A host of top computer manufacturers are adding Amazon Alexa capabilities to their core models. They have included far-field voice recognition so the assistant always responds to your voice, similarly to Microsoft's standard Cortana experience.
The roster of products to support Amazon's AI assistant will include the HP Pavilion Wave, ASUS's ZenBook and VivoBook line, as well as Acer Spin, Swift Switch and Aspire notebooks. "Voice is a natural interface for interacting with technology and can make everyday tasks simpler", said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Amazon Alexa in ASUS' press release. At the CES tech show today, Acer, ASUS, HP and Lenovo all announced new Alexa-enabled models.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is taking Alexa beyond its Echo and Fire devices. Some of the offerings that are being showcased at CES 2018 in Las Vegas will come with pre-installed Alexa app. Amazon and Microsoft partnered in August a year ago to let Cortana and Alexa work together.
In addition to coming to its first personal computer, on Friday Amazon released the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit to bring the AI assistant to more wearables, headphones, and smartwatches.
Amazon Alexa will roll out on Acer PCs in the United States via an update through Acer Care Center; other regions will get it in mid-2018. Amazon's digital assistant was already available for everyone as a web app, but it's not clear yet if this new desktop app will be restricted to select PCs with special mics.
As of mid-December, Amazon was said to have a roster of an estimated 25,000 Alexa skills, while Cortana was said to be on 230.
The two companies haven't announced changes to the original partnership, but it appears Amazon is starting to take another approach to getting Alexa in front of millions of Windows 10 users. Amazon Alexa has spread from the company's Echo speakers into a growing number of third-party devices, in settings ranging from the auto to the bathroom. Acer, for instance, announced that it will provide "hands-free access" to Alexa on its PCs.
Acer's new V6820M and V6820i 4K UHD projectors will be among the first of its kind to support Amazon Alexa.