Amazon has revealed a number of nifty features that should be perfect for life in lockdown. If you already own an Echo or Alexa-powered device, you’ll be ready to take advantage of these additions right now. If you don’t already own an Amazon gadget – don’t panic. The company has unleashed a number of discounts on its devices – so there’s no excuse.
In a new blog post, Amazon has highlighted some of the most useful features and Skills (its name for apps for the always-listening smart speaker range) that it believes will help life in lockdown. Despite some changes, the vast majority of people in the UK are still living under strict lockdown conditions. And Amazon believes chatty voice assistant Alexa can lend a helping hand to some of the toughest aspects of life inside almost every hour of the day – whether you’re working, exercising, or taking school classes remotely inside your home.
Here are the Alexa Skills and in-built features that Amazon believes will make life in lockdown a little simpler…
Cooking at Home: If you’re struggling to keep the menu exciting when eating at home every night, Alexa might have the solution. Amazon has highlighted the BBC Good Food skill as a great example of the cooking skills available for Alexa. Besides all things banana bread, this skill can guide you through dozens of other recipes for breakfast, lunch or dinner …all you need to do is source the ingredients.
Staying Active: In England, people are now allowed to leave home for exercise multiple times a day, while those in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are still restricted to a single outing a day. Thankfully then, Amazon’s nifty Echo smart speakers can guide you through a range of activities to try inside your home. For example, The Body Coach skill is as easy to kickstart as saying “Alexa, start The Body Coach” to get active with a quick 15-minute HIIT workout in the comfort of your own home, or garden led by Joe Wicks.
Family Fun: With a huge selection of entertainment skills and games to try, Alexa can play host – so that everyone in your home can join in. Some of the best examples include the Official Harry Potter Quiz or Sherlock Holmes: The Great Game. This should save you from ever having to put pen to paper and write your own questions for Family Quiz Night.
Home School Hacks: There is a huge question mark over whether schoolchildren will be going back to the classroom anytime soon. In the meantime, why not try the Maths Coach skill to solve maths problems. Alexa now offers five levels of difficulty to really put you through a challenge – if you’re finding things a little too easy at the moment.
Entertainment for Everyone: Stuck with things to keep you entertained in lockdown? If you’ve run out of binge-worthy boxsets on Netflix, Amazon Echo lets you listen to audiobooks and podcasts with a simple ask. If you own a book on an Amazon Kindle and Audible audiobook, you’ll be able to pick-up at the exact sentence where you stopped reading on your e-reader the previous night when the audiobook kicks-in.
Helpful Hints and Inspiration: Increase your productivity by asking Alexa to set reminders for upcoming moments or say something along the lines of “Alexa, announce that dinner’s ready” for helping hand around the house.
Have Some Fun: Try out some of our favourite phrases like, “Alexa, beatbox” or “Alexa, fart” for some light heard entertainment that will have you and the family laughing for hours.
Amazon Echo Deals
Amazon has dropped the price of its Echo smart speaker by £20 – from £89.99 down to £69.99. Unfortunately, the US retail giant hasn’t confirmed how long it will keep the AI-powered smart speaker at that price, so you’d better add to your basket sooner rather than later.
The Echo Dot, Echo Plus and every single Echo smart home device with a touchscreen – like the Echo Show 8 – has also dropped in the latest round of price cuts. Find the full details below.
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