Amazon has released an update for all Alexa-compatible devices, enabling them all to take advantage of its Announcements feature. Announcements lets Alexa devices act as an intercom system, and you can now do it across non-Echo hardware – including Facebook’s Portal, Fire TV Cube and Alexa-enabled Bose speakers.
Previously, the Announcements feature was only available on Echo devices – working across the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Spot and Echo Show – as well as Alexa-enabled Sonos speakers. But from today, Announcements is now available for (almost) any Alexa-enabled device.
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Amazon says the only qualifier for third-parties wanting to use the feature is that it will be made available to devices “that pass the provided self-tests and certification”. After this, certified devices will receive all updates to the Alexa Voice Service – enabling new features like Announcements when Amazon releases them.
The Announcements feature is activated by the phrases, “Alexa, announce that…”, “Alexa, tell everyone…” and “Alexa, broadcast…”.
Announcements then works like an intercom system – whatever the user says next is broadcast across all connected Alexa devices as a voice clip.
Before Announcements, Alexa-enabled devices could be used to call one another but only on a one-on-one basis. This functionality makes it ideal for things like calling your kids down for tea or asking if anyone knows where your car keys are.
Announcements can also be made from outside the home – you can use the Alexa mobile app when out and about to pester the folks at home.
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Announcements has been around for a while, but Amazon has been in the news over the last week for new initiatives.
A patent suggested Amazon might be considering releasing an Echo device that listens all of the time – without a wake word being spoken. The company has also been offering gift cards to certain individuals who were willing to have 3D scans of their bodies taken.