Amazon.com Inc on Wednesday unveiled a slate of new and refreshed devices and updated its Alexa voice assistant with creative artificial intelligence to drive customers to unprofitable products as Google’s Competition is increasing from chatbots like Bard.
Alexa will communicate more naturally, shedding the robotic tone of nearly a decade, and answer questions like start times for football games and recipe ideas. It will also be able to write and recite poems, Amazon showed off at the company’s annual product launch in Arlington, Virginia.
Amazon introduced Alexa in 2014, but found no consistent means of monetizing it, instead driving shoppers to the company’s website for more purchases. Typically accessed through a speaker or active television, the service provides answers to user queries, such as the local weather, and can act as a hub for controlling home appliances.
The Seattle-based company has worked to develop Alexa in particular since OpenAI’s ChatGPT debuted in November with long text responses to complex questions. Similar chatbots have sparked an investor frenzy in generative AI startups.
“Now you can have an almost human-like conversation with Alexa,” Amazon’s hardware chief Dave Lump said at the event.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that Amazon’s hardware unit has faced changes in employee morale strategies and concerns that the company is not making popular consumer devices. Many of the products in development, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, are simply aimed at putting Alexa in more rooms of the home, such as carbon monoxide detectors that have the service.
Lump, who is leaving the company before the end of the year, showed how anyone can ask a series of questions without repeatedly using the “Alexa” wakeword, which is a feature for at least some Alexa devices. There are new features, such as the refreshed Echo Show 8.
At the event, Amazon also introduced the latest versions of Fire tablets for kids, a sound bar for televisions and new search capabilities for finding free content on the FireTV service.
Among the new devices Amazon has announced is the $180 Echo Hub wall-mounted touchscreen for controlling gadgets throughout the home. Amazon also revealed a new feature for its Alexa app that can map internet-connected devices throughout a user’s home for easy control.
Additional announcements included updates to EchoFrames glasses with Alexa embedded, and updated versions of its Blink outdoor security cameras and Aero Wi-Fi extenders.