Alexa Launching Android and iOS apps – want a direct connection to users on mobile
Amazon’s Alexa is a pretty capable digital assistant but like other ones out there, it also has a lot of room for improvement. Amazon is working on a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that will let the software launch Android and iOS apps using voice commands. Alexa is all set to get support for launching Android and iOS apps through voice commands. It replaces Google Assistant when you hold the home button. Called Alexa for Apps, the new feature is launching today in preview form, meaning Amazon is working with select developers on how they’d like to make use of it. You can use Alexa to order from Amazon, call friends, or perform most of the tasks of an Amazon Echo.
Amazon has launched an Alexa for Apps preview that launches Android and iOS apps with your voice. For instance, Amazon imagines users on either an iPhone or an Android device asking Alexa to open Twitter and search for a hashtag, and the app would then let the companion Alexa skill do the work of launching the app and inputting the search term. The results would then show up on the phone instead of being read aloud. Download the Amazon Alexa app from the Google Play Store. Open it and sign in to your Amazon account. Open Settings on your Android phone. It works with the Alexa app, built-in Alexa, and supporting headphones.
Amazon is working on a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that will let the software launch Android and iOS apps using voice commands.
It’s a new type of interaction Amazon is hoping could catch on and help better position Alexa as a viable competitor to digital assistants from Apple and Google. Amazon tried and failed to launch its own phone back in 2014 using a forked version of Android. This will work with the Alexa app (including hands-free), devices with Alexa built-in, and wearables like Amazon’s own Echo Buds. Amazon’s vision for Alexa for Apps is to allow users to ask the voice assistant to, for example, open Twitter and look up a hashtag or launch TikTok and start recording a video.
Fig: Amazon Alexa App For Android & iOS Launched
Developers wanting to use Alexa for Apps can apply to join the preview now. Hampering the adoption of such a feature is the fact that, while Alexa may be more widespread in the smart home, developers already have to manage two competing digital assistants that are much more widely used on phones. Amazon is also releasing a host of additional Alexa features at the same time, including a beta for a more natural conversational model, pausing skills, Amazon shopping on touchscreen Echo devices, and launching Alexa skills from apps and the web. You can already use Siri to order an Uber or ask Google Assistant to play an episode of BoJack Horseman on Netflix. App makers now have to tailor these integrations to work with Alexa to support the feature — or at the very least, take Alexa skills (if they exist) and reorient them to work for the new app launching format. Numerous major app creators are already integrating Alexa into their feature set.
Amazon doesn’t have the luxury of integrating directly with an operating system, but this could get it close enough that you won’t be as tempted to switch voice assistants. Amazon has a bunch of other Alexa news announcements today coinciding with its Alexa Live presentation. Those include a beta for a more powerful conversational AI model for Alexa that will allow users to talk more naturally to the assistant and updates to the technology used to build Alexa experiences (called APL) that will enable improved audio apps better browser-based Alexa games.
Amazon is also launching a skill resumption feature so you can pause for a bit to continue performing a task and check-in with Alexa on the progress of a previous request. This new feature is called Alexa for Apps which is a self-explanatory name. It even allows users to start camera recording through the in-app camera using voice commands. Alexa for Apps is still in preview, and interested developers can request early access.