A guy named Brian walks into his apartment. He enters his kitchen, turns and says, "Alexa, ask Fitbit, 'how am I doing today?' " 

Of course, Alexa isn't a person, it's the voice service that powers Amazon's (AMZN - Get Report) Echo device, (you can also use "Amazon" or "Echo" as the wake word, as opposed to Alexa). And because Fitbit (FIT - Get Report) has teamed up with Amazon, owners of both devices can now receive certain health and fitness prompts. 

Fitbit is the first fitness device to be compatible with Amazon Echo. "Our integration with Alexa gives you hands-free access to your data, so you can find out when you walk in the door at the end of the day what your step count is in seconds," said Tim Roberts, executive vice president of Interactive at Fitbit, "and know if you need to go on a quick walk before dinner." 

It counts more than steps, however. Echo is able to bring up how many calories users have burned, how much sleep they got and how long they've been active that day -- or data from any other day in the past week. 

Don't worry though. If you're feeling down and think Alexa will belittle you for the lack of activity you've posted lately, don't be. It'll be there to issue words of encouragement instead, like "try to take a walk today, but don't forget to stop and smell the roses." 

Shares of Fitbit closed at $14.47 Thursday, up 1.05%, while shares of Amazon closed at $559.44, down 2.58%. 


Ever-hopeful investors in Twitter (TWTR - Get Report) are relying on co-founder Jack Dorsey, who took over as CEO in 2015, to make enough changes and introduce enough innovation to drive user growth. 

Sluggish user growth has scared off Wall Street from believing that Twitter will be able to scale to a much higher level from where it is today. While sales growth has been strong in prior years, the lack of user growth seems to trump it.

Maybe this year will be different, but according to eMarketer, it isn't. Slow growth has led them to lower growth estimates for Twitter's ad revenues

They now expect the micro-blogging company to "generate $2.61 billion in worldwide ad revenues," below the $2.95 billion it expected two quarters ago. Of that amount, $2.35 billion will likely be generated on mobile -- down from its previous forecast of $2.65 billion.

Despite its aspirations of being a global news platform, the company hasn't been able to monetize the way that investors had hoped when Twitter went public in 2013. It doesn't help that Facebook (FB - Get Report) has done an incredible job with its advertising efforts, as has Alphabet's  (GOOGL - Get Report) YouTube.

Even users are Tweeting their opinions when it comes to ways for the company to make money, such as suggesting Twitter charge companies for certain click-through links. 

Dorsey hasn't been at the helm all that long. Maybe he can bring Twitter to where it needs to be.

Twitter closed at $16.84 Thursday, up 0.84%. 

Every year has a theme, and maybe it's too early -- both to pick this year's theme and to pick this technology given its lack of availability -- but virtual reality, or VR for short, has been a constant hot topic in the tech world. 

Microsoft (MSFT - Get Report) and Facebook are quickly advancing on the VR front, a Star Wars VR experience may not be all that far off and Amazon is looking to tap the future of shopping through the new tech too. 

So, it only makes sense that we find Alibaba (BABA - Get Report) in the mix as well. Alibaba, which seemingly has its hands in everything, is stepping into the VR ring with its GnomeMagic Lab. The attempt goes along with its previous moves into the video and augmented reality. 

Aside from direct VR interaction -- which can range from customers actually using VR to shop, to helping its merchants work with customers via VR -- the company is "setting up a store dedicated to VR hardware to help companies tap into its vast audience," to quote Jon Russell from TechCrunch.

Alibaba closed at $74.25 Thursday, up 1.02%. 

 

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.