Google Home is a brand of smart speakers developed by Google. The first device was announced in May 2016 and released in the United States in November 2016, with subsequent releases globally throughout 2017 and 2018. Google Home speakers enable users to speak voice commands to interact with services through Google's personal assistant software called Google Assistant. A large number of services, both in-house and third-party, are integrated, allowing users to listen to music, control playback of videos or photos, or receive news updates by voice. Google Home devices have integrated support for home automation, letting users control smart home appliances with their voice. Multiple Google Home devices can be placed in different rooms in a home for synchronized playback of music. An update in April 2017 brought multi-user support, allowing the device to distinguish between up to six people by voice. In May 2017, Google announced multiple updates to Google Home's functionality, including: free hands-free phone calling in the United States and Canada.
The original Google Home has a cylindrical shape with colored status LEDs on the top for visual representation of its status. The cover over its base is modular, with different color options available through the Google Store for matching with home decor. In October 2017, Google announced two additions to the product lineup, the miniature puck-shaped Google Home Mini and the larger Google Home Max. In October 2018, the company released the Google Home Hub, a smart speaker with a touchscreen video display. In March 2016, reports were published about Google developing a wireless speaker to compete against the Amazon Echo. Google Home was announced at the company's developer conference in May 2016, where it was announced that Home would run Google Assistant. In October 2016, the iOS and Android mobile app used to set up Google Home and Google's other streaming devices was renamed from "Google Cast" to "Google Home", leaving Google Cast as the name of the protocol that "sends" audio/video content to play back on another device.
The Google Home smart speaker was released in the US on November 4, 2016, in the UK on April 6, 2017. In May 2017, Google announced that Home would be heading to Australia, France and Japan in middle 2017, the device subsequently became available for pre-order in Canada on June 2, 2017, with a retail date of June 26. In July 2017, Google announced the release of Google Home in Australia on July 20, 2017, France on August 3, 2017, Germany on August 8, 2017, Italy on March 27, 2018. On October 4, 2017, Google announced Google Home Mini, a smaller, less expensive variant, released on October 19, 2017, as well as Google Home Max, a larger, more expensive variant, released on December 11, 2017; the Google Home and Home Mini were released in India on April 10, 2018. Various forms of both in-house and third-party services are integrated into Google Home, allowing users to speak voice commands to control interaction with them. Examples of supported services include Google Play Music, Spotify and iHeartRadio for audio, YouTube and Google Photos for videos and photos, Google Calendar and Google Keep for tasks, CNN, CNBC, BBC and The Wall Street Journal for news updates.
New services are integrated on an ongoing basis. Google Assistant, an intelligent personal assistant, is included as the main and only assistant in Google Home. Unlike its predecessor, Google Now, Assistant is able to engage in two-way conversations with users; the Wall Street Journal reported in October 2016 that Google hired writers from Pixar movies and The Onion satirical newspaper to develop a personality for the Assistant, with a long-term goal being to invoke a sense of emotional rapport in users. Users can connect and group together multiple Home speakers for synchronized playback of music in every room. A notable feature omission, multiple accounts, was criticized by JR Raphael of Computerworld in November 2016, but an update for users in the United States in April 2017 enabled the feature. Google Home can now recognize up to six different voices, pulling information from their different accounts depending on who's talking. Google Home has integration with each user's calendar, for adding reminders or appointments verbally.
Google Home includes home automation features, enabling owners to use it as a central hub to control smart devices. Examples of supported devices include the Chromecast digital media player, products from Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, LIFX, LightwaveRF, Logitech Harmony. In May 2017, Google announced multiple updates to Google Home's functionality, it now supports hands-free calling, letting users make calls to any landline or mobile phone in the United States and Canada for free. Google Voice users can set Google Home with voice number to make personal and business calls. There is no 9-1-1 emergency services support, however. "Proactive Assistance" enables the device to dictate updates to users without being asked, including updates on traffic before a scheduled event. "Visual Responses" let users send answers from Google Home onto their mobile device or Chromecast-enabled television. The device now supports Bluetooth audio streaming through compatible devices, the ability to schedule calendar appointments, with upcoming support for reminders.
