In a recent estimate, Morgan Stanley said it believes that 11 million Alexa devices have been sold so far, and a lot more people are expected to get their own intelligent assistant this year. Intelligent assistant analytics company VoiceLabs estimates that nearly 25 million voice-enabled devices with assistants like Cortana, Alexa, and Google Assistant inside will be sold by the end of the year.
As sales accelerate, so do skills that go along with Alexa-enabled devices. A year ago there were about 100 skills. This week, Alexa surpassed 8,000 skills, adding more than 1,000 skills this month alone.
Here are a few standout skills added within the past week or that are part of the Customer Favorites This Week category in the Alexa Skills Marketplace.
The Wayne Investigation
This is a murder mystery to find out who killed Thomas and Martha Wayne, parents of Bruce Wayne.
The “go back,” “repeat,” and “skip” options help here, as do the sound effects and theatrical narration. This is a great example of storytelling made possible with Alexa. You begin your journey at the scene of the crime on the streets of Gotham City. This skill can keep you busy for a while. Makers recommend parent supervision for kids.
Mosaic was part of the summer 2016 batch at startup accelerator Y-Combinator and lets you to group multiple IoT devices so they’ll act all at once. That means you can say “Ask Mosaic for my morning routine,” and it will turn on the lights, warm up your car, start your coffee machine, or whatever else you want it to do. Mosaic workflows are controlled through a Mosaic account.
Devices can also be controlled with Mosaic bots on Facebook Messenger, Slack, and SMS.
The Dave Ramsey Show
This skill plays the show of popular personal finance advisor Dave Ramsey, a huge advocate of living a debt-free lifestyle. New shows are published weekdays.
This skill offers step-by-step advice from Carolyn Forté, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab. You can ask things like “Alexa, ask Good Housekeeping how to get red wine out of a white shirt” or “Alexa, ask Good Housekeeping how do I get ink out of fabric?” More advice from Good Housekeeping is coming soon, according to the skill’s page in the Alexa Skills Marketplace.
This skill has no other purpose than to play air horn — anything from a Jamaican horn to a ship horn.
This could come in handy whenever someone says something ridiculous, when it’s time for a celebration, or just to bug the people you live with.