Amazon Alexa headed to PCs this year, challenges Cortana

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Amazon Alexa
Amazon's voice assistant, Alexa is headed to PCs this year. (Amazon)

Amazon’s voice-activated home assistant Amazon Alexa is making its way to a number of laptop and desktop models, challenging Microsoft’s own PC assistant Cortana on her own operating system.

Three giant computer manufacturers, including Acer, Asus, and HP, have partnered with Amazon in its push to spread its popular voice assistant to more third-party devices. These manufacturers have debuted brand new PC models that are designed to work with Alexa at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“Hands-free access to Alexa on PCs can be helpful to customers in many ways, like making it simple to interact with your smart home, get news or weather, set timers, and more,” Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, said. “This is a big step toward making Alexa available wherever customers might need her.”

Although Alexa users already have access to the voice assistant on PCs via an Amazon-sanctioned website, the partnership with PC manufacturers will make the usage of Alexa an experience that is much more integrated into using the PC. Consumers will be given easier access to the assistant without having to open up a website.

HP’s new Pavilion Wave has integrated special LED that lights up to indicate that Alexa is listening. The new PCs also come with brand new Intel audio processors that will help the devices hear and respond to people’s voices.

The addition of Amazon Alexa on Acer, Asus, and HP computers poses a major challenge to Microsoft’s own Cortana, which the company has integrated into its Windows operating system. However, with the advent of smart home devices, Cortana’s greatest weakness proved to be its lack of smart home controls.

Aside from its smart home connectivity, Alexa provides a more reliable natural language processing. Unfortunately for Microsoft, if more users decide to use Alexa over Cortana, it will receive fewer data to improve its services.