Say goodbye to Cortana: An Alexa app is available on all Windows 10 PCs

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Some newer laptops recently arrived at the hands of consumers with Amazon Alexa integration onboard, but now anyone is free to enjoy the same experience on a regular Windows PC. Amazon revealed that its Alexa app is now available as a download on all Windows 10 PCs running the April 2018 Update, allowing for the conveniences of yet another digital assistant.

Similar to what is already available with Microsoft’s Cortana, the new Alexa Windows 10 app allows anyone to tap into the power of the virtual assistant to check calendars, play music, and fetch other important information. Anyone running the app can also use their PC to control certain Alexa smart home compatible products including lamps, fans, speakers, and lights. No other extra hardware is required and the download process involves a simple visit to the Microsoft Store on Windows.

“No matter where you are, with Alexa for your PC you can always talk to Alexa. Across the street or across the country, Alexa on your PC means Alexa is always with you, anytime, anywhere. Listen to your favorite podcast at the office, lock your back door from the airport, or check your calendar from a hotel room,” explains Amazon.

Unfortunately, only select newer PCs are compatible with hands-free integration which allows for a “Hey, Alexa” phrase to wake the assistant. These include both the Acer Spin 5, HP Pavillion Wave, Acer Aspire 5, and the HP Envy. Everyone else without these PCs can still interact with Alexa manually by starting the app or using a keyboard shortcut.

Alexa on Windows 10 also doesn’t currently allow consumers to directly control their PC, but Amazon notes there are upcoming plans for adding the capabilities in 2019. Additionally, the Alexa Windows 10 app currently doesn’t support video communications or music services like Spotify or Pandora, according to Amazon.

The overall Alexa experience can be impressive for consumers who aren’t happy with Cortana, Microsoft’s virtual Windows 10 assistant. While it doesn’t play nicely with Windows features when compared to Cortana, Amazon’s Alexa app offers many third-party skills sets including the ability to play games like Jeopardy and buy items online. It also presents an experience relatively similar to the Alexa mobile apps on iOS and Android, which some might find more convenient.

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