We already know that Cortana and Alexa are getting closer (eventually), but we didn't exactly see this one coming. At CES 2018, ASUS, HP, and others such as Lenovo have announced new Windows 10 PCs with built-in support for Amazon Alexa.
And that's pretty exciting.
For ASUS, select ZenBook and VivoBook models to be announced during the first half of 2018 will come with the new Alexa support:
Voice is a natural interface for interacting with technology and can make everyday tasks simpler," said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. "We're delighted that ASUS will bring the Alexa experience to its laptop models – providing hands-free voice capabilities, and tens of thousands of skills, to PC customers at their desks and on-the-go.
HP's first Alexa PC is the latest version of the Pavilion Wave desktop:
Voice integration for powerful experiences: Customers can control music, timers, alarms, smart home devices and more simply by asking Alexa while web browsing, working, or streaming content. It now will offer a custom LED to indicate Alexa is listening. Working with Intel and Amazon engineers to optimize Intel® Smart Sound Technology to help deliver a hands-free experience, the 360-degree multi-directional reflective audio can hear voice commands from any angle.
By all accounts it looks like Alexa on the PC will be just the same as using Alexa on an Amazon Echo, with access to the same skills and the same smart-home capabilities. Until now, the only way to interact with an Alexa device on the PC has been through a web app, but this essentially looks like having an Echo in your computer.