Asus adds a handful of laptops to the Amazon Alexa ecosystem

Despite challenges from Google, Amazon's Alexa voice-controlled AI assistant and the Echo-series devices it uses as a host have managed to ensnare the lion's share of users. Amazon has so completely smothered the home voice AI market that Microsoft has even announced plans a while back to team with the e-tailer company. Over the last year we've seen smartphone makers add Alexa to their handsets, and now Asus has joined Acer in announcing that the voice bot is coming to 2018 models of its notebook PC lineups.

Asus wasn't ready to name any specific models with Alexa just yet, but the company did say it would annouce VivoBook and ZenBook laptops with Alexa integration in the first half of 2018. The manufacturer's announcement was light on details, but we suspect future Alexa models will sport the multi-microphone arrays that have become common on high-end laptops over the last few months.

We don't know whether Alexa support will be included from the get-go or if it'll be added after the new models have already been on the market. The Alexa integration on Asus laptops will vary by region, so gerbils in countries without Alexa support probably shouldn't get too excited just yet.

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    • Chrispy_
    • 2 years ago

    I really can’t stand Amazon stuff. My Kindle needed extra money before adverts went away, but at least that was it.

    I have experience of Kindle Fires of multiple generations and variants and I just assumed you could de-clutter them, sideload apps and change the horrible carousel inteface that Amazon give them by default.

    Turns out, after buying one for my Dad, that no – you can’t. There are no 3rd-party ROMs for the FireHD 7 or 10. There is no way to get rid of the carousel launcher (you can kludge it so that two launchers are running and you only occasionally see carousel) and installing the Google Play store is easy enough, but with a zillion caveats about what you can and can’t do from that point onwards, unless you want all the error messages all the time.

    I wouldn’t have a problem if the Carousel launcher was any good, but it isn’t. It’s not a launcher [i<]per se[/i<] it's an ever-present advertising platform where your own apps and content take a very distant and insignificant part of the stuff Amazon want you to buy. If the hardware existed in a vacuum it would be acceptable as a 'subsidisation' offset. "You want a decent cheap tablet $150 cheaper than anything else? Well sure - here you go but you have to watch our adverts!" But no. I'm deeply regretting not getting one of the excellent, unlocked, non-Amazon offerings from Asus or Lenovo for pretty much the same money. Perhaps in time people will make custom ROMs for them, but until then it feels very much like a freemium prison (both he and I are Prime subscribers, so it's kind of sickening how much the "BUY THIS NOW" stuff gets in the way of content and apps we already own or have paid for via Prime.

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