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Amazon wants to edit free Alexa

Every day, I use Alexa to turn on my lights, switch TV channels, and set timers when I cook. Amazon's digital assistant is my smart home center

Every day, I use Alexa to turn on my lights, switch TV channels, and set timers when I cook. Amazon's digital assistant is my smart home center, but once I get out of the house, Alexa may be dead for me.

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Like many in the United States, I use an Apple-controlled iPhone heavily. Sure, there's an Alexa app I can use, but I can't call a digital assistant with the normal "Alexa" on my iPhone, so I mostly use the app to modify Alexa settings

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Things are a little better in the Android world, where you can set Alexa as an assistant for the virtual machine, but you still can't call it with an alert.

For all Amazon developments with Alexa, there is still a voice assistant living inside your home, but there are plenty of signs that Amazon wants to free Alexa for free.

Every day, I use Alexa to turn on my lights, switch TV channels, and set timers when I cook. Amazon's digital assistant is my smart home center

We may see new Alexa headphones coming soon

While last year's Amazon event included a microwave running on the Alexa system, today's press event could see Amazon stepping out of the house

Amazon is reportedly working on its Alexa earbuds, a big step outside the smart home it dominates. Amazon has also stumbled on Alexa's auto-integration with Echo Auto, but earphones will be an important way to expand Alexa usage

Earphones will reportedly track running distance, burned calories and speed, but Alexa integration will be important here.


Along with earphones, Amazon can unveil a wearable health-tracking band. Bloomberg reported earlier this year that Amazon was working on a bracelet with microphones that could explain the wearer's emotional state based solely on their voice. 

It looks like the device will also include Alexa integration, placing it on Apple Watch and Siri as a consumer health device. Amazon has already begun to shift to virtual health care for its employees, so the focus on wearable health for consumers will be the next logical step.

Google and Apple are still trying to convince consumers to use digital audio assistants in the real world, but Amazon has a chance to do things differently. 

There are many social elements to overcome before we are close to someone who falls in love with a digital assistant, and we are still waiting for the company to prove that having a wearable device with a voice assistant makes sense for everyday tasks.

Every day, I use Alexa to turn on my lights, switch TV channels, and set timers when I cook. Amazon's digital assistant is my smart home center

I wear the Apple Watch that features Siri integration, but you'll never find me screaming in my wrist during the morning commute or in the cafe. However, the voice assistant on the headphones in the gym, or while running, or even in the car is a situation where interaction may be more logical for some. 

The choice of using a voice assistant is still driven by mode, comfort, and reliability. For example, I won't use Siri in a quiet restaurant to find out when Arsenal is next, but I ask her to skip a track while my hands are busy driving a bicycle.

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Besides the potential social possibilities of voice assistants, Amazon will also need to address many pain points with Alexa to overcome them outside the living room

One of the biggest simple queries. I still find Google Assistant better than Alexa in answering the basics of football games, points of interest and other general search queries. 

Amazon really needs to improve this if it wants people to rely on Alexa for anything beyond doing simple tasks like turning on the lights or checking the weather.

I use a variety of Echo devices for convenience, but if I want to set a reminder, I'll choose Siri on Alexa every time. This is mostly because I know that my iPhone will always be with me no matter what, but also because Alexa sets reminders on a per device basis.

If I set a reminder on one Echo device at home, I will only hear it on that specific device or as an alarm on my phone. Similarly, if you set a timer, it will only play on one speaker

It's a flawed system where I use Siri and Alexa to do different tasks now, and I have to remember which is shouting every time. If the rumors are true, Amazon is considering how to free Alexa from his site restrictions.

An Alexa-based robot can be in the way

Earlier this year it is reported that Amazon is working on a robot with Alexa-controlled wheels and will follow you throughout your home. 

The robot might deal with some of Alexa's problems not being with me everywhere (at least until he is defeated by stairs), but there's no way I want a robot to follow me on the streets of London. 

Fortunately, Amazon is also looking for some of the most realistic solutions.

Amazon unveiled a huge alliance to demand compatibility with the voice assistant

It's a partnership between more than 30 different companies, which means Alexa will be able to speak directly to other voice assistants. We've seen a similar partnership with Microsoft for the integration of Cortana and Alexa in the past, but the way you activate each assistant is not entirely great.

Amazon sees seamless interoperability as a receiver for how voice assistants work across devices, but Apple and Google are big omissions from the list of companies involved in this effort. This means that the world's two largest smartphone platforms will be left out of the conversation. 

If Amazon, Microsoft, and others can't convince Apple and Google to relax in their systems to become more assistant for voice, it could seriously undermine Alexa's ability to operate freely across devices.

This is especially important when you consider Apple AirPods with Siri functionality and for Google Pixel Buds with Google Assistant integration. Both companies also operate on smartwatch platforms that Amazon may want to compete with. 

There are also more than 1.4 billion iOS devices including Siri integration and more than 2 billion Android devices with access to Google Assistant. 

These are huge numbers compared to the 100 million Echo devices Amazon has sold, even if not everyone is using voice assistants on their phones.

Amazon faces some huge obstacles if it really wants to free Alexa for free. Any effort on Apple devices can be further obscured by the gardens approach to iPhone maker walls, and even Google's “open” Wear and Google platforms don't always provide the customization levels that device makers want. 

So Amazon is now looking to introduce new Alexa and great partnerships to convince consumers that Alexa is not just for the living room and can play a role in all your everyday tasks.

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