Alexa’s Auto Mode turns your phone into a ‘driver-friendly’ display

Amazon wants to make it safer and easier to use your phone while you’re in the car. Today, it’s introducing Auto Mode in the Alexa App. The feature turns your phone into a “driver-friendly” display with large touch targets and easy-to-read visuals. A...

Alexa Guard Plus Can Bark at Home Intruders

This past week, Amazon revealed a slew of new gadgets to upgrade your smart home setup. Among them is Guard Plus, a premium version of its Guard security service that lets you use your Echo speakers and Echo displays as home security devices. The system can do lots to improve home security, including the ability to make burglars think you have a dog even if you don’t.

Guard Plus can work with outdoor cameras and smart doorbell cameras to detect motion outside of your home, and then to play the sound of dogs barking when someone approaches. I speak from personal experience that the sound of barking dogs makes strangers think twice before even coming up the stairs to my front door, so this could definitely be a useful crime deterrent. Guard Plus can also alert you to sounds like footsteps, glass breaking, doors closing, or a smoke alarm when you’re away from home and play back the sound on your smartphone so you can decide if it’s something to be worried about and to contact the service’s emergency helpline for assistance.

In addition, Guard Plus makes it easy to call for help in an emergency, even if you’re incapacitated. When you say  “Alexa, call for help!” it will automatically route you to an emergency response agent to help request an ambulance, police, or fire department, completely hands-free.

Guard Plus will launch later in 2020 at a price of $4.99 per month or $49 per year. If you’re interested, you can register to be notified when it launches over on the Amazon website.

[via Engadget]

Amazon’s new Echos are cheaper if you pre-order two

Amazon launched a new Echo speaker yesterday with a futuristic spherical design and new features borrowed from the Echo Studio and Echo Plus. It also unveiled a globe-shaped version of the budget Echo Dot. Normally, you’d pay full price to get all-ne...