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Amazon Echo is brilliant, but restricted to your home … for now
Amazon Echo is a brilliant 360-degree omni-directional smart speaker, powered by a cloud-based virtual assistant called “Alexa”.
It works phenomenally well, however, it's not much use outside of the house.
That is going to change this year, thanks to a slew of new partnerships which will see the Alexa smart assistant integrated into a handful of new devices, including smart fridges, Whirlpool washing machines, and more.
Ford will also bring Alexa to any vehicle with a SYNC 3 in-car entertainment system.
But until then, the Logi ZeroTouch will bring the US retail company's talkative assistant to any brand or model of car.
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Things to ask Amazon's Alexa
Today, the company confirmed that its ZeroTouch app will get a slew of new functionality thanks to the addition of Amazon’s Alexa assistant into the app.
Aside from the existing functionality in the ZeroTouch mount, which let users send text messages and make calls hands-free while driving, you'll be able to ask Alexa to control your smart home devices, answer general knowledge questions, or order StarBucks coffee.
The Alexa update is free and available to ZeroTouch customers in the United States and United Kingdom from today.
There are two versions of the Logi ZeroTouch, one with an air vent mount (£49.99) and one that mounts on the dashboard (£59.99).
The Logi ZeroTouch will bring Alexa functionality to any vehicle
The news comes as a hidden trick inside the Amazon Echo lets you wake-up to the rather obnoxious Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May.
Expect to see Alexa appearing in more gadgets this year with companies including Ford joining the voice search revolution.
Alexa's integration into Ford vehicles will allow owners to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system, and more. From the summer, drivers with Ford SYNC 3 will be able to ask Alexa to read weather reports, play music, check news, add items to shopping lists and more – all from their car.
The benefits of this collaboration don't just start in the car as, from home, Ford owners will be able to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using voice commands.
Alexa is also being included in a number of non-Amazon speakers, including a new device from Lenovo.
Along with a standard speaker, Lenovo will launch a special Harman Kardon edition for premium audio quality.