How to use Amazon Alexa with Windows 10

On Windows 10, you can use the Alexa assistant by installing the appropriate app from the Microsoft Store. Here's how to do it

Maybe you don't know, but you can use the Amazon Alexa digital assistant on your Windows 10 PC, even if you don't have an Amazon Echo. All it takes is an app and an Amazon account to get Alexa to do, on a PC, much of what it can do via an Echo.

In spite of the fact that Windows 10 integrates the Cortana digital assistant, very few people actually use it due to its far inferior functionality compared to its Amazon and Google counterparts. Using Alexa on PC, moreover, we can stay in the Amazon ecosystem that we already use elsewhere: in the rest of the house, in the office, in the car. All this by simply downloading and installing the Amazon Alexa app for Windows 10. Thanks to this app we can replicate on PC a good part of the Alexa experience, although there are limitations compared to what the digital assistant can do on devices created ad hoc to make it work, such as Amazon's Echos.

How to use the Alexa app on Win 10

The first thing to do to use the Amazon assistant on our PC is to download the app from the Microsoft Store. At first startup the setup starts and we need to login with our Amazon account. Then we have to grant the app permissions to access the PC's microphone and, right after that, we have to choose how to use Alexa: hands-free, or with a click. In the first case Alexa remains constantly listening waiting for the command, with all the repercussions for our privacy and battery, if we use it on a laptop. In the second case, we'll have to press a button right before saying the command.

What you can do with Alexa on Windows 10

With the app for Windows 10 you can do a lot, but not everything compared to the possibilities you have with a device from the Echo family. We can ask for location-based information, such as the weather or local restaurants. We can look up and update appointments and commitments. We can conduct research on general topics, listen to music, have books or the latest news read to us, and watch other content. We can also use many of Alexa's Skills, but not all of them. We can't, however, ask Alexa to compose a text message or a new email, although the app can access our inbox to reply to an email we've already received, nor use the Windows 10 app to configure any Amazon Echo device we own.