Amazon Echo – Things you MUST ask Alexa right now Mon, January 30, 2017
Amazon's Echo speaker has plenty of tricks up its sleeve but we bet you didn't know you could ask Alexa this
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Things to ask Amazon's Alexa
Amazon has dramatically improved how Alexa, the smart assistant that powers the Amazon Echo smart home device, controls connected lightbulbs.
In an official blog post, the online retail company revealed that UK users could now specify colour and white light temperature in voice commands.
"We are very happy to announce tunable lighting control, a feature in the Smart Home Skill API, is now available in the UK, with support for Germany coming soon," Amazon shared.
The Smart Home Skill API means Echo owners can be more specific when controlling connected lightbulbs with their voice.
Echo owners can now use commands like “Alexa, set the living room light to green” or “Alexa, turn the kitchen yellow”.
The Amazon Echo now includes support for five shades of white.
Amazon Echo owners can now control almost every detail of their home with Alexa
So users can say “Alexa, set the bedroom light to daylight” after they've just woken up, or perhaps “Alexa, change the living room to cool white” when they're trying to get some work done.
These advanced features are supported with lights from Hive, Hue, LIFX, and bulbs connected through SmartThings.
Alexa has been able to control smart light fixtures for some time now – with Hue support, for example, being added back in April 2015.
However the integration with these connected bulbs has (until now) been fairly rudimentary.
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It was possible to ask Alexa to illuminate a certain room – “Alexa, turn on the Hue lights in the lounge” – but more granular controls remained buried in the companion app on iOS or Android phones and tablets. The Smart Home Skill API changes all that.
Unfortunately, it's only available to UK users for now – with support Germany planned for a later date.
The new skill has already rolled-out in the United States.
The news comes as Amazon slashed the price of its smart speaker to £124.99 – £5 less than Google Home.
It's currently unclear how long the offer will be available but when the deal runs out you'll then have to pay £149.99 to own one.
Amazon recently announced that its Alexa smart assistant would be joining another of its most popular products.
Amazon Alexa will now appear in Ford cars – CES 2017 Tue, January 3, 2017
Amazon Alexa Ford
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Alexa working in a Ford car as a personal assistant
This added cloud-based voice service means users can search for things such as TV shows, latest weather and news reports via a new voice-controlled remote.
Alexa can also show the latest football scores, traffic issues and even order a taxi via the TV.
Users can also use their voice to fast forward and rewinding content with a simple phrase, such a "jump ahead two minutes", instantly skipping through content.