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Amazon is working on a blockbuster new update

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Written by Kamil Arli

Tech Columnist AARON BROWN published an article on the Amazon Echo. 

AMAZON is hard at work a blockbuster update for the cloud-based voice assistant that powers its hugely-popular Amazon Echo speaker – Alexa. Here’s everything you need to know about the upgrade.

Amazon is working on a blockbuster new update for the Alexa smartphone app, Express.co.uk has learned.

The US retail company is planning to bring its talkative voice assistant to your iPhone and Android smartphone, a high-ranking executive revealed.

THE FUTURE SOFTWARE UPDATE WAS REVEALED BY FORD EXECUTIVE …

The future software update was revealed by Ford Executive Director of Connected Vehicle and Services, Don Butler.

Speaking to Express.co.uk at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow at Barcelona, he said: “Amazon is actually going to be developing an app that will reside on your smartphone.

“If you’re familiar with Alexa today, the [smartphone] application that’s there right now is more of a utilities app to help you manage your Skills, your profile, and that kind of thing.

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“But it doesn’t actually deliver Alexa capabilities.

“So, [Amazon] are going to be developing an app that delivers Alexa capability to that smartphone device.”

The updated Amazon Alexa would directly challenge Google Assistant, Siri and Cortana for dominance on your smartphone platform of choice.

FORD HAS KNOWLEDGE OF AMAZON’S DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP

Ford has knowledge of Amazon’s development roadmap, thanks to its partnership for SYNC 3.

The international motor company will be tightly integrated into its SYNC 3 in-car entertainment system, allowing drivers to access Alexa capabilities while they are on the road.

Ford’s in-car entertainment system, which is already compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, will leverage the Alexa voice search on your phone to answer your questions, and execute any commands.

Mr Butler told Express.co.uk, “We’re working with Amazon to make it a more vehicle-centric kind of experience, so you’ll be able to say for instance, ‘Alexa tell me some Chinese restaurants that are nearby’.

“Alexa will then be able to bring back to the vehicle a list of Chinese restaurants and the addresses – you merely would press one of those addresses on the SYNC screen, that would then populate into navigation system to allow you to go to that location.

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“A very seamless interaction with for our customers.”

He added: “If you have a smart home appliance that already has an Alexa Skill, you’ve instantly got access to it when you’re inside your Ford vehicle.

“Amazon, we think, has done the best job so far, of building out that partner network, and it’s a way for us to deliver more extensive, seamless capability to our customers in that regard.”

Ford vehicle owners will also be able to play and resume audiobooks, order items on Amazon, search for and transfer local destinations to the in-car navigation system, and more from inside the car.

And from home, Ford drivers can ask their Amazon Echo or Echo Dot smart speaker to remote start, lock or unlock doors, and get vehicle information using simple voice commands.

Ford is the first car company to integrate Amazon’s voice assistant into an automobile.

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Alexa integration with Ford is being rolled-out in two distanct phases.

The first, already available in the United States, connects you to your car from the comfort of home through Alexa devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap.

The second, roughly scheduled for sometime this summer, allows you to tap into Alexa’s Skills using your voice while driving – helping you keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Speaking at CES 2017 about the partnership between Ford and Amazon, Vice President of Amazon Alexa, Steve Rabuchin said: “We’re excited to work with Ford to enhance the driver experience both inside and outside of the vehicle.

“We believe voice is the future, and this is particularly true in cars.

“The ability to use your voice to control your smart home, access entertainment, manage to-do lists and more makes for an extraordinary driving experience. We can’t wait for Ford customers to try this out.”

Amazon is also purportedly working to enable Alexa to make phone calls.

About the author

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Kamil Arli

Editor of DigitalReview.co. Digital Media Consultant

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