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Alexa Crapped Out on Christmas

Illustration for article titled Alexa Crapped Out on Christmas
Photo: Alex Cranz (Gizmodo)

Amazon had a pretty stellar holiday season this year. Some of the people trying to set up their Alexa smart speakers Christmas morning? Not so much. According to The Guardian, Alexa servers in Europe failed just as hordes of new users tried to register their devices.

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The server outage reportedly occurred around 10am GMT, and a gander into the Twitterverse shows plenty of cheesed customers who were unable to play their favorite Christmas tunes, turn on their lights, or register new devices. A look at Outage.Report’s Alexa map for Christmas Day also shows Amazon’s virtual assistant struggled in the U.K., Germany, and Italy. There weren’t any widespread reports in the U.S., and Amazon’s customer service Twitter has been responding to individual complaints saying some services in Europe had intermittent connections, but that the issues have been resolved.

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Despite the outages, Amazon announced today it had a record-breaking holiday season, with the Echo Dot as one of its top sellers, along with the regular Echo, and surprisingly, Amazon Smart Plug. (Amazon did not immediately respond to an email about the reported outage.) While Amazon is notorious for keeping hard numbers under lock and key, it did say the number one Alexa request this year was “Alexa, turn on the Christmas tree.” Its virtual assistant also reportedly delivered eight times the number of holiday reminders as last year and set more than one million holiday timers. The Alexa app is also sitting pretty atop both the iOS and Android app charts today, meaning thousands of you ignored our advice that the Amazon Echo was a crap gift. It’s okay. We don’t take it too personally.

[The Guardian]

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.

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DISCUSSION

thousands of you ignored our advice that the Amazon Echo was a crap gift.

That’s a broad statement and, no surprise, inaccurate. I gave my 88 yr old mom an Echo Show and she loves it! She can video conference with her family and it’s easy for her to use. Sure, I could have tried to get Skype or some other app on Windows running for her, but what a pain. The Echo came right up, registered and she was able to send and receive video calls. There are also other Alexa skills that she can use that will make the gift very useful for her and eliminate so many of the “fix my computer” calls I get from her.