Amazon to Debut New Alexa Device with Phone and Intercom Capabilities This Very Year

6 Mar

By Anmol Sachdeva, The Tech Portal

While Google Home is trying to eat into Amazon Alexa’s market share, the latter is now working on a new feature set to continue to hold an advantage over its competitors. Amazon is now said to be building one (or more) Alexa-powered smart speakers with phone calling and intercom capabilities for release in 2017, reports Recode.

This new Alexa device will enable you to initiate phone calls via just another voice command. It will allow you to place phone calls to other Amazon Alexa-powered devices, thus, building sort of an intercom system between the two. The information about this feature and its working is currently bleak. The new device with updated specs and features is said to be under internal beta testing. Thus, the e-e-commerce giant is expected to make an official announcement in the coming months, says the report.

Earlier this year, a report suggesting that both Google and Amazon were planning to introduce telephony to its smart home devices had surfaced online. But, it now seems Amazon is spearheading the initiative to beat Google to the punch, who’s said to be operating neck-to-neck in terms of features. And a telephony feature could further help the smart speaker maintain its reign over a market it helped gain popularity.

But, as mentioned earlier, the phone and intercom features do come with privacy and security concerns and the technology giants were looking for a solution to plug the same. It seems Amazon may have figured out how to store and manage a phonebook and the call’s metadata, leaving the recording out of the loop. There had also been voice quality and seamless call tranfer apprehensions, but Amazon will fix them before a release later this year.

Alexa has now amassed over 10,000 third-party skills, making it way more useful in the home. Google Home, on the other hand, pips Amazon Echo on the contextual conversation front. It is capable of holding a conversation while Alexa isstill learning to do the same. Both of them, however, are also said to be working on differential voice recognition as well. But, other AI voice assistant competitors such as Line’s Clova and Microsoft’s Cortana are also expected join them in this smart home party soon.