Alexa is coming to your phone.
On Friday, Amazon began offering the voice assistant to Android devices for free. It will arrive as an update to the existing Alexa mobile app. Until now, the app acted as hub to set up, monitor, and control Alexa-powered devices, but you could not use it to speak to Alexa. That changes today on Android and on iOS soon.
"With this latest update, the Alexa app now helps customers remotely control their connected home, communicate with their family, listen to music, ask questions, access Alexa skills and more, just by using their voice," the company said in an email.
But the update also means anyone—including people who don't own Alexa-powered hardware—can also use the voice assistant. Previously, Alexa was available only on certain phones such as the HTC U11 and the Huawei Mate 9 as a pre-loaded service.
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Alexa functions like other virtual assistant software on smartphones. You simply open the app, tap the blue circle icon, and speak out your request. It was capable of showing us the weather, looking up nearby restaurants, adding items into our Amazon shopping cart, and telling jokes.
The company said the update is rolling out in the coming days via the Amazon Appstore and Google Play.
Although Alexa is best known for running on Amazon's Echo devices, the company has been expanding its use across other products. Earlier this month, Amazon said the voice assistant is coming to PCs. The company has also launched a development kit to help vendors bring the technology to other mobile gadgets such as headphones, smartwatches, and fitness devices.
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