Amazon’s Alexa App is now available for free at the Microsoft Store.
The app works on all Windows desktops that run the version of Windows 10 or higher.
The app was already previously available, but not from the Microsoft Store, and could be used on compatible PCs.
However, now users can download the Alexa app directly from Microsoft’s website onto their PCs and manage the updates as well.
But only PCs that are compatible will be able to access the handsfree features, as is used in smartphones, just by saying the word “Alexa.”
For Compatible Devices
It had been hinted right from the month of August this year that Amazon would bring its virtual assistant, Alexa, as a desktop app available to be accessed at the Microsoft Store.
Compatible devices that run the Windows 10 in the S Mode will be able to install the app just as they manage other Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps.
There is no requirement of any additional hardware for using the Alexa app on PCs.
It makes use of the built-in microphones and the speakers of your desktop for performing the wake word tasks.
Tapping into Alexa
Users can now issue voice commands to Alexa and perform all the activities that they normally do using Echo devices.
For instance, they will be able to use the app for controlling smart home devices, listening to an audio book or checking an upcoming event in their calendar, creating a list, answering a question, reading the news or setting a time, and so on.
The Alexa app for PC will allow users to access the thousands of Alexa skills which developers have built for the app.
Installation and Setup
Here’s how to install and set up the Alexa app for your Windows computer:
- Go to the Start Menu on your Windows PC and go to the Microsoft Store App.
- Next, search for Alexa.
- Check out the System requirements in order to see whether your PC is compatible and then go to “Get.”
- From there, follow the instructions that appear on the screen for installing the Alexa app.
Some PCs already have the Alexa app pre-installed. For setting it up, log in to your Amazon account to start using the app.
If your PC is compatible with the access for the hands-free feature, you just have to say the wake up word, “Alexa,” and then make your request, command or question.
In order to check out whether your device has this access, you can open the Alexa App from your desktop menu and opt for Settings.
From here, see if it is possible to choose the wake word option.
If your device is not compatible with the wake word functionality, you can invoke the virtual assistant by using the keyboard shortcut for it.
This means that non-compatible Windows PC users will have to manually interact with Alexa in order to communicate with the virtual assistant.
You can check out the latest skills of the Alexa app by opening the App and selecting “Things to Try.”
The Alexa app for Windows 10 allows users to control music and also control other smart home devices.
However, at present, there is no support for controls related to video calling, Spotify or Pandora within the Alexa app for PCs.
Amazon has also not added any controls for accessing Windows features. However, according to the company, such features that are specific to desktops will also be added in the coming year 2019, along with updates on a regular basis.
Alexa Cortana Integration
Just a few months back, an integration with Alexa and Cortana was launched. The integration allows Cortana users to access Alexa, and vice versa.
The integration was also useful for PC users, but with the release of the official Alexa app for Windows 10, users will have an improved their choice for accessing Alexa from their laptop or their PCs.
Due to the recent partnership between Microsoft with Amazon, Alexa now also offers support for the Microsoft Xbox One gaming console.
New PCs with Native Support
Many desktop makers, such as Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo and others, have started releasing the latest PCs having the Alexa app already built in them. The Alexa app for PCs is currently available in the U.S., the U.K. and in Germany.