Amazon Alexa can now be set as the default assistant on Android
Amazon and Google dominate the virtual assistant market with Alexa and Google Assistant respectively. Alexa and Google Assistant power 92% of smart speakers. In smartphones, Google enjoys an advantage as Google Assistant is pre-installed on Android smartphones as the successor to Google Now and Voice Search. On the majority of Android phones, Alexa is not pre-loaded, which means that users have to download it from the Play Store. It’s worth noting that some smartphones, such as the Huawei Mate 9, did come with Alexa integration in the past.
Recently, Alexa gained the ability to send text messages to any user in the US. Users can also now send back-t-back commands to the assistant. Now, Amazon has updated the assistant’s Android app with new functionality that lets users set it as the default assistant.
Alexa can now be set as an Assist app in Android. Firefox also uses this functionality for Firefox Search since the release of Firefox 59. While the default behavior of the long-press home button shortcut in Android is to pull up Google Assistant, this behavior can be changed by changing the Assist app.
To set Amazon’s assistant as the default voice assistant on Android, users need to head into the settings app, tap Apps & notifications > Default apps > Assist & voice input, and change the Assist app. They will then be able to long press the home button on their Android device to call up Alexa, without having to open the app. Microsoft’s Cortana also supports this functionality.
It should be noted that this does not change the wake command. Users will still be able to say their wake command (such as “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”) to bring up the Google Assistant. The only change in behavior is the shortcut of long pressing the home button.
Users in a Reddit thread have confirmed that this feature works on non-Pixel devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, Essential Phone, OnePlus 5, Moto G5 Plus, and more.