Amazon Alexa for Windows 10 gets updated with hands-free background support
Ever since the Amazon Alexa app first showed up on the Microsoft Store back in November, it hasn’t been given much attention by Amazon. There have been a few small updates here and there, but nothing to really write home about. That’s finally changed, though, with yesterday’s announcement from Amazon. Alexa is now going completely hands-free on Windows 10.
Instead of having to click a button to activate the digital assistant you can now simply say “Alexa” and it will wake up. The only caveat is that the app must be running for this to work. Admittedly, the app can be minimized and voice commands will still work, but I would personally prefer if it minimized to the system tray instead of the taskbar. Nonetheless, it’s a great feature and an excellent replacement for Microsoft’s subpar digital assistant Cortana. Voice recognition is good, though for me it felt slightly slower and less accurate than a dedicated Alexa device.
If you already have an Alexa-enabled device, all your skills from that device are imported into the app as soon as you sign in to your Amazon account. This is great because if you have a dedicated microphone and speakers as part of your setup, it means that your PC is now essentially just another Alexa-enabled device. For people who like the idea of a fully smart home, this is another step along the way.
It’s good to see Amazon finally giving its Windows app some attention, keeping it competitive after Microsoft announced updates to Cortana at its recent Build conference. Hopefully, we will see continued updates to further improve the app, as at the moment it’s somewhat barebones.