Skip to main content

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

Image used with permission by copyright holder

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
The best Windows 10 keyboard shortcuts
Close up of Microsoft Surface Pro 6 keyboard.

Keyboard shortcuts can speed up even the most mundane of Windows 10 tasks. Learning the best of them can make your PC experience faster, more efficient, and, in some cases, even more enjoyable.

These are the essential Windows 10 shortcuts that can make you feel more like a PC wizard. A master of the keys, so to speak.

Read more
I review PCs for a living — here are the apps I install on every device
A bird's eye view of a person working on a laptop.

Since I started reviewing laptops here at Digital Trends, I've worked on over 240 devices. That means I always have a device or two to use, but the machines themselves aren't so important. It's what I can do with them that counts. That's why I install a core group of applications on every laptop I set up.

Going through the process of setting up a new laptop several times a month means I have a list of applications I reach for. If you're setting up a new PC for the first time, here's what you should download.
The basics

Read more
Microsoft is removing a Windows app that’s almost 30 years old
Computer user touching on Microsoft word icon to open the program.

Microsoft is saying goodbye to WordPad, its long-supported rich text application, which will no longer receive updates as of September 1.

The brand recently announced that the app is now among its list of deprecated Windows features. Microsoft explained the difference between deprecation and removal, noting that the former is when a feature is at the end of its life cycle and is no longer in active development, and the latter is when a feature is removed after having been deprecated.

Read more