Six months after its October launch in the United States, Amazon Fire TV Stick with Amazon Alexa built into the remote is finally making its appearance in the United Kingdom. The streaming TV dongle is now available for pre-order on Amazon’s UK website.
That’s not the only feature addition on the new Amazon Fire TV Stick. It now comes with a quad-core processor that will make it up to 30 percent faster than the previous model.
Following in the footsteps of Siri on Apple TV remotes, Amazon Alexa comes in the remote control on the Fire TV Stick. Similar to the way Siri works on Apple TV remotes, using the built-in microphone, Fire TV Stick users can access third-party Alexa Skills as well, apart from being able to voice-search for TV programming, controlling playback, opening apps and so on.
Starting April 6, the device will also be available in retail outlets including Tesco, Maplin, John Lewis and Dixons. Pre-orders on Amazon.co.uk will also be released on April 6, 2017.
The proliferation of Amazon Alexa on connected devices continues as more and more product manufacturers integrate the smart voice assistance into their own product lines. Over the next few years we expect to see (or hear) Alexa’s familiar voice in other smart devices, connected cars, smartphones and other places where voice commands will play a big role in human-device interaction.
In a sense, voice is merely an additional method of giving commands to machines. Though it is evolutionary rather than revolutionary, the rise of machine learning and other components of artificial intelligence have made voice interaction more practical for consumer use.
We’ve had voice command devices (VCDs) for a long time. In fact, the field of speech recognition is nearly 85 years old. But until artificial intelligence came along, it has had severe limitations. Today, we take speech recognition for granted because nearly every tech company of note is developing its own voice-based smart assistant.
Products like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, Siri and Bixby will go a long way in promoting voice capability in products we use every day. And it’s growing because there’s massive commercial potential in this. As an example, even the most conservative source puts Amazon Echo and Google Home combined sales at more than 8.5 million devices as of 2016. Amazon Echo, Tap and Dot devices alone have sold 8.2 million units, per data from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP).
That figure is only going to grow even bigger, but the spread of Amazon Alexa has already begun in smart refrigerators, smart TVs, smartphones and other connected devices. The fact that these companies can provide cloud-based AI compute power has been a big contributor of the spread of voice-first devices, and we expect that trend to continue strongly for the next several years.
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