Voice assistants from Apple, Google, and Amazon can be both delightful and frustrating to use. Sometimes I facepalm at how badly they misunderstand me, but truth be told, I am happy they exist because they do make living in a smart home much simpler. With the announcement that Anki Vector will receive an update to provide access to Alexa next week, it is quite possible that more of these little robots could find themselves a home.
A humble beginning
We covered Anki’s Vector Robot earlier this year when it was simply a Kickstarter campaign. Since being successfully funded, Anki Vector has been made available on Amazon and many other retailers. Overall, customers enjoy it, but I’m sure that many of them bought it based on the the feature that mentioned Alexa would be coming in a free software update.
Alexa update video
To showcase what Vector with Alexa can do, Anki uploaded a video to YouTube. While quite a few of its examples highlight smart home integrations that are popular with all Alexa-equipped devices, it’s hard to deny how neat having Vector’s little face display the information provided through Amazon’s voice assistant.
“We’re excited to work with Anki and provide customers with a charming new way to interact with Alexa around the home,” said Pete Thompson, Vice President of the Alexa Voice Service. “With Alexa, you can manage your schedule, create lists, access tens of thousands of skills, and more – all with just your voice.”
While many find it anything but cute when voice assistants make mistakes, there is something about the how Anki Vector looks and behaves in the video that makes me want to overlook any quirks or bugs that may come up.
It is quite possible that there may be some Alexa bugs specific to Vector; most of what users would experience are things that Alexa has some troubles with. Bearing that in mind, many folks interested in Vector could very likely have an Amazon Echo in their home and be used to seeing these from time to time.
Pricing and availability
While Anki Vector has been readily available for purchase at Amazon for at least a couple now, the free software update is what we still have to wait just a tad bit longer for. Thankfully it is scheduled for Monday, December 17th. This means that owners simply need to wait until the weekend is over to teach their robot child new tricks.