Amazon Alexa Talks More Like Human With Pauses, Whispers, And Emotion

The digital assistant system of Amazon, Alexa is going to sound more like human with emotions, whispers, and pauses. Per the announcement from Amazon, the new skills will be added soon to enhance the total experience of the digital assistant from the online retailer. The new skills come in the form of Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML) and would even “bleep” out words.

 

 

The skills are handed over to the Alexa app developers, and it would help them to offer customized voice experience through their apps with better control on volume, emotion, and intonation. While Amazon allows considerable changes in modulation of the voice, there are limitations set by the firm to control the extremeness including high pitch. There are five speech standards, or SSML have been added to the system, and that includes whispers, emphasis, substitutions, expletive beeps, and prosody.

 

 

Interestingly, the U.K. and German developers got “speechcons” introduced in their market. It would help the developers to add country specific phrases into the Alexa. Earlier this year, the online retailer launched the feature for the first time in U.S. with some limited words. Now, people in U.K. may experience “Bada-bing” or “Boom” in Alexa like how U.S. customers experience “gotcha,” “ahem,” and more. Experts suggest that the new advancement in the personal assistant system can add more fun similar to how Apple transformed Siri to a more engaging platform.

 

 

It was in November 2014, Amazon unveiled the digital assistance system through its smart speaker called Amazon Echo. The retailer behemoth focused on expanding the platform and created an option for app developers to add new skills. From the primitive stage in the initial days, Alexa grew as a highly useful digital assistance system with the addition of more than 12,000 skills until the date. Apart from voice interaction and providing various updates, the platform is also beneficial to control the smart devices. Most of the electronics and home appliances manufacturers are now supporting the Alexa platform.

 

 

The big four companies in tech are in a real fight to capture the digital assistant market which is reported to touch $15.8 billion by 2021. Apple Siri can’t integrate with Android devices; Microsoft Cortana is mostly trapped into the limited Windows platform; Google Assistant is struggling with its still-primitive smart speaker system called Google Home. This gives a greater opportunity for Alexa to capture the market by adding more skills and enhancing the experience.

 

Changes Are Coming to Amazon’s App Ecosystem

Most people were somewhat befuddled when Amazon decided to roll their own varient of the popular android operating system. Over time they’ve managed to create a real niche for themselves. Amazon’s version of Android is usually different enough to justify itself. But at the same time it’s similar to other versions of Android that one can expect some degree of compatibility. In fact, many Android users have come to count on that compatibility over the years. Amazon has had a continual marketing effort in play almost right from the start. They’ve been luring people into their unique app ecosystem by offering access to their app store to the vast majority of android devices.

 

It’s usually a win win situation for android users and Amazon alike. Amazon will, of course, benefit from having android users look around their app ecosystem. Their own version of android is specially tailored to that app system. The end result is that people will have some motivation to go with amazon based android products in the future. For a long time now, android users have had a big benefit as well. They’ve been able to get a continual stream of discounted apps. Amazon regularly offers free purchases of apps which normally have a price tag attached to them. It’s a marketing tactic that has been quite effective over the years. Many people have tried to compete with Google’s app store over the years. But at the moment Amazon is the only company that’s really succeeded in doing so. Their free apps are considered one of the main reasons for this success.

 

But Amazon recently announced that they’re planning to end this practice. Users might find themselves disappointed. But it’s actually good news, at least in some ways. The best part is that Amazon will be keeping the service going at least until 2019. The best part for fans of Amazon’s version of android is that this signals a resounding success for the company. The free apps were a big financial hit to Amazon that was being undertaken in hopes of long term profit as more and more people gave their android variant a try. One can take this change of policy to mean that Amazon now considers their android products to finally be able to stand fully on their own when competing against vanilla builds of android.

 

Amazon now Allows Customers to Shop with Their Televisions

On Tuesday, December 13th, the major online retailer, Amazon.com, introduced a new application for Apple TV users.  “Amazon App: Browse, Search, Shop” allows its customers to browse and purchase items using their Television sets. Available for the new, 4th generation Apple TV system, this app includes many of the same functions as the Amazon app for IOS smartphones. Customers can search for items, read reviews, and actually purchase products using this innovative, new application.

 

In order to actually make purchases with their apple TV, users must be signed up for Amazon Prime, which is Amazon’s version of a VIP membership program. Amazon Prime members receive many benefits, including access to Amazon Video, as well as, free two-day shipping on all orders. Available for a very reasonable price, the membership costs only $99 per year. For those who are frequent Amazon customers, this is a fantastic deal.

 

Even for those who are not Amazon Prime members, the app allows you to save items to a wish list, which can be accessed on a smartphone or computer any time. Customers can also scroll thorough shopping lists, featured items, and gift guides using their Apple TV remote.

 

Apple released its 4th generation of the popular streaming device, Apple TV, last October. It is most commonly used for streaming video from channels like Netflix and Hulu. However, apps are available for a wide variety of purposes, including social media and website browsing. The newest version includes a voice control function. The Siri remote, allows shoppers to verbally search for whatever items that they are looking for. This eliminates the struggle of using the keyboard interface with a remote control.

 

Basically a large-scale version of the Amazon shopping app for IOS, this new Apple TV application could change the way that people shop. If this innovation is successful, there is no doubt that other companies will soon follow in Amazon’s footsteps. At this point however, many reviewers are unsure that the app will actually prove itself useful.

Amazon Gives Members a Prime Deal on Smartphones

Amazon announced Wednesday that they will begin to offer discounted unlocked Android phones to members of its Prime service.

Members will get the deals with a catch: the phones will include Amazon-approved apps and ads.

Two smartphone deals are available to Amazon Prime members. The new, fourth generation Motorola Moto G will be sold at a 25-percent discount of $150. The BLU R1 HD can be purchased at $50, 50 percent off the retail price of $100.

The phones’ lock screens will include special offers from Amazon and other marketers. Amazon will also install apps to the phones, including Kindle, IMDB and Amazon Video.

The two subsidized smartphones will be available for shipment on July 12.

“The breakthrough pricing on unlocked smartphones is supported by personalized offers and ads, including deals and product recommendations, displayed on the phone’s lockscreen,” Amazon stated in a release. “When a customer sees an offer, they can tap to learn more about it or simply unlock their phone to dismiss.”

The move by Amazon is seen as an effort by the company to increase smartphone sales after its most recent flop. The Amazon Fire, released in 2014, was rated very poorly and severely discounted before being discontinued in 2015.

The discounts can only be received by Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon provides the service, which gives a range of benefits to its members, for a $99 annual fee.