Acer is proudly blazing the trail toward laptops with one of the most widely-used digital assistants across the world: Amazon’s Alexa. The Acer Spin 3 and Spin 5 – its latest mainstream laptops – will be updated with Alexa on May 26 and May 23, respectively.
This will allow both laptops to carry out nearly 100% of Alexa’s capabilities on Amazon’s Echo speakers from within Windows 10.
The laptops will also be the first to ship to retail stores and online retailers with the digital assistant pre-installed.
Of course, Acer has no intention of stopping with these two laptops. The Acer Nitro line of mainstream gaming laptops will feature the tool when they ship later this June, while choice Aspire, Switch and Swift laptops – as well as Aspire all-in-one PCs – will include it as well.
Making good mainstream laptops better
These two laptops were recently updated with the latest in Intel 8th generation processors – Core i3 to i5 for the Spin 3 and Core i5 to i7 for Spin 5 – with the Spin 5 also configurable with Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 graphics.
Both laptops offer up sharp, Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) multi-touch displays and microphones powered by Intel Smart Sound Technology, a digital signal processor that handles audio, voice and speech interactions. The Spin 3 and most other Acer laptops achieve this with near-field dual microphones, though the Spin 5 touts four far-field microphones.
This way, you can treat Alexa on your laptop more like you do on a smart speaker, issuing commands from across a room.
Of course, what this all amounts to are the functions of Alexa that you may already be used to from an Echo speaker, if not through Cortana, Microsoft’s own digital assistant built right into Windows 10. That means checking the weather, setting timers and calendar events, playing music, answering questions and smart home device management.
The Acer Spin 3 starts at $499 (£549, about AU$659) and the Spin 5 at $699 (£799, AU$999). Even if you’re not interested in these laptops, keep an eye on this space to see how Microsoft responds with Cortana across Windows 10 devices in the coming months.