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Mark Dipko, director of corporate planning and strategy for Hyundai Motor America, introduces a partnership with Amazon Alexa for the 2017 Hyundai Motor Co. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Mark Dipko, director of corporate planning and strategy for Hyundai Motor America, introduces a partnership with Amazon Alexa for the 2017 Hyundai Motor Co.

(Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)

Why Amazon’s voice-controlled virtual assistant will replace your smartphone Add to ...

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Admit it: That first time you picked up your iPhone and asked Siri to play your favourite tune—and she actually did—it felt a bit like magic. Alas, the novelty quickly faded, and it became apparent that, for most practical things, virtual helpers like Siri can’t actually accomplish much.

That lacklustre experience, however, is about to change—and the shift to voice, like mobile before it, will have significant consequences both for consumers and businesses. Apple recently reorganized its cloud and services team to make Siri smarter and more responsive, while Google and Microsoft are each throwing significant resources behind Assistant and Cortana, respectively. They’re all chasing Amazon, whose Alexa virtual assistant has taken a lead since its launch in late 2014, in no small part because Alexa is—wait for it—actually useful.

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