Alexa Coming to PCs, Starting with Acer, Asus Laptops
First Cortana let you talk to your PC, and now laptop makers and Amazon bet you'll want to chit-chat with Alexa. Today (Jan. 8), Asus and Acer announced that some of their future notebooks will feature Amazon's digital assistant, with models coming out as soon as this month.
To use Alexa, you'll first need to open its desktop application — displayed as a tall rectangle as big as a smartphone — and then say "Hey Alexa." You'll be able to perform the same commands as ever with the voice assistant — checking your calendar, managing smart-home devices and playing music, podcasts and other content — but we wonder if Alexa will ever take over some of the PC-management powers from Cortana.
Acer says its Switch 7 Black Edition (due this month) and Spin 5 laptops will be among its notebooks to offer Alexa. Both feature microphones that support far-field voice recognition, so you can chirp at your PC from up to 9 feet away. On PCs with dual-mic setups, you'll have to come within 3 feet to activate Alexa.
Other notebooks in Acer's Switch and Spin lineups — as well as its Aspire and Swift notebooks — will also get Alexa. The assistant will initially be made available to a select number of machines as an update from the Acer Care Center app, and then roll out to more PCs mid-year.
Asus will be adding Alexa to select ZenBook and VivoBook notebooks during the first half of 2018, with specific models to be announced.