Q: What is Alexa doing in the PC?
Tjaard Meier: A few years ago, our team started working with Amazon to enable Alexa, specifically Alexa for PC, in laptops. We were solving for a key need: people loved Alexa, but they wanted to use it on their laptop, or without other smart devices.
Since then, we have led the industry in enabling Alexa for PC in hundreds of laptops, in close collaboration with Amazon and top OEMs. And we’re continuing to innovate. We’re teaming up with Amazon to make Alexa for PC even better, with more applications, new experiences, and additional choices for interacting with the PC. Intel is helping deliver these experiences through advanced technologies like Super Resolution, through Intel Evo™ platform-based laptops and through real world testing for the Alexa voice AI.
Q: Why did Amazon and Intel team up?
Tjaard Meier: In a multi-device world, our teams share a vision to make computing experiences seamless. Bringing Alexa to the PC does that by enabling people to easily interact with their laptop, make high-resolution video calls, access the Alexa service—and do it all in a way that feels intuitive and satisfying, even if they’re away from home.
When those elements come together, it really unlocks a new, more adaptive way of interacting with your PC and with the world.
Q: How does Super Resolution work?
Running Alexa for PC on an 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processor gives our customers the best video quality.
Tjaard Meier: This is a very cool new technology that’s available for the first time on laptops with 11th Gen Intel® Core™ processors. Basically, Super Resolution automatically upgrades video calls or other video streams from 720p to 1080p resolution. It’s built into Intel Iris® Xe integrated graphics, and we worked with Amazon to enable it specifically on Alexa for PC.
It tackles an everyday challenge that we’ve all experienced: grainy video calls. Usually, that’s because a poor Internet connection or low-quality smartphone camera has degraded the video to 720p or lower, even before it gets to your laptop. Super Resolution uses deep learning models to upscale that video locally on the laptop, so calls are crisp and clear.
Q: How else does the relationship elevate Alexa for PC?
Tjaard Meier: As part of the Intel® Evo™ platform, these laptop designs have been tested and verified for stellar collaboration experiences in real-world conditions, with great microphones, speakers and cloud-based voice AIs like Alexa.
More specifically, each of these laptop designs have been tested to meet Alexa hands-free requirements, like executing voice commands that are spoken from around three feet away. These PCs also have microphones and speakers that have been verified to meet high standards, including for sensitivity, signal-to-noise ratio, phase matching, frequency response and speech-to-noise and distortion ratio.
Q: How does all of this fit into Intel’s vision for PCs?
People want their laptop to be versatile, adaptive and enable even more new experiences, including interacting naturally with their voice, from near or far. They want their PC to serve as a portal to their families, friends, and colleagues. Most of all, they want those experiences to be simple, intuitive and built right into their laptops.
Tjaard Meier: Our goal is to deliver the features people want—and they’re asking for more choices for interacting with their PC, like touchscreens and voice. They want their PC to serve as a portal to their families, friends and colleagues. Most of all, they want those experiences to be simple, intuitive and built right into their laptops.
That’s the future of the PC. If you want to see what it feels like, all of these experiences come together on laptops with Alexa for PC, powered by Intel processors, and available to download for anyone with a Windows 10 PC.
Q: What’s next for this collaboration?
Tjaard Meier: We’ve also been working with Amazon to apply Super Resolution to video streams from smart home cameras, like Ring Doorbell. This feature recently launched—it uses the same technology to upscale smart home footage, so you can tell whether that’s your kid or a package pirate on the porch.
Longer term, we look forward to our continued collaboration with Amazon to bring new capabilities to the laptop with Alexa for PC. That might mean bringing exciting new voice-based experiences, or it might mean an entirely new capability, like Super Resolution. Or more likely, both.
Our team is going to keep working with Amazon and our OEM partners to make people’s PC experiences simple, irresistible, and integrated into the fabric of their life.
To learn more about how Intel is shaping the future of PC experiences, read more stories here.