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Huawei Snubs Google, Ships An Android Phone With Alexa (reuters.com) 63

Huawei announced its flagship handset will gives users access to Amazon's Alexa assistant in the U.S., suggesting a new worry for Google, according to Reuters. An anonymous reader writes: "The adoption of Alexa by a prominent Android manufacturer indicates that Amazon may have opened up an early lead over Google as the companies race to present their digital assistants to as many people as possible, analysts said." Analyst Jan Dawson at Jackdaw Research even told Reuters that if Google's personal assistant lags in popularity when voice becomes the most popular interface, "that's a huge loss for Google in terms of data gathering, training its AI, and ultimately the ability to drive advertising revenue."

Tension may have started when Google decided to debut Google Assistant on their own Pixel smartphones. "While Google has expressed an interest in bringing its assistant to other Android smartphones, the decision to debut the feature on its own hardware may have strained relations with manufacturers, Dawson said. 'It highlights just what a strategic mistake it can be for services companies to make their own hardware and give it preferential access to new services.'"

Nvidia announced this week at CES that they'd be using Google Assistant for their Shield TVs, while Whirlpool and Ford both announced Alexa-enabled products. But this article argues Google Assistant has one thing that Alexa doesn't have: a search engine.
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Huawei Snubs Google, Ships An Android Phone With Alexa

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  • What's the point? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TodPunk ( 843271 ) on Sunday January 08, 2017 @12:50PM (#53628573) Homepage

    I'm still waiting for the digital "assistants" to be able to do much. I've played with them, and they are very, very basic. The number of things they can do accurately and reliably is quite small, and that's if you don't have an accent or quirks in your speech. I can't even get any of them (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) to reliably play a song that isn't from their preferred music store. They are all like that in almost all of their functions. It's a walled garden of suck.

    I will give Amazon the credit that they're so far the only ones that have published a list of the things you can say to their Alexa. This is really useful support info and lets me know that it's mostly about ordering things and really basic queries like the population of a town or the conversion of quarts to ounces.

    • >I'm still waiting for the digital "assistants" to be able to do much.

      We use ours to control the insteon switches. That's about it. It's very handy to be able to say "turn off all the lights".

      • by TodPunk ( 843271 )

        Nice! On the one hand, I completely agree that this is a very handy feature. On the other hand, you're essentially describing a very complicated "clapper" here, right? I don't at all wish to imply that this complication could not have advantages, like not turning off the lights when someone just gets excited or whatever. Just seems like a bit of a Rube Goldberg machine for turning off lights.

        • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
          So for myself one of the uses is this: "Alexa turn on the Theater"

          - Sets the lights. Turning some off, others to 10%, color temp to 2200K
          - Turns on the TV
          - Turns on the Receiver
          - Turns on the BD player
          - Sets the input on the TV to HDMI2
          - Sets the input on the Receiver


          Can't do that with a clapper.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            You can do it with one button on a programmable remote. So - meh ?

            • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

              You can do it with one button on a programmable remote. So - meh ?

              Not from a different room.

              • by TodPunk ( 843271 )

                He didn't specify it was an IR remote. =c) Radio remote would be fine. A phone widget button could do it, wouldn't even need to open an app.

                • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

                  He didn't specify it was an IR remote. =c) Radio remote would be fine. A phone widget button could do it, wouldn't even need to open an app.

                  Yes, getting an RF remote to IR bridge (it is my gear we are talking about here, and it doesn't use RF it uses IR), and placing them all over my house or picking up my phone, unlocking it, and launching an app, finding the right screen, and pressing a button on it is much easier than just saying "Alexa, turn on the theater".

            • Can you do it with a programmable remote from the kitchen when your hands are covered in meat juice? (With out having to decontaminate the remote after?)

          • Of course you can do it with a clapper. Have the clapper play a message that says "Hey Alexa..."
        • It has certain advantages compared to the clapper, like you can give aliases to groups of things, like 'fucking lights' as well as 'all the lights'. So when you need emphasis, it still listens.

