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New Amazon Dash Wand Gets You Into the World Of Alexa For $20
Amazon's new Dash Wand is a handheld version of Alexa with a scanner (which adds the food to the shopping list), helps you create recipes, and control your smart devices (it's like a dot without the speaker). It comes out July 7th, 2017. (video)
Using the Amazon Echo Show as a Baby Monitor
The Amazon Echo Show is the new unit with the built-in video screen. This video shows parents using a smart camera to turn it into a monitor. (Looking at amazon you may have to use IFTTT to get this to work).
Sirius XM Comes to Amazon Echo / Alexa Devices
If you have a subscription to Sirius XM, you can easily install this app, go to your phone and connect it to your Sirius account, and that's it. When you first use the skill will ask you what station you want. From there you can just ask Alexa to play your station (Alexa, play Rockbar on Sirius XM, or Alexa, Play Howard Stern on Sirius XM) and it works great.
New Smart Speak Study From Edison Research
A new study from Edison Research and NPR interviewed over 2000 people (some owners some nonsmart speaker owners). Here is some key takeaways
Number of Units
- 76% had an Alexa Enabled Device (only)
- 16% Had a Google Home
- 8% Have Both
How Many Smart Speakers Do You Own?
- 58% have one
- 24% have two
- 18% have three or more
45% plan to purchase another smart speaker
Primarily Use the Amazon Echo to:
The primary use is music (finding new music, listening)
42% of the people said it was a vital part of their life and 65% said they wouldn't want to go back to a life without a smart speaker
70% say they listen to more audio since they purchased the unit
29% use the Flash News Briefing
72% said they don't know enough about their smart speaker
57% said they are using the smart speaker to entertain their children and 88% of those said their children enjoyed it.
61% said it feels like having someone to talk to.
Most people feel they are too expensive (the Dot is under $100)
Notifications Are Coming To Alexa
Amazon is going to be adding notifications to its Alexa service, so that skills can provide you with information as it becomes available, unprompted, as opposed to only in response to active voice queries made by a user. The ability to add notifications to skills and devices will be made available through both Amazon’s software and hardware development kits, but initially it’s going to roll out for a small group of select partners skills, as well as for Amazon.com shopping updates.
Some of the partners who will have notifications enabled at launch include AccuWeather, The Washington Post, Just Eat and Life360, and a developer preview coming soon will allow other skill makers to test the functionality in their own products before launching them more broadly to consumers.
Notifications will be provided in a couple of different ways, including an audible chime and a passing green light using the LED ring on the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show hardware. When users receive those tips that something new has arrived, they can ask “Alexa, what did I miss?” or “Alexa, what are my notifications?” to find out what specific information has been coming in. The Alexa app lets users turn on a “Do Not Disturb” mode if they’d like to suspend all notifications for a set time.
Now, you can ask Alexa to deliver anything from your Amazon Restaurants order history. If you’ve ordered from Amazon Restaurants before, just enable the Amazon Restaurants skill on any Alexa-enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap. Then say, “Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants.” Alexa will suggest meals from your order history to be delivered to your default address. Confirm the order, and that's it—your meal is on its way.
Amazon Restaurants is available to Prime members in the US in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Manhattan, Miami, Minneapolis, Northern Virginia, Orlando, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and the Eastside, Tampa and Las Vegas.
New to Amazon Restaurants? Save $10 on your first delivery from popular, local restaurants. Order on Amazon with promo code MOBILE10 or order on Prime Now with promo code PRIME10. Exclusively for Prime members in select cities. Restrictions apply; see www.amazon.com/10-off.
Track Your Food With Nutritionix
How would you like to tell Alex what you had for breakfast and have her log your food. The way you do this is through Nutritionix. The app is free, and hosts a HUGE database of foods restaurants, and you can even add your own food (or combinations of food if you eat certain foods together). The app alone makes it super easy to enter the food you are eating and give you a total of the calories, and a glimpse into the nutrition. You can put in your goal for calories and it turns red or green depending on your current stats.
When you enable the Nutritionix skill, I can simply say,
Alexa, tell food tracker to log a glass of milk and she will add it to your Nutritionix. I tried it and sure enough there was my glass of milk in my account. I haven't tested it much since then as I just found it, but this could make tracking your food intake super easy.
If you just want to use it for advice, you can ask, “Ask food tracker how many calories are in 2 eggs and 3 slices of bacon” or “Ask food tracker How many carbs are in 3 ounces of pasta.”