Notebooks such as the Switch 7 Black Edition and Spin 5 with Acer Purified Voice and four digital microphones support far-field voice recognition from up to nine feet away, while others with dual microphones will be able to activate Alexa within three feet.
The news has come as something of a curveball given that the strategy previously announced had been around integrating Alexa into Cortana and vice versa. However, it means more competition for contenders Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana, the latter of which could be facing an early grave. Several OEMs, including Bose, Jabra, iHome, Beyerdynamic, Bowers and Wilkins are already working on voice-controlled Alexa experiences on their products and device makers are invited to signup to be notified when the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit is made available later this year. The company also unveiled the Acer V6820M/i 4K UHD projector, which also supports Amazon Alexa. Since all of these devices have a screen or can be connected to a monitor, Alexa will be able to display information in addition to providing audio feedback.
Amazon's voice assistant is coming to PCs during the first quarter, starting with machines from Acer. As Google and Apple continue growing and expanding their own personal assistants, Amazon has maintained its lead on those companies by getting Alexa into as much hardware as possible. The extension of the Alexa Voice Service is already being utilized by brands like Bose, Jabra, and iHome, according to an Alexa developer blog post. The Alexa integration in the USA will be available via a software update through Acer Care Centre, but its wider availability is expected for sometime in the mid of 2018. "Voice is a natural interface for interacting with technology and can make everyday tasks simpler", said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Amazon Alexa in ASUS' press release. A command given to Cortana could be interpreted by Alexa or vice versa.
"It's day one for Alexa on PCs and we are excited that PC customers will have access to hands-free Alexa voice capabilities and tens of thousands of skills".