Amazon's digital assistant, Alexa, is now available as an app for Windows 10 in the Microsoft Store. It's a bit of a blow to Cortana, Microsoft's own assistant that simply doesn't have the same recognition.
The app, which you can download here (opens in new tab), requires an Amazon account to sign in. And, surprisingly, it uses Microsoft's Fluent Design elements, like acrylic panels, and also works with dark mode. Currently, it's only available in the U.S., UK and Germany. It will be available in more countries in 2019.
Alexa was preinstalled on some devices by the likes of Lenovo, Acer and HP, but now you can put it on any Windows 10 device. While it can do anything your smart speaker can, you won't be able to change the wake word. You can use Alexa to shop or control your smart home, but it has no specific control over PCs.
In the case of my work-issued Dell XPS 15, I found the laptop doesn't support wake on voice at all. I had to press a button to talk to Alexa.
"The Alexa for PC app available in the Windows store does not feature hands-free support," an Amazon representatiave told Tom's Hardware.
Earlier this year, we saw the preview of a budding romance between Cortana and Alexa, in which you can ask one to talk to the other to fill in some gaps. However, that had limited integration, and we don't know when that will be final.
Earlier this week, Cortana head Javier Soltero announced he is leaving Microsoft. This could mean a change of pace for Cortana, which has lagged behind the likes of Alexa and Google's Assistant.