Motorola picks Amazon’s Alexa as its voice assistant

Tech Crunch

Tech Crunch

, UK Tech

From ‘Hey Alexa’ to ‘Hello Moto’… Motorola has announced a partnership with ecommerce giant Amazon that will see the latter’s voice assistant tech embedded natively into most of Motorola’s devices in future.

“Later this year will see deep integration of Alexa on Motorola smartphones with Alexa wake-up words. There won’t be any keys to press, no screen to unlock — you will simply talk to Alexa when the device is around,” said Motorola’s Dan Dery, VP global product lead, speaking at a press conference here at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona.

“This is going to be in most of our devices moving forward,” he added.

Dery also showed off a forthcoming mod concept (pictured above) for the hardware-extensible Moto Z smartphone that will also integrate Amazon’s voice tech — but this time encased in a bedside dock with Harman Kardon speakers embedded.

Dery was joined on stage by Amazon’s Jon Kirk, director Alexa voice services and Alexa skills, to announce the partnership. Kirk talked up growing numbers of third party partnerships, and noted Alexa now has more than 10,000 so-called ‘skills’ built by third party developers — enabling the company to extend the functionality of its voice-controlled virtual assistant (via a set of voice APIs).

Kirk said Amazon is excited about the collaboration with Motorola because it aligns with the company’s vision for the service, talking up the “momentum” behind the voice tech and saying the company also wants to “offer more choice” for how Alexa can be used.

Moto is not the first company to announce a plan to pre-load Alexa onto its smartphone hardware — back at CES Huawei said it would be doing so on a mid-range phone destined for the US. However the partnership with Motorola for handsets appears far more extensive. (Though Alexa can already also be found in all sorts of other types of devices.)

Also today it emerged that Google voice assistant tech, the eponymous Google Assistant, is being rolled out to all newer Android devices. But it looks like Motorola, at least, will be favoring Amazon’s Alexa over Google’s AI.

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