          Alexa is just a voice interface, you still have the insteon app. Also insteon lets you have a switch act as a master to other switches, so when they put in way too many light switch circuits, you can have all the independent switches in each room turn on and off all the lights in that room. So whatever the drunk build

      • by Ralgha ( 666887 )
        How did you interface it with the Insteon system?
    • I can't even get any of them (Siri, Alexa, Cortana) to reliably play a song that isn't from their preferred music store.

      The great catch 22. Why do you think they are good at their own music store? Because they can scrape the data and pronunciations and identify what you mean by things. But then we don't want to give these assistants access to any of our lives or data because of privacy, so all we're able to do is complain that they aren't personally useful to us because they don't understand people's names, or that M83 is a galaxy not a band, or that when I say Guus I'm not saying Kroos because I happen to have some dutch mu

      • So wait, are you arguing for giving even more data to Google because it will help them make their fucking AI even better at manipulating you? Who would have thought that the legacy of Western Civilization and Christianity was to create a society that, upon realizing God wasn't real they went about creating one themselves. Have fun with your Google CyberJesus. I'm afraid I'll be dragged along for the ride, bitter that people like you enabled the forthcoming cyberpunk dystopia just so you could turn your f

        • So wait, are you arguing for giving even more data to Google because it will help them make their fucking AI even better at manipulating you?

          No I'm saying put up or shut up. Google isn't fucking psychic and one can only work with the data they have. But since you use the word manipulating I can see you're not in a mindset capable of having this discussion maturely. Thanks for invoking God though. I can see now I'm dealing with a fanatic and there's no point in talking to you any further.

    • Google has published a list of questions you can ask its assistant, they list it right in their commercial!
      1. How big is a blue whale?
      2. What noise does a whale make?
      3. Do whales sleep?

      There, now you have it!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

  • since android is built on Linux and is (mostly) open source eventually google's dominance on android would meet competition sooner or later and it would take a big player with deep pockets to do it and Amazon is a player that meets those qualifications, maybe within a couple of years there will be android phones that gets system updates from Amazon, or maybe the Co-Op method of development where several hardware vendors and phone service carriers will all pitch in on the development of the OS and apps that
  • So what is Alexa good at except ordering unwanted doll's houses? [slashdot.org]

    • Wow, what a find! Thanks for sharing. You're great!

    • by hawguy ( 1600213 )

      So what is Alexa good at except ordering unwanted doll's houses? [slashdot.org]

      Except Alexa wont accidentally order an unwanted dollhouse, if you ask it to order a dollhouse, it will rattle off a list of matches and ask you which one you want.

      I can believe it's so easy to order that a child can do it, but that's kind of the point of Alexa/Echo -- make it easy to order. You can add a shopping PIN if you don't want your 4 year old to order a dollhouse.

      • No, it wouldnt ask for any of the Amazon Choice items. It is a preselected item, so you dont have to listen to a list of matches and choose one just by the name. The point is to "make it easy to order", right? That is exactly what they are doing. They may have removed doll house, temporarily from the list, because of news going around, but it will work for the rest of items on Amazon Choice.

        And PIN not being compulsory is certainly Amazon's fault. Even if you know how to set a pin, it will affect many other

  • After a year of so living with Alexa I find her to be exceptionally useful for many things, not including deep searches. For everyday things (and being Amazon, for selling things) she does a marvelous job but the AI behind Alexa is pretty much an Eliza-class AI. Google has and is in the position to continue developing better deep-thinking AI's, as does IBM.

    I think Google and Amazon need to bury the hatchet, and add "Alexa, Ask Google..." to Alexa's skill set. There comes a time when a user wants a better

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      The problem with digital assistants is they are not assistants by any stretch of the imagination. Far more accurately they are corporate spies and overseers, that monitor you 24/7/365 and report on you to the corporate controller. That corporate controller then tells your supposed digital assistant to tell you what to do, so more like a corporate remotely controlled digital overseer making you the slave who obeys.

      I am cutting back on all this crap, until all services are localised, no cloud controlled by

    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      "Alexa, Ask Google..."

      Alexa, according to Google, which door leads to freedom?

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