On March 28, 2018, Google made the announcement via their blog that users would be able to pair any of their Google Home d
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is a South Korean multinational electronics company headquartered in Suwon, South Korea. Due to some circular ownership, it is the flagship company of the Samsung chaebol, accounting for 70% of the group's revenue in 2012. Samsung Electronics has assembly plants and sales networks in 80 countries and employs around 308,745 people, it is the world's largest manufacturer of consumer semiconductors by revenue. As of June 2018, Samsung Electronics' market cap stood at US$325.9 billion. Samsung is a major manufacturer of electronic components such as lithium-ion batteries, chips, flash memory and hard drive devices for clients such as Apple, Sony, HTC and Nokia, it is the world's largest manufacturer of Mobile phones and Smartphones, started with the original Samsung Solstice and the popularity of its Samsung Galaxy line of devices. The company is a major vendor of tablet computers its Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab collection, regarded for developing the phablet market through the Samsung Galaxy Note family of devices.
It has developed 5G capable smartphones and foldable phones. Samsung has been the world's largest television manufacturer since 2006, the world's largest manufacturer of mobile phones since 2011, it is the world's largest memory chips manufacturer. In July 2017, Samsung Electronics overtook Intel as the largest semiconductor chip maker in the world. Samsung has been criticized for low dividend payouts and other governance practices that favor controlling shareholders at the expense of ordinary investors. In 2012, Kwon Oh-hyun was appointed the company's CEO but announced in October 2017 that he would resign in March 2018, citing an "unprecedented crisis". Samsung Electric Industries was established as an industry part of Samsung Group in 1969 in Suwon, South Korea. While the group didn't have enough technology nor resources because it stepped into the industry even than the competitors within the country, although it attracted considerable amount of criticism from them for cooperating with the Japanese firms, Samsung Electric managed to establish a joint venture named Saumsung-Sanyo Electric with Sanyo and Sumitomo Corporation of Japan in the same year it entered into business.
Its early products were electronic and electrical appliances including televisions, Refrigerators, air conditioners and washing machines. In 1970, Samsung Group established another subsidiary, Samsung-NEC, jointly with Japan's NEC Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation to manufacture home appliances and audiovisual devices. In 1974, the group expanded into the semiconductor business by acquiring Korea Semiconductor, one of the first chip-making facilities in the country at the time; the acquisition of Korea Telecommunications, an electronic switching system producer, was completed at the start of the next decade in 1980. By 1981, Samsung Electric Industries had manufactured over 10 million black-and-white televisions. In February 1983, Samsung's founder, Lee Byung-chull, along with the board of the Samsung industry and corporation agreement and help by sponsoring the event, made an announcement dubbed the "Tokyo declaration", in which he declared that Samsung intended to become a dynamic random-access memory vendor.
One year Samsung announced that it developed a 64 kb DRAM. In the process, Samsung used technologies imported from Micron Technology of the U. S for a development of DRAM and Sharp of Japan for its SRAM and ROM. In 1988, Samsung Electric Industries merged with Samsung Semiconductor & Communications to form Samsung Electronics, as before that, they had not been one company and had not been a leading corporation together, but they were not rivals, as they had been in talks for a time, until they merged. Samsung Electronics launched its first mobile phone in the South Korean market. Sales were poor and by the early 1990s, Motorola held a market share of over 60 percent in the country's mobile phone market compared to just 10 percent for Samsung. Samsung's mobile phone division struggled with poor quality and inferior products until the mid-1990s and exit from the sector was a frequent topic of discussion within the company. Lee Kun-Hee decided; the company shelved the production of many under-selling product lines and instead pursued a process of designing and manufacturing components and investing in new technologies for other companies.
In addition, Samsung outlined a 10-year plan to shrug off its image as a "budget brand" and to challenge Sony as the world's largest consumer electronics manufacturer. It was hoped in this way Samsung would gain an understanding of how products are made and give a technological lead sometime in the future; this patient vertical integration strategy of manufacturing components has borne fruit for Samsung in the late-2000s. As Samsung shifted away from consumer markets, the company devised a plan to sponsor major sporting events. One such sponsorship was for the 1998 Winter Olympics held in Japan; as a chaebol, Samsung Group wielded wealth that allowed the company to invest and develop new technology rather than build products at a level which would not have a detrimental impact on Samsung's finances. Samsung had a number of technological breakthroughs in the field of memory which are commonplace in most electrical products today; this includes the world's first 64MB DRAM in 1992, 256 MB DRAM in 1994, 1GB DRAM in 1996.
