Android Voice assistant of Alexa in CES
Voice assistants have long been trying to conquer our way of using our devices. That look at the future makes us talk more with them and “touch” them less, and if there is a surprise protagonist in that area, that is Alexa, the development of Amazon.
Alexa was already a star at CES last year, but at CES 2017 we’ve seen this assistant everywhere: in cars, in fridges, in phones and in more and more devices that seem to have taken on a singular reality: that Alexa is Something like Android’s voice assistants.
No matter the hardware, but the software
Alexa’s arrival came in late 2014, Amazon announced by surprise Amazon Echo, a speaker that was much more than a speaker, as you could talk to him to ask questions and add products to the list of Amazon purchases.
That device came as a surprise in a market that restricted the use of the voice assistant to the smartphone, and has realized that precisely the living room is a much more appropriate place for that function. We may be embarrassed to talk to our devices in public, but it softens when we are in the safety of our home.
That has made that first device has become a referent of a niche market that even Google has had to give. They have created their own Google Home, and it seems that even Microsoft will make moves in this direction to bring Cortana to more types of devices. But the success of Echo is not in hardware, but in software.
The “skills” that conquered the developers
With the arrival of Alexa Amazon raised a paradigm known but not least important. Instead of keeping development to itself, the firm created a framework that allowed Alexa to take advantage of new and original ways.
The so-called ‘Skills’ were capabilities that any manufacturer and developer could add to their device with Alexa. In the summer of 2015 the so-called Alexa Skills Kit was released, an SDK that extended the possibilities of Alexa practically unlimited.
Not only that: the e-commerce giant created a 100 million dollar fund that would invest in support for developers, manufacturers and start-ups that “will create new experiences designed around the human voice”
As explained in Stratechery recently, another key was the separation of Amazon brands. “Echo” was a hardware product without more, while “Alexa” was the software that fed him, but not exclusively. The incredible thing about the case is that Amazon has not vetoed anything or anyone, and Lenovo itself has launched its own “copies” of the Amazon Echo (and it is not the only one) without Amazon raising its voice.
Alexa wants to be everywhere
That open attitude of Amazon has allowed us to see how this assistant became the de facto standard of an industry that seems to be increasingly intrigued by the interaction with the voice. CES 2017 has demonstrated this with numerous products that already take advantage of this development and that are included in all types of areas.
They indicated it for example in The Verge, where they did a complete review to all the products in which Alexa has been protagonist these days of CES in Las Vegas.
We have seen for example in his new refrigerator with webOS, but also in televisions such as Westinghouse, Element or Seiki with Fire TV software and remote controls with microphones that enable voice control.
They are joined by robots like Moro, a renewal of Alexa’s integration into Ford cars, their arrival on Huawei’s smartphones with Mate 9, GE’s “smart lamps”, Samsung’s robotic vacuum cleaners or Linksys’ Velop routers, which among other things, sniff your WiFi password when you need it. There is nothing.
And while Google is saving its Google Assistant for its Pixels – although it has seen the ears to the wolf and is beginning to react – and the same thing happens with Siri, with Cortana (that begins to adopt a philosophy similar to the one of Alexa) and Probably with Bixby, the imminent Samsung assistant who will debut on the Galaxy S8. Some of them may be more powerful, versatile and “smart” than Alexa, but the race for the conquest of our home is being won by the Amazon assistant. There is nothing.