Amazon has unveiled reminders and named timers for Alexa, its powerful digital assistant that resides inside of the Echo line of smart speakers and some other smart devices. Rolling out today in the U.S., both the new features will hit all devices which have Alexa built-in. Both new features are pretty straightforward in what they offer. With reminders, users will now be able to speak to Alexa for anything from reminding them to pick up milk on the way home from work to paying the rent on the first of the month, or whenever the rent happens to be due.
Once a reminder is set, if a time is associated with it then the blue ring light on the Echo for example, would flash at the time that's specified in the reminder while Alexa would also speak to you and list off the reminder details. Reminders don't necessarily have to have a time set with the information contained within them, but having a date or a time tied to them will make the new feature work more efficiently, so it might be a good idea for users to get used to adding times or specific dates to any reminders they set.
As for the named timers, this is pretty self explanatory as well. Say you're cooking and you have more than a few different things going that need to be checked on but all at different times. For each step of the way you can have Alexa set a named timer so that each element in the cooking process has its own timer and you'll immediately know what it's for when the timer goes off, which should ultimately make the process go a lot smoother. It's also possible for users to check the remaining time on a named timer if they've forgotten how much time is left, which might be useful for freeing you up to go do something else, and if you simply need to cancel the named timer altogether, it's possible for Alexa to do that too. While the updates are hitting U.S. devices today, Amazon says it will be updating Alexa in Germany and in the UK to include these new features as well, though the updates for those regions will be "in the coming weeks."