CES 2018: Amazon's Alexa to challenge Cortana

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Cortana will soon have a new friend (or foe) on Windows PCs: Alexa.

Amazon has also announced the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit which will enable OEMs to add Alexa to devices such as hearables, headphones, smart watches and fitness devices without having to start from scratch with coding for Alexa integration. Customers who connect their devices with the Amazon Alexa App will have access to all the features available through AVS, including streaming media, smart home capabilities, calendar management, weather updates, and thousands of Alexa skills.

He says that each assistant "brings aspects the other lacks", highlighting Alexa's skill at shopping and music, and Cortana's natural Windows integration.

READ NEXT:Starry Internet to expand wireless broadband service this month Windows PCs are a logical next step for Amazon's rapidly expanding Alexa.

HP plans to roll out Alexa for its HP Pavilion Wave desktop computer tower, which doubles as an audio speaker.

The tech giants, which are rivals on many fronts, made the joint announcement at this weeks's CES 2018 tradeshow in Las Vegas.

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And now Cortana is now sharing time with Alexa on the PC in a development that can't be good for Microsoft.

This could get awkward for Microsoft and Amazon.

Google Assistant, meanwhile, has expanded from Android devices to Google Home speakers and third-party devices, as well. Amazon Alexa has spread from the company's Echo speakers into a growing number of third-party devices, in settings ranging from the vehicle to the bathroom. "Cortana and Alexa can co-exist".

In an Acer press release, Jerry Kao, President of IT Products Business, said, "Acer is excited to be among the first brands to bring Alexa to PCs". Lenovo, HP, Asus, and Acer are building new Windows 10 devices-some of which are getting unveiled at CES this week-with far-field microphones that will let users activate Alexa with its hotword. Machines from these companies should include this feature. This is still going ahead, with the Alexa app integration forming a separate strategy from manufacturers.

Both HP and Acer are uses Intel's Smart Sound Technology to allow their computers hear voice commands from afar, at different angles, much as dedicated smart speaker devices do.

Acer said Alexa will be coming to select Aspire, Spin, Switch and Swift notebooks as well as an all-in-one PC. Details on ASUS's Alexa integration weren't immediately available.