Move over Cortana – another voice-powered smart assistant might be on its way to Windows PCs. That’s according to a new report from CNET, which cites confirmation of talks between Amazon and Lenovo by an unnamed Lenovo executive as the source of the info. There’s no further detail on how far the talks progressed, but a PC-based presence for Alexa could have big benefits for both Amazon and computer OEMs.
Amazon seems to favor casting a wide net with its Alexa approach, and offers third-party access for both Alexa Skills, which allow other companies to integrate their services into the voice assistant; and for its Alexa Voice Service API, which lets other hardware makers put Alexa into their own device. As for Lenovo, it and other PC OEMs are always looking for differentiating factors that can help their hardware stand out from the rest of the Windows crowd.
Voice assistants on computers is also very on-trend – Microsoft put Cortana on Windows 10 PCs in 2015, and Apple is set to bring Siri to the Mac OS desktop with the launch of its big Sierra update sometime this fall. Amazon, of course, doesn’t make its own PC hardware or operating system, so partnering up would help it keep up with the Joneses without venturing too far beyond its core competencies.
It sounds from CNET’s report like it’s very, very early days in terms of any discussion between Lenovo and Amazon, but the possibility of such an arrangement is still intriguing. Personally, I can’t wait to ask Alexa to update my Windows Defender virus definitions.