Amazon is rolling out a new version of its Alexa mobile app that—get this—actually lets customers interact with its Alexa personal digital assistant. As you may know, the Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana apps already provide this functionality for those companies’ assistants. And you might have understandably assumed that the Alexa app did, too.
“The free Amazon Alexa App is a companion to your Alexa device for setup, remote control, and enhanced features,” the app’s description still reads on the Google Play Store. “Alexa is always ready to play your favorite music, provide weather and news updates, answer questions, create lists, and much more. Alexa’s brain is in the cloud, so she continually learns and adds more functionality over time. The more you use Alexa, the more she adapts to your speech patterns, vocabulary, and personal preferences.”
In other words, the Alexa app was available—required, actually—to set up and configure an Echo device. That is all it did.
Well, that is changing: A new version of the Alexa app, available now only in Amazon’s AppStore for Android (yes, it’s still a thing), actually lets you interact directly with Alexa. From the app. What a concept.
Well, maybe. Android Police is reporting that an update to the Alexa app, available from Amazon’s AppStore, provides this functionality. If you look at the app listing, however, it still says the same thing that the app description says over at Google: “Alexa App is a companion to your Amazon Echo, Dot, Tap and Show for setup, remote control, and enhanced features.”
So … it’s coming. And you may get the update if you get the app from Amazon instead of Google. (Which may require some silly configuration changes on your Android phone, since the Amazon AppStore for Android is an “unknown source.”)
I assume this capability will arrive via the Google Play Store and—gasp!—Apple’s App Store eventually too. We should all be this brave.