Acer is breaking new ground in vocal recognition systems in portable computing by adding official Alexa support to its various laptop ranges. New laptops will have support at the point of purchase, and existing Acer laptop owners will gain support through updates in the near future — but only one of them will understand you from across the room.
Amazon’s Alexa-supporting smart speakers, including the Echo and Echo Dot, have proved to be quite popular, but its smart-assistant doesn’t need to be tethered to first-party hardware. Along with Amazon’s own speakers, smart TVs, and HP’s Pavilion Wave all-in-one, Acer has now launched Alexa support for its Spin laptops. Similar to existing products, these laptops will support all of the same smart functions.
Various other notebook manufacturers have promised Alexa support on their hardware this year, but Acer will be the first to actually ship systems with full support. The Spin 5 and Spin 3 will ship out to buyers with Alexa on board on May 23 and 26 respectively, with plans for the Nitro 5 Spin to debut in June. We’re also told that new systems in the Aspire, Switch, and Swift ranges will support Alexa at some point in the next few weeks.
Existing owners of Acer hardware will also be able to join in with the vocal revolution in the near future. Acer promised to update laptops through its Acer’s Care Center, starting with the Spin 5 on May 23, with other models and systems receiving their own updates in the following weeks.
All of the systems will have Alexa support through the onboard audio chip, and as with the smart speakers, users will merely have to use the Alexa wake word (“Alexa,” at default) to have it perform one of its various skills and functions. Although that part of Alexa’s operation will be comparable to the experience had with smart speakers like Amazon’s own, most of Acer’s new Alexa-supporting laptops do not have the capabilities to hear users accurately at range. Although the Spin 5 does support the far-field voice recognition for at-range listening-in, all of Acer’s other laptops will need users to be quite close to be heard clearly.