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Alexa for PC launches in Windows Store


Want one-tap access to Amazons Alexa on your PC? Starting today, its as easy as installing the new Alexa app. Amazon today announced that the Alexa for PC app is broadly available for Windows 10 devices through the Windows Store in the U.S., U.K., and Germany, with additional markets to come in 2019. Previously, it came preinstalled on select PCs from manufacturers. With Alexa for PC, customers have access to thousands of the same capabilities they already love about Alexa, an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat via email. No additional hardware is required, allowing anyone with a compatible device to experience Alexa. Just tap-to-talk to control smart home devices, ask questions, set timers and alarms, manage your calendar … and more. Alexa for PC also provides access to the more than 50,000 third-party skills available from the Alexa Skills Store. (Messaging and music services like Spotify and Pandora, however, arent yet supported.). It uses Microsofts Fluent Design elements, like acrylic panels, and works with Windows 10s dark mode. The Alexa for PC app isnt a hands-free affair, strictly speaking. Unless you have a PC acoustically tuned specifically for Alexa like the Acer Spin 5, Acer Aspire 5, or HP Envy, invoking Amazons assistant requires clicking a button within the app or using a keyboard shortcut. That said, you dont need additional hardware for baseline functionality — it uses the microphones and speakers built into your PC or webcam. Weve reached out to Amazon for clarification on hardware compatibility and will update this article once we hear back. Amazon said that early next year, itll be rolling out additional capabilities that allow users to interact with PCs. Alexa is always getting smarter, so you can expect ongoing updates on top of those as well, a spokesperson said. The Amazon for PC apps rollout comes months after Microsoft and Amazon launched an Alexa-Cortana public preview for Echo speakers and Windows 10 PCs.  As part of the integration, users can say Hey Cortana, open Alexa to summon Alexa on Windows 10 PCs or Alexa, open Cortana to pull up Cortana on a range of Echo smart speakers. The world is big and so multifaceted, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said of the partnership in August 2017. There are going to be multiple successful intelligent agents, each with access to different sets of data and with different specialized skill areas. Together, their strengths will complement each other and provide customers with a richer and even more helpful experience. More recently, in September, Microsoft introduced Xbox voice control via skills for Cortana and Alexa. Users can power-toggle the console, launch apps and games, play movies, record gameplay, and take screenshots with voice commands.

Alexa now available on Windows 10 PCs


Amazon is releasing its Alexa app for Windows 10 today. While the app has been available on select Windows 10 laptops recently, today marks its launch in the Microsoft Store for all Windows 10 PCs. You can download and install it on any Windows 10 PC, but only compatible devices will support Alexa wake word functionality. If you dont have a compatible PC then you can hit the button within the app to speak to Alexa, or invoke the assistant using a keyboard shortcut. The Alexa for Windows 10 app includes access to now playing to control music and the ability, like any other Alexa app, to control smart home devices. Video, calls, Spotify, and Pandora are all not currently supported within this Alexa for Windows 10 app, though. Amazon hasnt added PC specific controls to ask Alexa to do access Windows features, but Amazon says PC-specific capabilities will be added in early 2019 in addition to ongoing feature updates. Amazons Alexa app for Windows 10 comes just months after Microsoft and Amazon released a preview of Cortana and Alexa integration. The preview lets Cortana users access Alexa, and vice versa. The integration is a little clunky, so this official Alexa app for Windows 10 will probably be a better choice for those who want to access Amazons digital assistant from a laptop or PC. Microsofts partnership with Amazon also saw Alexa support for the companys Xbox One console recently.