When Amazon’s voice-activated devices Alexa and Echo came out a few years ago, the smart home was just getting started, and the technology was still in its infancy. Since then, the smart home initiative has picked up steam: Google, Apple, and Samsung all have similar products, and the number of devices that can interact with the smart home is only set to continue growing. One of the most important of these devices is the virtual personal assistant or VPA, and that is where the entry-level smart speaker comes in.
Amazon’s smart speaker Alexa has a lot of big plans for the future, and the most recent is to expand its functionality to a whole new level. According to a leaked poster spotted by Android Police, Amazon is going to add support for third-party skills to Alexa. This will allow users to access third-party apps like a fourth-generation Amazon Echo, Google Home, or any other compatible device.
How does Alexa work?
Alexa is the cloud-based voice-activated digital assistant that powers Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers. The easy-to-use voice interface links to Amazon’s vast online store and includes a number of third-party skills and apps. For example, you can use your Echo to shop for music, order pizza, control your smart thermostat, read the news, control your smart home gadgets, and much more. It’s not hard to see why Alexa is such a hit.
The Amazon Alexa is one of the best smart speakers you can get. And that’s the problem. Alexa is a top-of-the-line voice-activated virtual assistant, but it’s not yet “smart” enough to be the best. With the rise to the mainstream popularity of voice assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo, it’s becoming more and more important for Alexa-compatible products to be compatible with your smart speaker. This is a quick and easy way to make your life a little more convenient, though you may be surprised by the many affordable devices that are already compatible with Alexa, such as:
- Amazon Fire TV Cube
Amazon’s latest hardware products, the Amazon Fire TV Cube and the Amazon Fire TV Cube 2 have been launched this month in the US. The Amazon Fire TV Cube is a small, cube-shaped box with an HDMI port, a power button, and a volume rocker designed to turn your TV into a smart TV. The Amazon Fire TV Cube 2 improves the first-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube by offering 1080p HD support, voice search, a dedicated Alexa button, and updated controllers. The device is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and includes 8 GB of storage and 1.5 GB of RAM. The Cube 2 also has a dedicated Alexa button and a new remote with a Bluetooth connection and support for IR and RF.
- Lifx Mini
The Lifx Mini is a small, battery-powered light bulb that can also be programmed to work with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The Mini is one of the best Alexa devices on the market, and it’s $50 asking price won’t break the bank. It’s a superior offering for the average consumer, but it’s not quite as impressive for tech-savvy homeowners.
- Wemo Wi-Fi Smart Plug
We have all experienced the frustration of unplugging our devices when we want to turn off the lights, plug in a lamp, and wonder why nothing happens. If you have a smartphone or tablet, like an Amazon Fire TV, or a smart plug, like the Belkin WeMo Switch or the Ikea Tradfri, then you are not alone. These devices are designed to make life easier and make you worry less about things like the lights turning off and plugs not working. The Amazon Echo is arguably one of the most important inventions of the last few years. It’s an affordable and versatile voice-powered smart home assistant that lets you use voice commands to control your entire house.
There are many benefits to using Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices. You can use voice commands to listen to music, tell the weather, order a pizza, book a flight, control your home—and even control other smart devices, like Philips Hue lights. Alexa can also control your smart home devices. Alexa can play music, news, weather, or sports on your TV, set timers, or control your smart home devices, like turning off a light.