Amazon makes Alexa for PC app available for Windows 10

Amazon's Alexa for PC app, which adds Alexa support to compatible Windows 10 devices, is available from the Microsoft Store for free.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Amazon

Amazon's Alexa for PC app is available to download from the Microsoft Store as of today, November 8. The new app adds Alexa support on compatible Windows 10 devices.

No additional hardware is required to use the Alexa for PC app; it uses PCs' built-in microphones and speakers, enabling users to use the Alexa wake word to perform tasks. On non-compatible Windows PCs, users need to manual interact with the app to communicate with Alexa.

CNET: Best Black Friday deals 2018 | Best Holiday gifts 2018 | Best TVs to give for the holidays

The PC app allows users to do many of the same things they can do with other Alexa-enabled devices, such as control smart-home devices, ask questions, play music, read the news, set timers and alarms and manage calendars. The app works with the tens of thousands of Alexa skills that developers have built.

Amazon officials said that early next year, the company will add more capabilities to allow customers to "natively interact with the PC." The Alexa for PC app currently doesn't enable "PC-specific controls" at the current time, meaning users can't currently use Alexa to access specific Windows 10 features.

Currently, the Alexa for PC app also does not support video, communications, Spotify or Pandora.

A number of PC makers, including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo, have been releasing new PCs with Alexa already built in.

Separately, Microsoft and Amazon are continuing to test integration between Cortana and Alexa. This integration will allow Alexa users to talk to Cortana via their Echo devices and to Alexa on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers, which are powered by Cortana. Alexa (and Cortana) also can be used to control users' Xbox One consoles.

TechRepublic: A guide to tech and non-tech holiday gifts to buy online | Photos: Cool gifts for bosses to buy for employees | The do's and don'ts of giving holiday gifts to your coworkers

Microsoft is continuing to work to reposition Cortana as more of an assistance aide built into its Office applications and other of its products and services, rather than simply as a consumer-facing personal digital assistant.

Best gifts for co-workers under $50 on Amazon

Black Friday 2018 deals:

Editorial standards