These Acer PCs will get Amazon Alexa starting from Q1 2018

Saul Franklin
January 9, 2018

Amazon's Alexa will soon be available on the latest Windows 10 PCs alongside Microsof't Cortana. Amazon has partnered with a bunch of major desktop makers including HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, all of which plan to integrate Alexa into their next range of Windows 10 computers this year. Some of the offerings that are being showcased at CES 2018 in Las Vegas will come with pre-installed Alexa app. Amazon and Microsoft partnered in August previous year to let Cortana and Alexa work together.

Acer's new Windows devices such as the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5 come with Acer Purified.Voice technology that has four digital microphones supporting far-field voice recognition from up to nine feet (2.74 m) away, while other devices with dual microphones will be able to activate Alexa within three feet (0.91 m). The irony is that this Alexa integration in Windows 10 PCs will compete directly with Microsoft's built-in Cortana which is arguably not almost as widespread as Alexa, Siri and even Google Assistant.

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.

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People can use Alexa on their computers, for example, to check their online calendars, play music or podcasts, and control Internet-connected devices like lights and thermostats in their homes, Acer said. In addition, the newly announced Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit will give devs new way to bring Alexa to portable, on-the-go devices such as headphones, smart watches and fitness devices.

Similar to Acer, HP also recently unveiled the Pavilion Wave that is specifically created to offer voice interactions powered by Amazon Alexa. With the PC integrations, Amazon is moving Alexa onto Microsoft's turf at a time when the two Seattle-area companies are separately working to make Alexa and Cortana work together. For example, ask about the weather and Alexa may both show you and tell you about the weather. Instead Bluetooth devices will connect directly to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) via the Amazon Alexa App (for Android and iOS) on the customer's mobile device.

Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business of Acer Inc, and Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Amazon Alexa praised the state-of-the-art audio technology brought in by Alexa to the consumer base of Acer notebooks and PCs. However, even without Cortana's help, Alexa is making a big leap forward in the Windows space.

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