Amazon introduced at present it’s launching a brand new messaging function for Alexa gadgets within the U.S. that can let you ship texts – sure, SMS messages – to your mates and different contacts utilizing your voice. Prospects can now ask Alexa to ship a message to a selected contact, and Alexa will work out the way to route it appropriately – utilizing both the beforehand launched Alexa messaging system, or by sending it out as an SMS as a substitute, if the recipient doesn’t have an Alexa machine of their very own.
There may be one large caveat, nevertheless – the function presently works just for sending SMS messages to Android telephones.
To get began, you’ll must observe the directions that seem through a pop-up within the Alexa app on Android, Amazon tells us. Within the Conversations tab of that app, you’ll want to pick “Contacts,” then “My Profile,” then enabled the “Ship SMS” function to on. (To be clear, you’ll not ship SMS messages from the app itself, solely from Alexa gadgets through voice.)
You’ll be able to then specify if you wish to ship a “textual content message,” or you possibly can ask Alexa to ship a “message,” which shall be routed to Alexa gadgets first, then SMS if Alexa gadgets will not be accessible.
As you might recall, Amazon launched free calls and messaging final yr, however the function solely then labored in between Echo gadgets, limiting its adoption. Nonetheless, there have been hints within the Alexa app’s code that the corporate was growing some kind of SMS functionality.
The Alexa app itself was additionally very aggressive about importing customers’ total handle books – which led to some backlash final yr earlier than Amazon added contact blocking. Now we all know why Amazon wished your entire handle e-book: Alexa was on the brink of be a cellphone. (Oh, it’s also possible to use Alexa with your property cellphone service, together with for landline calls, for those who purchase this $35 add-on.)
Amazon tells us it may’t supply an identical function for iPhone customers as a result of Apple presently doesn’t supply their messaging API to third-parties. It didn’t say when it might roll out SMS assist to Alexa’s worldwide markets.
The function is reside at present on all Alexa gadgets that assist Alexa calling and messaging, and doesn’t work on third-party gadgets at this level.