Amazon’s digital brain, Alexa, can already make calls and now she can send text messages too.
Users can now ask Alexa to send a message to a friend, and the virtual assistant will figure out the best avenue to do so, either through the previously released Alexa messaging program or an SMS text message to a smartphone (if that person doesn’t have an Alexa-powered device). So far, the service is only available for Android users.
To set up Alexa’s texting capabilities, open the Alexa app and select “contacts” within the conversations tab. Then select “my profile” and enable the message feature.
Previously, Alexa could only send messages to other Alexa-powered devices. The new texting capabilities come just a few months after Amazon introduced the Echo Connect, a $34.99 device that augments Alexa’s calling features and turns the Echo into a hands-free speakerphone, with the ability to make calls over landlines or voice over IP.
Though Amazon’s take on the smartphone failed to catch on, Alexa has taken on more phone-like capabilities such as calling and now texting. Some Alexa-powered devices, like the Echo Show, have the ability to do video calls as well.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced new voice control capabilities for its Alexa app on Android, bringing the experience closer to the interactions users have come to expect through the company’s lineup of smart speakers. Users can ask Alexa questions and access features like music, smart home, skills, news, weather, and more.