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09 January 2018, 02:13 | Gina Pena
Above HP Pavilion Wave with Alexa for Windows Image Credit HP
This year, a bevy of Windows 10 PC makers including HP, Acer, and Asus have announced partnerships with Amazon to incorporate Alexa into their devices. That computer, like Acer's Amazon-supported PCs, also contains custom Intel audio processors that are meant to help Alexa better hear and respond to people's voices.
Both Google and Amazon have a larger footprint than Cortana does in speakers and smart-home devices, and they'll be battling it out at CES this week.
It's somewhat surprising given that Microsoft has always said it is betting on Cortana working through its existing billions of machines, rather than creating new hardware, and Alexa on Windows 10 would impede the latter's growth. 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.
At CES 2018, expect more digital assistant-related announcements from the companies like Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.
HP plans to roll out Alexa for its HP Pavilion Wave desktop computer tower, which doubles as an audio speaker. On the other hand, it also wants Cortana to be in your auto, and on your smart speaker, and to run on your Android phone and iPhone (but mostly the former). and Windows PC. A command given to Cortana could be interpreted by Alexa or vice versa.
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This could get awkward for Microsoft and Amazon. So if peoiple don't like talking to their computers, how are they so comfortable talking to their devices like the Echo and Google Home?
Acer says it will bring Alexa to its PCs through an update starting in the first quarter of this year, with a wider rollout expected in mid-2018.
Notebooks such as the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5 with Acer Purified Voice and four digital microphones support far-field voice recognition from up to nine feet away, while others with dual microphones will be able to activate Alexa within three feet.
Acer said Alexa will be coming to select Aspire, Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks as well as an all-in-one PC.
As it stands now, what is clear is that Cortana is now falling behind for consumers, and Amazon's Alexa app wasn't the start of that, just another step. Some of the new devices will use Intel's Smart Sound Technology, an integrated audio DSP, for improved audio, voice, and speech interactions with Alexa. Details on ASUS's Alexa integration weren't immediately available.
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