Acer to Bring Amazon Alexa to PCs in 2018

Delia Walker
January 9, 2018

The new Alexa app for Windows 10 is notably separate from the deal Microsoft and Amazon struck a year ago that allowed for integration between Alexa and the former's Cortana voice assistant. Amazon has partnered with a bunch of major desktop makers including HP, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer, all of which plan to integrate Alexa into their next range of Windows 10 computers this year. Lenovo, HP, Asus, and Acer are building new Windows 10 devices-some of which are getting unveiled at CES this week-with far-field microphones that will let users activate Alexa with its hotword. The irony is that this Alexa integration in Windows 10 PCs will compete directly with Microsoft's built-in Cortana which is arguably not almost as widespread as Alexa, Siri and even Google Assistant. In addition to that, you can also employ a keyboard shortcut for triggering it. HP has already launched the Pavillion Wave PC which packs support for talking to Alexa.

The list of devices that will work with Alexa is likely to be substantial. The company also unveiled the Acer V6820M/i 4K UHD projector, which also supports Amazon Alexa. "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". 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.

Google Assistant, meanwhile, has expanded from Android devices to Google Home speakers and third-party devices, as well. For example, ask about the weather and Alexa may both show you and tell you about the weather. According to the details then provided, Alexa and Cortana will be able to integrate with each other across their respective ecosystems.

The integration is not related to the Cortana-Alexa partnership, an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat. However, even without Cortana's help, Alexa is making a big leap forward in the Windows space. Initially available for customers in the US, Alexa support will be available in the first quarter of 2018 via an update through Acer Care Center.

In its announcement ahead of CES in Las Vegas that kicks off tomorrow, Acer reveals that Alexa will be coming to some of the latest Aspire, Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks, as well as Aspire all-in-one PCs starting from Q1 2018. This interestingly makes Alexa a tougher competitor for Cortana.

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