IT&Software

Asus adds a handful of laptops to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem

Asus adds a handful of laptops to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem

Amazon's voice-activated assistant Alexa is coming to several laptop and desktop computers sold by HP Inc., Asus, and Acer. Lenovo, Asus, and Acer also reportedly plan to bring Alexa to a series of Windows 10 laptops and desktops.

The Alexa app will be supported by devices with far-field microphones, meaning they will have a performance on par with that of separate devices.

Since the PC runs on Windows 10, the Pavilion Wave will be able to speak with Microsoft's AI assistant Cortana. Acer dished out the news and some supported product lines (including Aspire, Spin, Switch, and Swift notebooks, plus its all-in-one PCs) at CES 2018, while tech website Thurrott had the scoop on other products. We have yet to see this concept brought to life, so my money is on the dedicated Alexa app shipping before integration with Cortana becomes a usable feature. The new app will allow users to ask Alexa questions just like they would with an Echo device.

"It's day one for Alexa on PCs and we are excited that PC customers will have access to hands-free Alexa voice capabilities and tens of thousands of skills". Details on ASUS's Alexa integration weren't immediately available.

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Similar to Acer, HP also recently unveiled the Pavilion Wave that is specifically created to offer voice interactions powered by Amazon Alexa.

Amazon and Microsoft said that Alexa and Cortana would be able to talk to each other by the end of the 2017, but the two personal assistants have yet to receive this functionality until today. The tower-like HP Pavilion Wave has Intel Smart Sound Technology that is claimed to deliver 360-degree, multi-directional reflective audio. Alexa's reach isn't necessarily a problem for Amazon, but the company doesn't have the hardware platform advantages that Google does, as Google's Assistant is available to millions of Android users already.

At CES 2018, expect more digital assistant-related announcements from the companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.

The news has come as something of a curveball given that the strategy previously announced had been around integrating Alexa into Cortana and vice versa.