Amazon Alexa has finally arrived in Spain, and with this movement, Amazon brings to our country one of the workhorses with which companies like Apple or Google are coming face to face. But if you are not entirely sure what this means, today we are going to explain what Alexa is and what it can do for you.
We are going to start by explaining what exactly Amazon Alexa is and how it has evolved. Then we will go on to tell you what you can do with Amazon’s virtual assistant, and we will end by briefly mentioning the devices on which it will be compatible. Thus, now that the Amazon Echo devices with Alexa are already on pre-sale, you can start thinking about whether they meet what you are looking for in a smart speaker.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is the voice-controlled virtual assistant created by Amazon, and launched in November 2014 alongside its Echo line of smart speakers. His name was chosen because it had a strong consonant at the beginning and included an x, something that would make it easier for the wizard to recognize his name, and also in honor of the Library of Alexandria.
The operation of Alexa is very similar to that of other assistants such as Google Assistant, Siri, and Cortana. You start by invoking it by saying its name, at which point the speaker or device it’s embedded in will start listening. Then you must say a command with your voice, and the assistant will recognize what you ask and give you an answer.
Initially, the assistant was only linked to smart speakers made by Amazon. But after a few months, its SDK was opened so that other manufacturers and developers could start working on it. Since then, the assistant has been included in a host of devices, from wall clocks to microwaves.
Thanks to that expandability, Alexa has become one of the go-to assistants. Amazon even reached an agreement with Microsoft to integrate Alexa into Cortana, and thus be able to access millions of PCs and laptops around the world.
What you can do with Alexa
Alexa functions depend on two key elements. On the one hand, there are voice commands that it integrates, with which you can make a wide variety of requests. And then there are the skills, which are add-ons that you can install to add even more functionality.
As for voice commands, you can ask Alexa many types of questions. For example, you can start by asking for information about various types of content, and weather, or to search for general information about certain people and products.
You can also set alarms, ask what day it is, set reminders, or start timers. Of course, Alexa integrates with Amazon to allow you to make purchases with your voice or be informed about the status of shipments. You can also make video calls between different devices with Alexa or control other devices compatible with the assistant.
The Amazon Echo Plus comes with an integrated smart home hub, which means that it is capable of automatically detecting compatible devices (smart bulbs, surveillance cameras, thermostats, etc.). The Echo +, therefore, is designed to act as the brain of your smart home.
And then there are Alexa Skills, which are the equivalent of third-party apps that are available for Alexa. With them you can expand the possibilities of the assistant, adding more voice commands or different sources with which to make its functionalities more complete. Globally there are tens of thousands of different skills, and you can even create your skill. You also have some of the houses like Directo al Paladar or Xataka.
For example, with these Skills, you can enjoy the content of different television programs that have decided to create their own. Some Skills are applications to help you with different tasks, or games like trivia that you can play through voice commands.
What devices are compatible with Alexa
As is evident, the main devices to use Alexa on are the Amazon Echo range of smart speakers. Six of them arrive in Spain, which are Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Spot, Echo Dot, Echo Sub, and Amazon Smart Plug. But in America, there are even more devices like the Amazon Show 10-inch screen speaker.
Alexa also integrates into other company products like Fire TVs, as well as AmazonBasics-branded appliances like microwaves, plugs, and wall clocks. It has also reached important agreements with home electronics brands such as Whirlpool, Samsung, and Hisense.
These latest agreements allow the assistant to be present in various types of household appliances, but they have also gone further, and Amazon has agreements to bring it to televisions from brands such as Hisense, LG, Sony, or Toshiba, cars from the Ford group, Volkswagen and soon in Toyota after signing an alliance. Also in sound devices from Phonos, Sonos, or LG, as well as electrical products such as switches, light bulbs, plugs, or sensors from brands such as ADT, Belkin WeMo, Bryant, Osram, Philips Hue, Nest, and many others.
Finally, we have already told you that Alexa is breaking into the world of personal computers with its agreement with Microsoft, as well as with other manufacturers such as Acer, ASUS, HP, and Lenovo. In addition, Huawei has presented a smart speaker-router and Acer a projector, both with Alexa.
And this is only the beginning, because we are entering a dizzying race between various multinationals to dominate a growing sector such as virtual assistants, so it is to be expected that in the coming years, the list of Alexa-compatible devices will increase. As always, in Xataka we will be telling you about it so you don’t lose sight of it.
1. What is Alexa Echo?
Alexa is the name of the virtual assistant created by Amazon, and with which you can interact through the brand’s Echo smart speakers, which are speakers always connected to the Internet. You can also use Alexa on compatible televisions, and on mobiles that download the Amazon Alexa application.
2. How to connect Alexa to WiFi?
To connect Alexa to a WiFi network, you have to connect the device on which you have the virtual assistant. Once you connect the device, the assistant will use that connection to contact the Internet whenever it needs to, and you don’t need to do anything else.
3. How does Alexa work?
Alexa works through voice commands. You have to say his name to activate it, followed by the question you want to ask him. Then, Alexa will give you the answer, either to give you information or to interact with a device connected to the assistant.
Sharlene Meriel is an avid gamer with a knack for technology. He has been writing about the latest technologies for the past 5 years. His contribution in technology journalism has been noteworthy. He is also a day trader with interest in the Forex market.