We have all head about voice assistants. Cortana, Siri, Bixby, OK Google and Alexa. GadgetGuy spent lots of time with Alexa based speakers and has prepared Alexa 101. It’s a guide to Alexa and some of the speakers that use it. Speaker shootout is here.
What is Alexa?
Alexa is a virtual voice assistant developed by Amazon. Alexa manifests herself (yes, we will assign gender) via hardware like the Amazon Echo Dot, Echo, Plus and third-party speakers from Ultimate Ears and Sonos – to name a few. We have a speaker round-up at the end of this article.
It recognises the watchword Alexa (or change it to Amazon or Computer) and sends your question/request to the Amazon Cloud. There it is analysed for a response.
Although Cortana, Siri and Bixby pre-date Alexa she was really the ‘first to market’ at least in the U.S. That is a strong position and accounts for it enjoying sales dominance there. But the later introduced Google Assistant is nipping at her heels and outselling in some markets like Australia.
Is Amazon a tech company?
Amazon is the world’s second trillion-dollar company. Apple is the first. It started 1994 as a cloud computing service (Amazon Web Services). It built an empire based on online delivery of goods and services. Underpinning it is a very sophisticated analytics system to generate demand for its products and an e-commerce fulfilment system to deliver them.
It took just ten years for it to overtake the US’s largest bricks and mortar retailer Walmart.
What does Amazon own/do?
- Amazon.com and Amazon Prime membership for additional benefits
- Prime Music and Music Unlimited (and variants)
- Prime Video (and variants)
- Amazon Studios (creates video content)
- Amazon App store (for its Amazon devices)
- Kindle and Kindle eBook store
- Goodreads and Shelfari – user’s recommendations for Amazon Books
- Audible – spoken entertainment
- Alexa – voice recognition, shopping and analytics
- Fire TV devices – casting video content to a TV
- Fire Tablets
- Echo speakers and devices
- Digital Games Store
- Twitch live streaming games platform
- Amazon Wireless
- Amazon Web Services
- ComiXology – digital comics platform
- Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods Market
- Amazon search and reviews
- And many, many more enterprises in over 130 countries
- The Wikipedia Article is here.
Why does Amazon want Alexa to succeed?
Voice control is considered the next big thing before we get a Matrix style direct neural interface!
Alexa is its way to cement Amazon into your life. You need to understand that by purchasing Alexa, almost everything it does has a focus on Amazon products, services and partnerships.