Amazon may take on Microsoft's Cortana with Alexa voice assistant for PCs

Getting mouthy with the Kindle kings

Amazon Echo

With the success of its Amazon Echo products and Alexa speech recognition technology, Amazon has become a somewhat unlikely leader in the voice activated assistant race. It's now thought to be pushing into that space even harder, with rumors swirling that it'll take on Microsoft's Cortana on PCs.

CNET is reporting that Amazon has held early-stage discussions with Lenovo to explore the feasibility of integrating Alexa voice controls in the company's laptop line-up.

The details are sparse at present – with the majority of PCs running Windows, it's assumed that Alexa would act as a third-party alternative to Cortana, the Microsoft digital assistant built into Windows 10 by default.

With Alexa already dominating the voice assistant space in US living rooms, receiving regular upgrades and third party home automation support, it'd be an aggressively confident move to see Amazon taking on Microsoft on its own turf.

Partnering up

We caught up with Lenovo's Marketing, Customer/User Experience leader Dilip Bhatia at the IFA 2016 tech conference. While falling shy of confirming the rumor, he did note the impressive increase in voice control across computing devices, something that's not gone unnoticed at Lenovo.

"Voice activation in general has caught on. People are using voice on their phones and they're comfortable with it," said Bhatia.

"I see that voice activation will become part of mainstream computing in the near future, so there's no reason why you can't talk to PCs in the future. That's just the evolution of the PC. It's no longer about the personal computer, but voice is a bit part of that - it's around you. You'll see more and more of that going forward."

It's a busy time for voice assistants. As well as Amazon's Alexa, Google is preparing to push its Google Assistant, which will make its way into an Echo-rivaling Google Home product, while Siri is set to slide into macOS with the launch of the Sierra Mac operating system update.

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