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Some Amazon Echo Devices Will Get Offline Alexa Voice Recognition Soon [Updated]

Amazon Alexa app UI logo AH 2020
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Amazon launched a bunch of new connected devices at its Sep 28 event. The company also said it is bringing some new privacy-related features to Alexa. Among these is the ability to have all Alexa voice commands processed directly on the connected device (via). In other words, Alexa can work offline.

This effectively means that Alexa commands aren’t sent to a cloud server, with the processing occurring on the device. Customers’ voice commands are automatically deleted from the Alexa device after it is processed, the company said. This is quite a significant update for Amazon’s Alexa devices which have faced criticism in the past for not being privacy-friendly.

One caveat with this new feature is that it will only work with the 4th-generation Echo and Echo Show 10, which uses Amazon’s AZ1 Neural Edge processor, as well as the Echo Show 15 which uses the newer AZ2 Neural Edge processor.

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A bulk of the new features will be exclusive to Echo Show devices

Separately, Amazon is partnering with Disney to add a new voice assistant to its supported Echo devices. Enabled through a “Hey, Disney” command, this will give users the ability to chat with their favorite Disney characters. Additionally, this revamped version of Alexa will also handle regular tasks like checking the weather, setting timers, reminders, and so on.

Amazon said the new “Hey, Disney” voice assistant can be bought from the Alexa Skills Store starting 2022. Moreover, it will be available on Echo devices in hotel rooms at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The e-commerce giant had an eventful Tuesday as it took the wraps off multiple new hardware and software features. Some of the new Alexa features will be exclusive to the company’s smart displays, including the new Echo Show 15.

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In a bid to provide more streaming options on the Echo Show, Amazon is bringing the Sling TV app to the lineup. This will complement the existing lineup of streaming apps that are currently available on the Echo Show.

Lastly, Echo devices that have a built-in camera can now access Amazon’s new Visual ID. This allows Alexa to recognize the user when they’re in the camera’s vision. Based on this authentication, the Echo device can show relevant content including reminders, TV shows, calendar entries, etc. This feature will be opt-in, the company clarified. Once set up, users also have the ability to delete their Visual ID from the platform.