New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference

New smart speaker expected as Apple kicks off conference”

Although Alexa could set timers before, when the alarm actually went off it was up to you to remember why you'd programmed it. When that time expires, the Echo will clarify which timer is going off, saying, "Your grill (or whatever) timer is done". New crossover features could make it easier to bounce back between iOS and macOS, similar to what Microsoft (MSFT, Tech30) and Google (GOOGL, Tech30) are doing with their own operating systems.

Amazon did something today they should have done when they first released the Amazon Echo; the ability to set reminders.

Amazon is rolling out an update to Alexa today that will bring a couple of critical new features that probably should've been included when it launched two years ago. Recent data from ComScore supports this idea, that most people tend to use smart speakers like the Echo for basic tasks.Amazon just announced its AI assistant Alexa will now be able to recognize commands to set reminders and named timers. Amazon's Echo assistants are built with Alexa and have made significant inroads among home users as Alexa can do everything from playing music to ordering Amazon products.

Amazon says both reminders and named timers were among the top requests from customers. It costs $179.99 on in the States.

Another interesting thing is that the Echo still can't understand the difference between AM and PM. Assign each one a specific title and you'll be informed when they hit zero - so Alexa will tell you when the "rice timer" is up, with the "lamb curry timer" still ticking away in the background. Just say "Alexa, remind me to pick up the dry cleaning on Saturday at 10 a.m.", for instance, and the virtual assistant will make sure to jog your memory when it's time. Plus, you can cancel or check on these timers by name, as well, like "Alexa, how much time is left on the garlic bread timer?"

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You can also ask Alexa to remind you of something after a short period. You can create new ones from within the app too, if you happen to be away from your Echo device at the time.

"Alexa, what reminders do I have tomorrow?" This will all happen remotely on Amazon's servers, rather than requiring a download to your Echo device.

Investment and development also have been coming from companies besides Amazon. It'll be added to Alexa in the United Kingdom and Germany in the coming weeks, Amazon says.

Amazon has promised us that this update will hit United Kingdom and German Echo devices in the "next couple of weeks".

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