struggle-free, tinker-free and stress-free to set up and use. The company has established a “non-expert” panel to test gadgets such as smart lights and small appliances.

“Alexa Guard”—the feature that listens for broken glass—is being improved in a couple of ways. First, it’s being added to Routines. So for instance when you say “Alexa, I’m off to work,” the assistant will lock your door, turn on your outside lights and so on. Second, it’s capable of detecting human activity. Alexa will listen for sounds such as footsteps, talking etc. and then send you a text alert.

In a similar vein, two new types of “Alexa Hunches” have been announced. Alexa will have Hunches about Routines that you may want to enable based on your daily habits. If you perform a specific action regularly, Alexa will ask if you’d like to create a Routine. Additionally, the assistant will have Hunches about when things need to be replaced such as batteries for your smart locks or ink for your printer.

Alexa GM

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from How-To Geek https://ift.tt/2lMmlWN

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