In 2004, Samsung developed the world's first 8GB NAND flash memory chip and a manufacturing deal was struck with Apple in 2005. A deal to supply Apple with memory chips was sealed in 2005 and, as of October 2013, Sams
Tencent Holdings Limited is a Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate founded in 1998, whose subsidiaries specialise in various Internet-related services and products, artificial intelligence and technology both in China and globally. Its twin-skyscrapers headquarters Tencent Seafront Towers are based in Shenzhen. Tencent is the world's largest gaming company, one of the world's most valuable technology conglomerates, one of the world's largest social media companies, one of the world's largest venture capital firms and investment corporations, its many services include social network, web portals, e-commerce, mobile games, internet services, payment systems and multiplayer online games, which are all among the world's biggest and most successful in their respective categories. Offerings in China include the instant messenger Tencent QQ and one of the largest web portals, QQ.com. It owns the majority of China's music services, with more than 700 million active users and 120 million paying subscribers.
The company surpassed the market value of US$500 billion in 2018, becoming the first Asian technology company to cross the valuation mark. It has since emerged as one of Asia's most valuable companies, among the world's top technology companies by market value. Tencent has been credited as one of the world's most innovative companies by numerous media and firms, including Boston Consulting Group; as of 2018, Tencent has the 5th highest global brand value. Tencent controls hundreds of subsidiaries and associates in numerous industries and areas, creating a broad portfolio of ownerships and investment across a diverse range of businesses including search engine, e-commerce, video gaming, real estate, virtual reality, ride-sharing, financial services, consumer technology, computer technology, film production, movie ticketing, music production, space technology, natural resources, big data, medical services, cloud computing, social media, IT, streaming media, artificial intelligence, robotics, UAVs, food delivery, courier services, e-book, internet services and renewable energy.
It is one of the most active investment corporations in the world, with stakes in over 600 companies, recent focus on start-ups within Asia’s burgeoning tech scene. Tencent was founded by Ma Huateng, Zhang Zhidong, Xu Chenye, Chen Yidan and Zeng Liqing in November 1998 as Tencent Inc. Incorporated in the Cayman Islands, initial funding was provided to it by venture capitalists. In February 1999, Tencent's messenger product OICQ released. Shortly after, Tencent had its name changed to QQ; the company remained unprofitable for the first three years. South African media company Naspers purchased a 46.5% share of Tencent in 2001. Tencent Holding Ltd was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 16 June 2004, it was added as a Hang Seng Index Constituent Stock in 2008; the company derived income from advertising and premium users of QQ, who pay monthly fees to receive added extras. But by 2005, charging for use of QQ mobile, its cellular value-added service, licensing its penguin character, which could be found on snack food and clothing, had become income generators.
By 2008, Tencent was seeing profit growth from the sale of virtual goods. While Tencent's services have included online gaming since 2004, around 2007–2008 it increased its offerings by licensing games. While at least two, CrossFire and Dungeon Fighter Online, were produced by South Korean game developers, Tencent now makes its own games. On 21 January 2011, Tencent launched a social media app. Now branded as WeChat, the app is one of the world's most powerful social media apps, due to its wide range of functions and platforms, as well as having over 1 billion monthly active users. On 18 February 2011, Tencent acquired a majority equity interest in Riot Games, developer of League of Legends, for about US$230 million. Tencent had held 22.34% of the equity interest out of a previous investment in 2008. On 16 December 2015, Riot Games sold its remaining equity to Tencent Holdings. Tencent acquired a minority stake in Epic Games, developer of franchises like Unreal, Gears of War and Infinity Blade, in June 2012.
Tencent in 2013 increased its stake in Kingsoft Network Technology, a subsidiary of Kingsoft Corporation, to 18%. Tencent had a 15.68% stake in the company and raised the stake through a US$46.98 million investment. Tencent took part in Activision Blizzard splitting from Vivendi as a passive investor in 2013 and now owns less than 4.9% of the shares as of 2017. On 17 September 2013, it was announced that Tencent had invested $448 million for a minority share in Chinese search engine Sogou.com, the subsidiary of Sohu, Inc. On 15 January 2014, Tencent said it will invest HKD 1.5 billion in logistics and warehouse firm China South City Holdings Ltd to develop its e-commerce and logistics business. On 27 February 2014, Tencent purchased a 20-percent stake in restaurant ratings and group buying website Dianping for $400 million. On 10 March 2014, Tencent bought a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce website JD.com Inc. by paying cash and handing over its e-commerce businesses Paipai, QQ Wanggou and a stake in Yixun to JD.com to build a stronger competitor to Alibaba Group.
