Amazon.com Inc on Friday boasted that its virtual assistant Alexa is capable of 1,000 “skills,” as the online retail giant bolsters defenses against rivals such as Alphabet Inc’s Google and Apple Inc.
The Seattle-based company said in a blog post that the programs were developed specifically for the voice-commanded Alexa software used in Amazon devices, such as Echo and Fire TV.
Amazon released voice-enabled wireless speaker Echo in late 2014, infusing it with virtual assistant smarts that enable it to answer questions or control linked devices upon command.
A kit lets outside software developers create “experiences,” similar in concept to apps, for Alexa.
Alexa director Rob Pulciani said tens of thousands of developers are learning about and crafting programs that introduce users “to the magic and simplicity of hands-free, voice-driven interactions.”
Amazon is out to put Echo and Alexa at the heart of the connected home.
Alexa’s skills include selecting music, appointment reminders, checking bank balances, ordering food, summoning Uber rides and more.
Amazon has not disclosed sales figures for Echo, but the device appears to be having success in the market due, in part, to beating rivals out of the starting gate.
Google last month unveiled a virtual home assistant device that would challenge Amazon Echo as the Internet giant laid out a future rich with artificial intelligence.
Google Home, about the size of a stout vase, is to hit the market later this year, vice president of product management Mario Queiroz said at the opening of the Internet giant’s annual developers conference.
Home devices will incorporate new Google virtual assistant software introduced by chief executive Sundar Pichai.
“Our ability to do conversational understanding is far ahead of what other virtual assistants can do,” Pichai told a big audience at the conference. “We are an order of magnitude ahead of everyone else.”
Home devices combine machine learning, online searches, voice recognition and more to allow people to get answers to questions, manage tasks, or control devices by speaking naturally, demonstrations showed.
Home will synch with Chromecast devices that allow remote control of televisions or stereo systems, and with “smart” devices made by Google-owned Nest and other companies.
Google did not disclose pricing of Home devices.
“Google Home could be a major force and could also dramatically decrease the sales potential of Amazon Echo,” Moor Insights and Strategy analyst Patrick Moorhead said.
Apple is expected to enter the market with a home assistant device of its own, perhaps unveiled at its annual developers conference taking place later this month in San Francisco, according to rumors swirling ahead of the event.
Softbank Group Corp plans to keep a stake in the chip designer Arm Ltd, even if it sells a partial interest to Nvidia Corp, the Nikkei reported. The companies are negotiating terms, the newspaper reported, citing sources. Softbank might take a stake in Nvidia after it buys Arm, the report said. Nvidia and Arm might also merge through a share swap, and Softbank would become a major shareholder in the combined company, it said. The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the sources said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the
MOVING FROM CHINA? The article did not name the company, but Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron were among firms chosen for a production-linked incentive plan in India An Apple Inc vendor is looking at shifting six production lines to India from China, which could result in US$5 billion of iPhone exports from the South Asian nation, the Times of India reported, citing people familiar with the matter who it did not identify. The establishment of the facility would create about 55,000 jobs over about a year, the newspaper reported, not naming the Apple vendor. It would also cater to the domestic market and expand operations to include tablets and laptops, the newspaper reported. Samsung Electronics Co and Apple’s assembly partners are among 22 companies that have pledged 110 billion
Gold surged to a fresh record on Friday, fueled by US dollar weakness and low interest rates, while silver headed for its best month since 1979. Spot bullion is up more than 10 percent this month, as US real yields lingered near record lows. While the ferocity of rallies in gold and silver cooled in the middle of the week, most market watchers predict there might be more gains ahead. Both metals have added about 30 percent this year, with gold and silver exchange-traded funds boosting holdings to a record, as concern about the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic fuels demand for
‘ONE-STOCK SHOW’: Turnover hit an all-time high as TSMC continued to determine the local market’s direction and surpassed Visa in market capitalization The TAIEX early yesterday hit an all-time intraday high on the back of soaring Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) shares, before tumbling back to the previous day’s close as the contract chipmaker could not single-handedly prop up the index. The TAIEX rose more than 400 points in the first 20 minutes of trading to hit a record 13,031.7 points, but later pared its gains to close down 0.01 percent at 12,586.73. Turnover was NT$343.252 billion (US$11.63 billion), the highest in the Taiwan Stock Exchange’s history. TSMC continued to dictate the market’s direction, as its early surge by the daily