Amazon on Tuesday launched new performance that permits its Alexa digital assistant to ship and obtain SMS messages on units operating Android 5.zero or increased. Service fees might apply.
Alexa, the software program that powers the Echo line of sensible audio system, can play and ship customized messages from contacts for customers who’ve arrange voice profiles.
Customers will hear a chime once they have a brand new SMS message, and see a yellow gentle ring on their Echo gadget. They will even be notified within the Alexa App.
The SMS characteristic is not obtainable for iOS as a result of Apple does not share its messaging API with third events, Amazon mentioned.
The characteristic at present is on the market solely in the US.
Textual content-to-911, group messages, and MMS should not supported.
Texting With Alexa
To make use of the brand new SMS characteristic, customers first have to join Alexa Calling & Messaging within the Alexa app.
To ship an SMS message by way of an Echo gadget, go to “Conversations,” choose “Contacts,” then “My Profile.” Allow “Ship an SMS,” settle for the Android OS permission, after which inform Alexa to ship an SMS to the recipient.
Customers can disable the Ship SMS characteristic by way of their contact card within the Alexa app.
Making Good With Android
“Amazon, who failed with smartphones, is attempting to maneuver their digital assistant into the communications house,” noticed Rob Enderle, principal analyst on the Enderle Group.
“This can be a long-term technique, and it seems they’re executing the outdated ’embrace, prolong, extinguish’ technique Microsoft executed to displace Lotus 1-2-Three,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.
“That is the embrace stage,” Enderle mentioned. “They anticipate folks more and more utilizing their Echos to speak and management issues, rendering smartphones redundant.”
Teaming up with Android is a aggressive transfer, mentioned Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Analysis.
Competitors within the sensible residence voice-enabled gadget battle “is growing with Google Residence, Apple HomePod, and Microsoft Cortana Harman Kardon,” she instructed TechNewsWorld.
“Google Residence units allow textual content messaging to telephones,” Zhou famous, so “including this characteristic helps Amazon compete.”
Sound system maker Harman Kardon gives Invoke, an clever speaker that makes use of Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant.
It is attainable that Amazon has an excellent bigger objective, Enderle prompt.
“They wish to be the one gadget you depend upon to speak,” he mentioned. “The extra success Amazon has right here, the extra people will query their want for a smartphone.”
Like a chess fork, the tie-in with Google will put Amazon in a win-win state of affairs, Enderle famous. Even when its push into SMS does not displace smartphones, the transfer will strengthen its connections to its clients.
“Communication is engagement, and the agency that owns that change owns a trusted hyperlink into shopping for conduct,” Enderle identified. “That is crucial to regaining and rising its buyer base.”
Apple’s HomePod is not any risk, and the shortage of SMS functionality for iOS is not any downside for Alexa, Enderle remarked.
“HomePod has quite a lot of issues, not the least of which is extreme value and being considerably behind Amazon,” he defined. “Apple actually is not taking this risk severely, which can enable Amazon to do to it what it did to BlackBerry, Palm and Microsoft.”
Alexa SMS Points
Alexa’s new SMS functionality is being over hyped, contended Michael Jude, analysis supervisor at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.
“Accessing the characteristic for many can be extra hassle than it is price, since Alexa interactions are nonetheless sort of clunky,” he instructed TechNewsWorld.
Alexa “works for easy directions — however for extra difficult interactions like this, most individuals is not going to trouble,” Jude predicted. “It’s miles simpler merely to make use of the SMS performance on the smartphone.”
The SMS characteristic “will add to the perceived utility of the Amazon providing, however will finally be of restricted use until it is improved over time,” he mentioned. “The Jude rule is, folks consider a purchase order on the idea of all of the options they get, however then solely use 10 % of them.”