Acer announced this morning that it is the first to ship notebook PCs preinstalled with Amazon Alexa. It won’t be the last.
“We’re delighted to work with Acer to bring Alexa to customers in new ways,” Amazon Alexa vice president Steve Rabuchin says. “We believe customers should be able to interact with Alexa wherever they might need her, including from their PCs, in order to take advantage of the simplicity of voice control.”
That says a lot, I think, about one of Microsoft’s most recent failures. After all, Windows 10 PCs already ship with voice control in the form of Cortana. But that is, perhaps, something that many consumers would never even notice: Cortana usage and capabilities lack far behind those of the digital personal assistant market leaders, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. And a PC will work as a secondary device, when it comes to voice control, behind smartphones and even smart speakers.
Acer notes that its customers will be able to ask Alexa about the weather, make additions to their calendars, create lists, answer questions, and play favorite music, podcasts, and audiobooks. You know, all the types of things they’re doing today on Alexa-powered smart speakers.
Which raises an interesting point: As Amazon recently noted, it’s seeing new demographics, like older people and country music fans, embrace Alexa. These are the types of users who would still use PCs, so adding Alexa to those devices makes some sense.
As for the PCs, Alexa will be available on several models of the Acer Spin 3 and Spin 5 lines starting this week. But the firm intends to roll out this technology across its entire notebook PC portfolio, and quickly. Alexa will be pre-installed on the Acer Nitro 5 Spin convertible gaming notebook line, which arrives next month. And it will be available on select Aspire, Switch and Swift notebooks, and Aspire all-in-one PCs, over the next few weeks.
As noted, Acer isn’t alone: HP has also announced plans to add Alexa to its PCs, as have ASUS and Lenovo. Amazon announced Alexa for PC back in January, and if you’re not familiar with how that works, Brad has a nice hands-on write-up.