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article imageAmazon Alexa to launch on Windows 10 PCs this year

By James Walker     Jan 8, 2018 in Technology
Amazon's announced that select Windows 10 PCs will come with Alexa built-in this year. The company has partnered with Windows device manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, HP and Lenovo to add Alexa to new laptops. Microsoft doesn't appear to be involved.
Last year, Amazon and Microsoft announced a joint endeavour to allow their respective Alexa and Cortana assistants to interoperate. According to the details then provided, Alexa and Cortana will be able to integrate with each other across their respective ecosystems. A command given to Cortana could be interpreted by Alexa or vice versa.
The two companies have now missed their deadline for completing the functionality. Today, Amazon announced an apparently separate initiative that will see it partner with specific Windows device builders. The company has developed its own Alexa app which allows users to ask its assistant questions from the Windows desktop.
Several of the most prominent Windows laptop manufacturers have already said they'll preinstall the app. At the CES tech show today, Acer, ASUS, HP and Lenovo all announced new Alexa-enabled models. They have included far-field voice recognition so the assistant always responds to your voice, similarly to Microsoft's standard Cortana experience.
Cortana and Alexa will collaborate together
Cortana and Alexa will collaborate together
Microsoft
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Windows PCs are a logical next step for Amazon's rapidly expanding Alexa. The company has successfully created one of the most diverse digital assistant ecosystems with thousands of skills. It now needs to bring Alexa to the attention of more consumers, including those who don't necessarily recognise its brand as a hardware company. Preinstalling Alexa on Windows devices could give Amazon the exposure it needs.
"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. "We're delighted that ASUS will bring the Alexa experience to its laptop models – providing hands-free voice capabilities, and tens of thousands of skills, to PC customers at their desks and on-the-go."
The launch of the Alexa app raises questions for Amazon's existing partnership with Microsoft. With the planned Cortana integration now overdue, Amazon appears to have taken another approach to getting Alexa in front of Windows users. It may have decided it would rather consumers interact with Alexa directly, instead of accessing the assistant via Cortana. Amazon and Microsoft are still working on their joint initiative but it seems Amazon now has bigger plans.
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