Digging deeper into smart speakers reveals two clear paths

In a truly fascinating exploration into two smart speakers – the Sonos One and the Amazon Echo – BoltVC’s Ben Einstein has found some interesting differences in the way a traditional speaker company and an infrastructure juggernaut look at their flagship devices. The post is well worth a full read but the gist is this: […]

Boost VC backs Storyline’s Alexa skill builder

Have you felt a disconnect with your Alexa and wished she could share more of your sense of humor or tell you an actually scary ghost story? Startup Storyline makes designing your own Alexa skills as easy and dragging and dropping speech blocks, and has just raised $770,000 in a funding round led by Boost VC to […]

Amazon’s Alexa app for iOS finally gets voice control

Way back at the beginning of the year (seemingly 24 or 25 months, at this point), Amazon brought voice control to its Alexa app for Android. The move marked a big step toward the company’s push onto third-party mobile devices. At the time, it added that it would bring similar functionality to the iPhone “soon” […]

Motiv’s fitness ring can help you find a lost iPhone

I was surprisingly impressed when I tested out Motiv’s fitness ring. Honestly, I’m not a ring wearer myself, but it’s nice to see a hardware startup think outside the fitness band — and produce a surprisingly capable product in the process. The company’s also done a pretty decent job continuing to add features to the […]

This family’s Echo sent a private conversation to a random contact

A Portland family tells KIRO news that their Echo recorded and then sent a private conversation to someone on its list of contacts without telling them. Amazon called it an “extremely rare occurrence.” (And provided a more detailed explanation, below.) Portlander Danielle said that she got a call from one of her husband’s employees one […]

Alexa gets smarter about calendar appointments

As digital assistants improve, we’re learning new things to expect from them, but the tasks that a real-life assistant may have handled before can still be a bit of a challenge to home assistants. Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is gaining functionality to help it get smarter about working with your calendar. The new abilities will […]

SoundHound has raised a big $100M round to take on Alexa and Google Assistant

As SoundHound looks to leverage its ten-plus years of experience and data to create a voice recognition tool that companies can bake into any platform, it’s raising another big $100 million round of funding to try to make its Houndify platform a third neutral option compared to Alexa and Google Assistant. While Amazon works to […]

Suki raises $20M to create a voice assistant for doctors

When trying to figure out what to do after an extensive career at Google, Motorola, and Flipkart, Punit Soni decided to spend a lot of time sitting in doctors’ offices to figure out what to do next. It was there that Soni said he figured out one of the most annoying pain points for doctors […]

Amazon’s new ‘Alexa Blueprints’ let anyone create custom Alexa skills and responses

Amazon this morning is introducing “Alexa Blueprints,” a new way for any Alexa owner to create their own customized Alexa skills or responses, without needing to know how to code. The idea is to allow Alexa owners to create their own voice apps, like a trivia game or bedtime stories, or teach Alexa to respond […]

Apple, in a very Apple move, is reportedly working on its own Mac chips

Apple is planning to use its own chips for its Mac devices, which could replace the Intel chips currently running on its desktop and laptop hardware, according to a report from Bloomberg. Apple already designs a lot of custom silicon, including its chipsets like the W-series for its Bluetooth headphones, the S-series in its watches, […]