On 22 May 2014, JD.com got listed on NASDAQ and Tencent expanded its stake in the company to 17.43% on a diluted basis by investing an additional US$1,325 million. On 27
Essential Products is an American technology company and manufacturer founded on November 9, 2015 by Andy Rubin and based in Palo Alto. The company is not selling any products; the company was established in Palo Alto on November 9, 2015 by Android co-founder Andy Rubin, with funding from Playground Global. In December 2016, Brian Wallace, who left his occupation as chief marketing officer for Magic Leap a month prior, was working with Rubin. Trademarks with the'Essential' brand name were filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that same month. In January 2017, it was reported that the new company was planning to unofficially reveal a smartphone. In March, Rubin released an image. On May 25, the company teased a second image of the smartphone on its Twitter account. On May 30, the company announced both the smartphone, dubbed the Essential Phone, its smart speaker, Essential Home. In August 2017, it was reported that Amazon and Foxconn have invested in Essential Products. In August 2017, the company was valued as a unicorn.
On May 25, 2018, the company was reported to be for sale. In December 2018, Essential acquired owner of the discontinued mobile email app Newton. An Android smartphone; the Essential Home is a smart speaker and smart home hub running an Essential-designed operating system, named Ambient OS. The device was planned for a launch in late 2017 but has yet to release
Bluetooth is a wireless technology standard for exchanging data between fixed and mobile devices over short distances using short-wavelength UHF radio waves in the industrial and medical radio bands, from 2.400 to 2.485 GHz, building personal area networks. It was conceived as a wireless alternative to RS-232 data cables. Bluetooth is managed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, which has more than 30,000 member companies in the areas of telecommunication, computing and consumer electronics; the IEEE standardized no longer maintains the standard. The Bluetooth SIG oversees development of the specification, manages the qualification program, protects the trademarks. A manufacturer must meet Bluetooth SIG standards to market it as a Bluetooth device. A network of patents apply to the technology; the development of the "short-link" radio technology named Bluetooth, was initiated in 1989 by Nils Rydbeck, CTO at Ericsson Mobile in Lund, Sweden and by Johan Ullman. The purpose was to develop wireless headsets, according to two inventions by Johan Ullman, SE 8902098-6, issued 1989-06-12 and SE 9202239, issued 1992-07-24.
Nils Rydbeck tasked Tord Wingren with specifying and Jaap Haartsen and Sven Mattisson with developing. Both were working for Ericsson in Lund. Invented by Dutch electrical engineer Jaap Haartsen, working for telecommunications company Ericsson in 1994; the first consumer bluetooth launched in 1999. It was a hand free mobile headset which earned the technology the"Best of show Technology Award" at COMDEX; the first Bluetooth mobile phone was the Sony Ericsson T36 but it was the revised T39 model which made it to store shelves in 2001. The name Bluetooth is an Anglicised version of the Scandinavian Blåtand/Blåtann, the epithet of the tenth-century king Harald Bluetooth who united dissonant Danish tribes into a single kingdom; the implication is. The idea of this name was proposed in 1997 by Jim Kardach of Intel who developed a system that would allow mobile phones to communicate with computers. At the time of this proposal he was reading Frans G. Bengtsson's historical novel The Long Ships about Vikings and King Harald Bluetooth.
The Bluetooth logo is a bind rune merging the Younger Futhark runes and, Harald's initials. Bluetooth operates at frequencies between 2402 and 2480 MHz, or 2400 and 2483.5 MHz including guard bands 2 MHz wide at the bottom end and 3.5 MHz wide at the top. This is in the globally unlicensed industrial and medical 2.4 GHz short-range radio frequency band. Bluetooth uses. Bluetooth divides transmitted data into packets, transmits each packet on one of 79 designated Bluetooth channels; each channel has a bandwidth of 1 MHz. It performs 1600 hops per second, with adaptive frequency-hopping enabled. Bluetooth Low Energy uses 2 MHz spacing. Gaussian frequency-shift keying modulation was the only modulation scheme available. Since the introduction of Bluetooth 2.0+EDR, π/4-DQPSK and 8-DPSK modulation may be used between compatible devices. Devices functioning with GFSK are said to be operating in basic rate mode where an instantaneous bit rate of 1 Mbit/s is possible; the term Enhanced Data Rate is used to describe π/4-DPSK and 8-DPSK schemes, each giving 2 and 3 Mbit/s respectively.
