Alexa Now Handles Follow-Up Requests and Makes Calls on Tablets
Amazon has updated Alexa with several new powers that make it a more usable and fully-rounded voice assistant. First, Alexa gains a "Follow-Up Mode" that makes interacting with the assistant more natural. Once enabled, Alexa will listen for 5 seconds after completing an exchange for follow-up requests. The idea is to negate the need to repeatedly use the "Alexa" or "Echo" wake phrases. People will be able to wake an Echo device once, complete an interaction, and then immediately follow it up with a second request/interaction without using the wake phrase again. According to CNET, the blue ring on Echo devices will remain illuminated during this 5-second listening period. If no request is made, the Echo device will go back to sleep. Separately, TechCrunch reports that Amazon has brought Alexa voice calling to iPads, Android tablets, and Amazon-branded fire tablets. Alexa on Echo devices has been able to place voice calls for several months. Tablet owners can now initiate voice/video calls and send messages with Alexa on the slate of their choice. Amazon Fire tablets further gain the ability to act as intercoms, called Drop-In Mode, for talking to other Fire devices on the same WiFi network. Both Follow-Up Mode and voice calling on tablets need to be activated within the latest version of the Alexa app on mobile devices.
AT&T Customers Will Be Able to Send Text Messages via Amazon Echo
Nov 17, 2016
The AT&T Send Message Skill, set to be made available on November 19, will let AT&T customers send text messages by asking their Amazon Echo to do it for them. The skill we be added to the Amazon Alexa application (for Android and iOS).
Amazon Adds Alexa AI to iPhone Shopping App
Mar 16, 2017
Amazon today made Alexa, its artificial intelligence, available to a much wider selection of devices by adding Alexa to its iOS mobile shopping application. Now any iPhone with the Amazon app aboard has access to Alexa, allowing people to search for and buy goods simply by asking Alexa for it.
Apple Says iOS 12 Will Be Faster, Work Better On Older iPhones
Jun 4, 2018
Apple today announced iOS 12, its next-generation platform for the iPhone and iPad. Apple says it spent time improving the performance of the operating system, which in claims will work well on iPhones and iPads that went on sale as far back as 2013.
Google Assistant Lets Device Makers Create Custom Actions
Mar 9, 2018
Google today introduced new Custom Device Actions for Google Assistant that will give devices native functionality specific to their hardware. Custom Device Actions build on the Assistant's existing Actions tool for issuing specific commands.