The Alexa app for Windows 10 received an update today, which makes it work much more akin to Amazon's own Echo devices. The update makes Alexa hands-free, allowing you to invoke the digital assistant with just a voice command.
According to Amazon's release notes (opens in new tab), all you have to do to spring Alexa to life is say "Alexa," followed by your question or command. It doesn't matter if the Alexa app is running in the background or foreground; the command will work regardless.
In addition to the hands-free update, the latest version of the Alexa app also brings support for Pandora. Now, Pandora users can ask Alexa to play stations directly through the app.
All of this is in addition to the smart home controls and digital assistant niceties that the Alexa app shipped with when it launched in the Microsoft Store in November. To check out all of what's new, you can grab the latest version of Alexa from the Microsoft Store now.
See at Microsoft (opens in new tab)
Cheap PC accessories we love
Take a gander at these awesome PC accessories, all of which will enhance your Windows experience.
Anker 4 port USB 3.0 hub (opens in new tab) ($10 at Amazon)
Whether on a desktop or laptop PC, you always need more ports to connect things to. This hub gives you an additional four USB 3.0 Type A ports.
Ikea Fixa Cable Management System (opens in new tab) ($11 at Amazon)
This IKEA cable management kit is your ticket to a clean setup. It's simple and functional.
NZXT Puck (opens in new tab) ($20 at Amazon)
This clever little accessory has powerful magnets on the rear to make it stick to any of the metal panels on your PC case or anything else. It's great for hanging accessories like headsets.
Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cool. I'll be sticking with Cortana and Google (Invoke/Home Mini) but hopefully this proves to be really useful for Amazon users.
I wonder if this will carry over to the invoke speaker?
Not from Amazon it won't unless Microsoft ditches Cortana ;-)
Great news! Finally can control everything from any PC as well as my Echo devices. Next they need to integrate with Xbox..
Alexa is already integrated with Xbox. Albeit not on the Xbox, but if you're using Alexa already there's a pretty solid shout you have an Echo nearby. Use mine with the Xbox every day, love it!
I use it to turn on and off, but its not always reliable and launching content is often wrong. That said, I was surprised when I asked it about ESO and was told the daily quests. BTW, tested Alexa on PC and its got a very fast/accurate response, worked really well. Wish it could minimize to systray though instead of taskbar.
Hope it will be available soon in France...
Forget the old gag of 'when in India'? When anywhere else outside of North America Amazon??
Neat. Unfortunately the app doesn't minimize to the system tray, so it will never be open to be useful.
I think that may be a limitation of UWP, not sure about that. I also am annoyed that it's on my taskbar. That said, it works really quickly and accurately, pleasantly surprised about that.
Get the best of Windows Central in in your inbox, every day!
Thank you for signing up to Windows Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.