The combination of these modes in Bluetooth radio technology is classified as a BR/EDR radio. Bluetooth is a packet-based protocol with a master/slave architecture. One master may communicate with up to seven slaves in a piconet. All devices share the master's clock. Packet exchange is based on the basic clock, defined by the master, which ticks at 312.5 µs intervals. Two clock ticks make up a slot of 625 µs, two slots make up a slot pair of 1250 µs. In the simple case of single-slot packets, the master transmits in slots and receives in odd slots; the slave, receives in slots and transmits in odd slots. Packets may be 1, 3 or 5 slots long, but in all cases the master's transmission begins in slots and the slave's in odd slots; the above excludes Bluetooth Low Energy, introduced in the 4.0 specification, which uses the same spectrum but somewhat differently. A master BR/EDR Bluetooth device can communicate with a maximum of seven devices in a piconet, though not all devices reach this maximum; the devices can switch roles, by agreement, the slave can become the master.
The Bluetooth Core Specification provides for the connection of two or more piconets to form a scatternet, in which certain devices play the master role in one piconet and the slave role in another. At any given time, data can be transferred between one other device; the master chooses. Since it is the master that chooses which slave to address, whereas a slave is supposed to listen in each receive slot, being a master is a lighter burden than being a slave. Being a master of seven slaves is possible; the specification is vague as to required behavior in scatternets. Bluetooth is a standard wire-replacement communications proto
In computer science, artificial intelligence, sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and animals. Computer science defines AI research as the study of "intelligent agents": any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of achieving its goals. Colloquially, the term "artificial intelligence" is used to describe machines that mimic "cognitive" functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as "learning" and "problem solving"; as machines become capable, tasks considered to require "intelligence" are removed from the definition of AI, a phenomenon known as the AI effect. A quip in Tesler's Theorem says "AI is whatever hasn't been done yet." For instance, optical character recognition is excluded from things considered to be AI, having become a routine technology. Modern machine capabilities classified as AI include understanding human speech, competing at the highest level in strategic game systems, autonomously operating cars, intelligent routing in content delivery networks and military simulations.
Artificial intelligence can be classified into three different types of systems: analytical, human-inspired, humanized artificial intelligence. Analytical AI has only characteristics consistent with cognitive intelligence. Human-inspired AI has elements from emotional intelligence. Humanized AI shows characteristics of all types of competencies, is able to be self-conscious and is self-aware in interactions with others. Artificial intelligence was founded as an academic discipline in 1956, in the years since has experienced several waves of optimism, followed by disappointment and the loss of funding, followed by new approaches and renewed funding. For most of its history, AI research has been divided into subfields that fail to communicate with each other; these sub-fields are based on technical considerations, such as particular goals, the use of particular tools, or deep philosophical differences. Subfields have been based on social factors; the traditional problems of AI research include reasoning, knowledge representation, learning, natural language processing and the ability to move and manipulate objects.
General intelligence is among the field's long-term goals. Approaches include statistical methods, computational intelligence, traditional symbolic AI. Many tools are used in AI, including versions of search and mathematical optimization, artificial neural networks, methods based on statistics and economics; the AI field draws upon computer science, information engineering, psychology, linguistics and many other fields. The field was founded on the claim that human intelligence "can be so described that a machine can be made to simulate it"; this raises philosophical arguments about the nature of the mind and the ethics of creating artificial beings endowed with human-like intelligence which are issues that have been explored by myth and philosophy since antiquity. Some people consider AI to be a danger to humanity if it progresses unabated. Others believe that AI, unlike previous technological revolutions, will create a risk of mass unemployment. In the twenty-first century, AI techniques have experienced a resurgence following concurrent advances in computer power, large amounts of data, theoretical understanding.
Thought-capable artificial beings appeared as storytelling devices in antiquity, have been common in fiction, as in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or Karel Čapek's R. U. R.. These characters and their fates raised many of the same issues now discussed in the ethics of artificial intelligence; the study of mechanical or "formal" reasoning began with philosophers and mathematicians in antiquity. The study of mathematical logic led directly to Alan Turing's theory of computation, which suggested that a machine, by shuffling symbols as simple as "0" and "1", could simulate any conceivable act of mathematical deduction; this insight, that digital computers can simulate any process of formal reasoning, is known as the Church–Turing thesis. Along with concurrent discoveries in neurobiology, information theory and cybernetics, this led researchers to consider the possibility of building an electronic brain. Turing proposed that "if a human could not distinguish between responses from a machine and a human, the machine could be considered "intelligent".
