Daily Mail

Alexa, why did you cause upset on Christmas Day?

- By Claire Duffin

MILLIONS had hoped one might turn up in their stocking.

But many of those who did receive an Amazon Echo were disappoint­ed yesterday – as the gadgets were beset with problems.

The smart speaker, which is powered by Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa, allows users to ask questions and give voice commands such as ‘Alexa, play music’.

It also allows owners to control any connected ‘smart home’ features, such as lights or an oven. But this caused issues for some yesterday.

One user called Eddie wrote online: ‘Alexa didn’t turn off the oven. Turkey is burnt, daughter’s crying.’ Others complained that they were left speaking to themselves because Alexa was ‘having trouble understand­ing’.

It was reported that a surge in the number of new owners trying to connect to servers could be behind the problems. Scores vented their frustratio­n on social media. Paul Foster wrote on Twitter: ‘Alexa isn’t happy this morning. Tried the good old “turn it off, turn it on again” trick but no luck. I’ll have to talk to my family instead.’ Fiona Louise Brett added: ‘Merry Christmas to everyone … especially to those who have just received an #amazonecho for Christmas only to find out the server’s down and they’re not working. My #alexa is “having trouble understand­ing” me.’

Website Downdetect­or, which collects status reports on technology services, recorded more than 2,000 outages across Europe between 8am and 11am.

Amazon’s prices range from £49.99 for the Echo Dot to £139.99 for the Echo Plus. The firm does not reveal precise sales, but it has said tens of millions of the devices have been sold worldwide.

An Amazon spokesman said: ‘For a short period … we had an issue that intermitte­ntly impacted some Alexa customers’ ability to interact with the service. The Alexa service is now operating normally.’

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