Amazon Updates the Alexa App for Android with Voice Controls
Amazon has been killing it with its Amazon Echo smart speaker lineup, and the company’s latest moves show it isn’t slowing down anytime soon. On Friday, Amazon announced an update to the Alexa companion application for Android that adds new voice functionality.
The new Alexa app, which will come to Android devices via the Google Play Store and Amazon’s Appstore in the coming days, adds voice controls. It’s much like Amazon’s Echo speakers — you can use your voice to play music, trigger Alexa skills, and more.
Until now, the companion application for Alexa was essentially just a way to manage an Echo speaker’s settings, but the latest update makes it much more useful. We’ve seen Android smartphones such as the Huawei Mate 10 and HTC U11 offer Amazon Alexa voice capabilities, as well as smartphone accessories like Motorola’s Alexa-enabled Moto Mod, but the new app expands the feature to all Android tablets and phones.
Voice controls seem to be something the retailer’s focusing on a lot, right now — it brought voice controls to the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android in March 2017, and to the Amazon Music app in September 2017.
There’s a reason: The competition’s fierce. The smart speaker market is booming, these days — both Google and Amazon sold millions of units during Q3 2017. And Google’s made an outsized push to bring the Google Assistant to more devices. At the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, the search giant announced smart displays for the Assistant, third-party speakers from Sony, LG, and Lenovo with touchscreen-enabled displays that play videos, show pictures from Google Photos, and make video calls through Google Duo. They’re Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo Spot and Echo Show.
The updated Alexa app for Android starts rolling out today. Amazon says an update to the iOS app will come a little bit later.