Alexa App Debuts on Smartphones

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HTC has pushed out an Alexa app for its HTC U11 smartphone. This is the first time that Amazon‘s smart digital assistant is available on phones. It directly competes with the likes of Google Assistant and Siri.

Technically, the Huawei Mate 9 launched last November was the first device with Alexa integration. However, on Huawei’s phone the Alexa app had to be opened up manually – there was no voice activation to make the assistant accessible from anywhere on the device.

And while the official Alexa app from Amazon has been out for some time on iOS and Android, it only works in combination with another device, like an Echo speaker.

That means HTC U11 owners are the first to be able to use Alexa as a genuine, integrated digital assistant on their phones, though they’re unlikely to be the last. If you have one of the flagship HTC handsets, head to the HTC Alexa page on the Google Play Store to find your free download. 

The HTC U11’s special squeezable frame can be used to launch Alexa if you don’t want to use your voice or launch the assistant like a normal app. You can follow the prompts inside the HTC Alexa app to set this up.

If you’ve not yet been introduced to Alexa, Amazon’s smart assistant now boasts more than 15,000 skills, and can tell you the weather, read out your upcoming events, answer questions, play music, set reminders, control all kinds of services and smart home devices, and plenty more.

For now, Amazon seems content to let other developers work out the details of putting the Alexa assistant on phones, though it recently added the app to its own range of Android tablets.

With Cortana and Google Assistant now both available on iOS and Android, the battle of the mobile smart assistants is well and truly underway. There’s no doubt these assistant apps will grow in scope and capability in the year ahead. 

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