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10 new Alexa features to try on your Amazon Echo – CNET

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Your Amazon Echo has some new tools.
Ian Knighton/CNET

Amazon has made several new improvements to its Echo speakers and the Alexa app in the past month, from a redesigned app that makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for to starting a routine with your voice.

Last month, the big tech company also announced three new Alexa updates designed to help you to better interact with Alexa. Here are the latest features that you can use on your Amazon Echo ($34 at Amazon) now.

Hear news notifications

Starting now, you can get notifications on your Amazon Echo for the latest news from NPR and Fox News. The notifications will play short summaries of top stories of the day and can connect you to the full story if you’re interested in hearing more.

To get started, say “Alexa, enable news notifications for NPR/Fox News.” The new feature is rolling out to more news outlets in the coming months.

Start routines with your voice

You can now enable Featured Routines with a voice command. For example, to start your morning routine, you can say “Alexa, enable my morning routine,” so when you say “Alexa, good morning,” it’ll start the routine you created. This is great if you wake up 30 minutes before your scheduled routine and you want to go ahead and get the day started.

Upload photos to your Echo Show ($180 at Amazon) through the Alexa app

Amazon has made it easier to upload your photos to your Echo Show. To do so, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap Devices, then select the Echo Show you want to upload the photos to. Next, tap Home Screen Background and either upload photos from your phone or your linked Facebook account. You’ll need to give Amazon permission to access your photos before you can start downloading.

Alexa hands-free for Alexa app

If you’re not within talking proximity to your Echo speaker, no problem. You can now access Alexa on your speaker through the Alexa app with just your voice. To turn on the feature, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap the blue Alexa icon at the top of the screen. A window will open that says Use Alexa hands-free. Tap Turn On to begin using the new tool.

Amazon Music hands-free Alexa voice commands
Go hands-free in the Alexa app.
James Martin/CNET

New Alexa app home screen

Amazon redesigned the home screen in the Alexa app that changes the way you navigate within the app. For example, the settings are now located on the lower right hand side of the screen, rather than the top left. The more you use the app, the better it can personalize suggestions on the home screen. So if you regularly listen to a specific music playlist, it will appear at the top of your suggestions.

Other new Alexa features

  • Personal wellness tip: “Alexa, what’s my wellness tip of the day?”
  • Alexa accessibility website: Provides additional information for Alexa features, like Alexa Captioning, Real Time Text, Show and Tell, VoiceView Screen Reader, Tap to Alexa, and more.
  • Stock market information: “Alexa, what are the top stocks right now.”
  • MLB and NBA return: “Alexa, play MLB/NBA highlights.” For Echo devices with screens only.
  • Camp Prime: How-to videos with at-home family activity ideas.

Ready for more tips? Here are six Alexa features you should turn off now, the best rooms in your house to put your Echo speakers and five unexpected uses for your Amazon Echo.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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