The first work, now recognized as AI was McCullouch and Pitts' 1943 formal design for Turing-complete "artificial neurons". The field of AI research was born at a workshop at Dartmouth College in 1956. Attendees Allen Newell, Herbert Simon, John McCarthy, Marvin Minsky and Arthur Samuel became the founders and leaders of AI research, they and their students produced programs that the press described as "astonishing": computers were learning checkers strategies (and by 1959 were playing better than the average human
Amazon Echo is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which responds to the names "Alexa", "Echo", or "Computer". Users may change this wake word to "Amazon", "Echo" or "Computer"; the features of the device include: voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, in addition to providing weather and other real-time information. It can control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. According to confirmed reports, Amazon started developing Echo devices inside its Lab126 offices in Silicon Valley and in Cambridge, Massachusetts as early as 2010; the device represented one of Amazon's first attempts to expand its device portfolio beyond the Kindle e-reader. The Echo featured prominently in Amazon's first-ever Super Bowl broadcast television advertisement in 2016. Amazon limited the first-generation Echo to Amazon Prime members or by invitation, but it became available in the United States on June 23, 2015.
The press speculated that it would make its Canadian debut in mid-to-late 2016, after Amazon posted job listings for developers for Alexa and co-hosted a hackathon in Toronto. The Echo became available in the United Kingdom on 28 September 2016. Additionally, the Alexa voice service is available to be added to other devices, Amazon encourages other companies' devices and services to connect to it; the Amazon Echo was first released in November 2014. However, for prime and invited members; the Amazon Echo was released in June 2015 in the U. S; the Amazon Echo was first released in October 2017 in the U. S. In the default mode, the device continuously listens to all speech, monitoring for the wake word to be spoken, set up as "Alexa". Echo's microphones can be manually disabled by pressing a mute button to turn off the audio processing circuit. Echo devices require a wireless Internet connection. Echo's voice recognition capability is based on Amazon Web Services and the voice platform Amazon acquired from Yap, IVONA.
The smart speakers perform well with a "good" Internet connection, which minimizes processing time due to minimal communication round trips, streaming responses and geo-distributed service endpoints. While the application is free, an Amazon account is required, setup is not possible without one. Echo devices offer weather from AccuWeather and news from a variety of sources, including local radio stations, BBC, NPR, ESPN from TuneIn. Echo can play music from the owner's Amazon Music accounts and has built-in support for other streaming music services like Apple Music, iHeartRadio, Sirius XM, Spotify among others, has support for IFTTT and Nest thermostats. Echo can play music from non-compatible music streaming services such as Google Play Music from a phone or tablet via Bluetooth. Echo maintains voice-controlled alarms, shopping and to-do lists and can access Wikipedia articles. Echo will respond to questions about items in one's Google Calendar, it integrates with Yonomi, Philips Hue, Belkin Wemo, SmartThings and Wink.
Additionally, integration with the Echo is in the works for Countertop by Orange Chef, Scout Alarm, Toymail, MARA, Mojio. Questions like "Who is Barack Obama?" are answered by reading the first few lines of the corresponding Wikipedia article. Echo devices have access to "skills" built with the Alexa Skills Kit; these are third-party-developed voice applications that add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device. Examples of skills include the ability to play music, answer general questions, set an alarm, order a pizza, get an Uber ridesharing car, more. Skills are continuously being added to increase the capabilities available to the user; the Alexa Skills Kit is a collection of self-service application programming interfaces, tools and code samples that make it fast and easy for any developer to add skills to Alexa. Developers can use the "Smart Home Skill API", a new addition to the Alexa Skills Kit, to teach Alexa how to control cloud-controlled lighting and thermostat devices. All of the code runs in the cloud — nothing is on any user device.
A developer can follow tutorials to learn how to build voice-response capability for their new and existing applications. In November 2018, a major new feature was launched; every past and present Echo device will be able to dial a number via Skype. Echos with display will offer full video Skype capability; the devices have natural lifelike voices resulting from speech-unit technology. High speech accuracy is achieved through sophisticated natural language processing algorithms built into the Echo's text-to-speech engine; as with all Alexa devices, the functionality of Echo smart speakers periodically evolves as Amazon releases new software for it. Most new releases fix bugs in addition to including enhanced functionality. New releases are pushed to the devices on a gradual basis so it may take several days to a week or more for a particular device to be updated; because much of Echo's intelligence lies in the cloud, significant functional enhancements can be made to Echo without updating the software version it is running.
For example, in April 2015, the Echo added the ability to give live sports scores without updating the software version running on the device. The first-generation Amazon