Is Alexa coming to phones? YES! In fact, she’s already in phones in the UK!*
*3/25/17 UPDATE: Some US owners of iOS phones have already been seeing this update in the Amazon mobile app, and so far the only UK iPhone owners I’ve heard from haven’t seen it. These updates are always rolled out in waves, so if you don’t see it yet be patient: it’s on the way.
Keeping it short and sweet today, and here’s the big news: Express UK is reporting that the Alexa voice service—not just the Alexa app, the full voice service we can currently access via Echo, Dot and Tap—has already been incorporated into the iOS version of the Amazon app. From Express UK:
The company has updated its iPhone app to include Alexa for the first time, giving you the opportunity to ask thousands of questions and queries that previously needed the Amazon Echo to complete. Simply open up the Amazon app and you’ll see a microphone icon at the top of the screen. Pressing this will activate Alexa, who will now be able to react and hopefully answer your query. This covers everything from asking about the weather, checking the news headlines and traffic information, and even making purchases from Amazon itself.
Tech News Inc. (TNI) confirms the rollout to iOS phones, and as TNI is a US site, this would appear to be saying Alexa could en route to iOS phones as I type this. No word on Android support yet, but the TNI piece says, “The e-commerce giant…struck a deal with Huawei, which it revealed in January. Apparently, you can integrate Alexa with Mate 9 handsets from Huawei now.”
But hold your horses there: “can integrate” is not the same thing as “is integrated“. All the statement means is that the integration is possible; now it’s up to engineers at the various companies to make it happen. For about a year now, there have been rumors of Amazon partnering with one or more major Android manufacturers to offer Android phones with Amazon apps pre-loaded. It may be that this Alexa integration is part of that plan.
But What Does It Mean?
Full integration would mean you can access Alexa on your cell from anywhere with WiFi or cell service. You could pull your phone out of your pocket, open the Amazon app, tap the little mic icon and ask Alexa the same kinds of queries you’re already used to asking her on your Echo, Dot or Tap at home.
The TMI piece also says subscribers to Amazon’s Prime/Unlimited Music, Prime Video and similar could access and launch that content via Alexa functionality in the Amazon app.
We won’t know all the details until the rollout is complete, and since I don’t use an iPhone I’ll be among those waiting even longer for the Android release.
When the release is official here in the states, I’ll post an update.
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