Even if you don’t own a device amazon echoyou have almost certainly heard the name of your virtual voice assistant, Alexa. Alexa has become so embedded in popular culture that she is routinely referenced on late-night talk shows and primetime television.
alexa is the software that runs at the core of each Amazon Echo devicefrom the miniature speaker known as the Echo Dot to the large touchscreen Echo Show 8, plus more unusual devices like the Echo Auto.
In fact, Alexa support is also built into many smart home products from other companies. Facebook Portal+ and Portal Go, for example, are primarily designed to enable Facebook Messenger video chats, but they also have Alexa built in.
Here’s an overview of what Alexa can do and what devices you can find it on.
What can Alexa do?
Alexa is an “intelligent” virtual voice assistant, which means that understands your voice and responds to questions and commands with own voice.
Using simple commands in English (or about eight other languages and half a dozen dialects for non-English speakers), you can ask Alexa to do a lot of housework such as setting timers, telling the time, reading the weather and news, smartly controlling home devices, playing music, and telling jokes. Plus, you can ask knowledge questions that Alexa will research online.
To get Alexa’s attention, you must prepend any question or command with the “wake word”, which defaults to “Alexa”, but can be one of several other options, such as “computer”, “Amazon” or “Echo”. “.
A lot of other smart products integrate with Alexa, which means that you can send commands to them using your voice.
What can the Amazon Echo do?
In the Amazon Echo family of devices, primarily speakers and smart displays, Alexa is the voice-based interface that is mainly used to control it.
Quick tip: Most of Alexa’s intelligence comes from a permanent connection to the Internet. If your Echo device loses its WiFi connection or your Internet access is offline, Alexa will not be able to respond to commands or answer questions.
- Echo Dot (4th generation)
Meanwhile he Amazon Echo was the first speaker powered by Alexa, the Echo dot miniature it’s generally more common because it’s more affordable and smaller in size, but it does the same things as the larger Echo. The hockey puck-shaped third-gen Echo Dot has been replaced by a fabric-covered globe on the fourth-gen model.
Regardless of its size and shape, the Echo Dot is almost exactly the same as the larger Echo; Alexa has the same features and capabilities. The only real difference is that the Echo Dot doesn’t offer the same sound quality, as the Echo has larger audio drivers for better music playback.
For people who want the ability to control Alexa but don’t need high-quality audio to play music in a particular room, the Echo Flex is a inexpensive device that can meet this need affordably. It is a small device that plugs into an outlet, similar to a plug-in air freshener. It has a microphone for processing voice commands and a very small speaker for responding, as well as a USB input for charging a mobile device.
There have been ongoing rumors in the industry that Amazon is discontinuing the Echo Flex and it hasn’t been available on Amazon for some time. The Echo Dot is likely to replace the Flex as the entry-level Echo device.
- echo study
While the Echo and Echo Dot are the smart speakers most people turn to, depending on the size of your room and the type of audio quality you want, Echo Studio is Amazon’s high-end smart speaker with premium audio components. It features five full-range speakers and supports Dolby Atmos 3D audio that can simulate surround sound.
Like the other Echo speakers, the Echo Studio doesn’t offer any extra capabilities compared to the standard Echo, aside from improved audio quality. However, for the best audio quality, it can be combined with a separate wireless subwoofer.
- echo show
Unlike Echo devices, the product family Echo Show are smart screenss: Combine Alexa software with a touch screen and sit on a counter or desk. That means the Echo Show (available in various sizes from five to 15 inches) is optimized for tasks like showing photo slideshows, playing videos and making video calls. The Echo Show 5, for example, is a good size for the kitchen, where it can help with meals by playing cooking videos.
The Echo Show has a handful of smart features not found on other devices. Setup is easier, for example, because you can do all the initial setup on the touch screen and not use the Alexa mobile app. And the Echo Show 10 is mounted on a motorized stand that allows the screen to rotate to follow you around the room during a video call.
- Echo Auto
As the name suggests, Echo Auto adds Alexa to your car. It is a small and slim rectangular device with integrated microphones designed to listen to voice commands while driving despite road and car noise. It connects to your car’s sound system via AUX cable or Bluetooth and receives power from the car’s cigarette lighter port. Finally, It connects to the internet through a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone.
This allows you to send questions and commands to Alexa while driving. You get the same standard capabilities as with an Echo speaker at home, including the ability to remotely operate smart home devices from the road.
Apps, services and products that work with Alexa
As mentioned earlier in the article, Alexa works with a variety of apps, services, and other products. Amazon has built a huge platform for Alexa that puts Alexa-powered products at the center of almost any smart home.
According to Statista, in 2020 there were more than 100,000 products that had the “Works with Alexa” logo. Common products include smart lights, smart alarm systems and door locks, smart kitchen appliances, televisions, speaker systems, and more. Similarly, Alexa integrates with services like streaming music apps – Spotify and Pandora are two obvious examples.
Additionally, companies and third-party developers can create custom Alexa skills. Users can easily enable these skills, adding them to the Alexa feature set as well. There are over 100,000 of these additional abilities.
With so many ways to use Alexa, no two people will have the same virtual assistant experience. The common commands include:
- Alexa, wake me up at 7 am tomorrow.
- Alexa, tell me the news.
- Alexa, set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Alexa, what’s on my calendar today?
- Alexa, put on the Beatles.
- Alexa, what’s the weather like?
- Alexa, tell me a joke.
quick tipNote: Some products are advertised as “Works with Alexa”, while others have “Alexa built in”. Works with Alexa products are smart home devices that can be commanded by Alexa, such as smart lights and security systems. Devices with Alexa built-in, like the Echo and Echo Show, come with the Alexa virtual voice assistant and can answer questions and commands directed at Amazon Echo’s Alexa.
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