Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones | Home Tech

Amazon on Tuesday launched new performance that permits its Alexa digital assistant to ship and obtain SMS messages on gadgets working Android or increased. Carrier prices might apply.

Alexa, the software program that powers the Echo line of good audio system, can play and ship customized messages from contacts for customers who have arrange voice profiles.

Users will hear a chime after they have a brand new SMS message, and see a yellow mild ring on their Echo gadget. They’ll even be notified within the Alexa App.

The SMS function is not out there for iOS as a result of Apple does not share its messaging API with third events, Amazon mentioned.

The function at the moment is offered solely within the United States.

Text-to-911, group messages, and MMS will not be supported.

Texting With Alexa

To use the brand new SMS function, customers first have to enroll in Alexa Calling & Messaging within the Alexa app.

To ship an SMS message by way of an Echo gadget, go to “Conversations,” choose “Contacts,” then “My Profile.” Enable “Send an SMS,” settle for the Android OS permission, after which inform Alexa to ship an SMS to the recipient.

Users can disable the Send SMS function by way of their contact card within the Alexa app.

Making Nice With Android

“Amazon, who failed with smartphones, is trying to move their digital assistant into the communications space,” noticed Rob Enderle, principal analyst on the Enderle Group.

“This is a long-term strategy, and it appears they’re executing the old ’embrace, extend, extinguish’ strategy Microsoft executed to displace Lotus 1-2-3,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

“This is the embrace stage,” Enderle mentioned. “They anticipate people increasingly using their Echos to communicate and control things, rendering smartphones redundant.”

Teaming up with Android is a aggressive transfer, mentioned Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

Competition within the good home voice-enabled gadget battle “is increasing with Google Home, Apple HomePod, and Microsoft Cortana Harman Kardon,” she informed TechNewsWorld.

“Google Home devices enable text messaging to phones,” Zhou famous, so “adding this feature helps Amazon compete.”

Sound system maker Harman Kardon provides
Invoke, an clever speaker that makes use of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant.

It’s potential that Amazon has an excellent bigger aim, Enderle advised.

“They want to be the only device you depend on to communicate,” he mentioned. “The more success Amazon has here, the more folks will question their need for a smartphone.”

Like a chess fork, the tie-in with Google will put Amazon in a win-win state of affairs, Enderle famous. Even if its push into SMS does not displace smartphones, the transfer will strengthen its connections to its prospects.

“Communication is engagement, and the firm that owns that change owns a trusted link into buying behavior,” Enderle identified. “This is critical to regaining and growing its customer base.”

Apple Overshadowed

Apple’s HomePod is not any risk, and the shortage of SMS functionality for iOS is not any drawback for Alexa, Enderle remarked.

“HomePod has a number of problems, not the least of which is excessive cost and being significantly behind Amazon,” he defined. “Apple really isn’t taking this threat seriously, which may allow Amazon to do to it what it did to BlackBerry, Palm and Microsoft.”

Alexa SMS Issues

Alexa’s new SMS functionality is being over hyped, contended Michael Jude, analysis supervisor at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“Accessing the feature for most will be more trouble than it’s worth, since Alexa interactions are still kind of clunky,” he informed TechNewsWorld.

Alexa “works for simple instructions — but for more complicated interactions like this, most people will not bother,” Jude predicted. “It’s far easier simply to use the SMS functionality on the smartphone.”

The SMS function “will add to the perceived utility of the Amazon offering, but will ultimately be of limited use unless it’s improved over time,” he mentioned. “The Jude rule is, people evaluate a purchase on the basis of all the features they get, but then only use 10 percent of them.”

Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus embody cybersecurity, cellular applied sciences, CRM, databases, software program improvement, mainframe and mid-range computing, and utility improvement. He has written and edited for quite a few publications, together with Information Week and Computerworld. He is the creator of two books on shopper/server expertise.
Email Richard.

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