Changing the channel on your television with only a spoken command will soon be possible for the owners of a new range of Toshiba televisions. Starting in 2019, the Japanese firm's OLED, 4K HDR, and Full HD Smart TV products will boast access to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant. Viewers will be able to request channel changes, volume increases and decreases and more by starting their spoken command with'Alexa'. This signals to the always-listening voice assistant that you are about to issue an instruction, which is recorded and parsed in the cloud by Amazon. Toshiba sets will have access to all 45,000 skills already available for Alexa, allowing television viewers to control smart lightbulbs, buy items from Amazon, order takeaways, and check the latest news and weather updates.
Amazon has confirmed that its Alexa voice assistant sometimes stores your data indefinitely, even after any corresponding audio clips have been deleted. The admission comes after inquiries from US Senator Chris Coons, who asked the tech firm to explain what happens to voice records and data gathered by Alexa. The senator, a democrat, wrote to Amazon following a CNET investigation in May that revealed that the company retains voice records unless users delete them. The probe had also suggested that, regardless, written transcripts of those voice recordings may also be kept indefinitely. Amazon's device - along with Apple's Siri and, until recently, Google's Assistant - saves every single interaction a person has with the device, with some unintentional snippets also being recorded.
Amazon is teaming up with semiconductor and voice solutions provider Conexant to bring Alexa to even more devices, the companies announced Thursday. The companies plan to expand the market of voice enabled digital assistants powered by Amazon's Alexa with the creation of the AudioSmart 2-mic Development Kit for smart home appliances. The kit is designed to connect to a Raspberry Pi, a small, credit-card sized computer which can be used in electronics projects. This will allow third-party manufacturers and developers to create Alexa-enabled devices to enable virtual assistance in products. The solution can be used to enable voice commands in home devices, such as smart speakers, thermostats, smart light bulbs and smart TVs, Conexant says.
Amazon has announced an Alexa Voice Service (AVS) API update that allows developers to build voice-activated products. After integration, products respond to the Alexa wake word. The new features have been added to the existing API; accordingly, no need to upgrade. To assist users with building with AVS, Amazon has released a Raspberry Pi prototyping project. Amazon partnered with Sensory and KITT.AI for the project to leverage their third party wake word engines.