Amazon has confirmed plans to roll out an important update to its chatty assistant Alexa. But this latest tweak isn’t designed for Amazon Echo owners. Instead, it will appeal to those who access Alexa using their smartphones.
Until now, anyone hoping to check the latest headlines, weather forecast, order takeaways or taxis using Alexa on their Android or Apple iPhone would have to hit the Alexa button at the bottom of the app. This is very different from almost every other experience with Alexa – whether that’s with an Amazon Echo, Fire HD tablet, or Fire TV Cube streaming set-top box – where you can launch the digital secretary handsfree using only your voice and the wake word “Alexa”.
And now, Amazon is bringing the same exact experience to smartphone owners.
The handsfree option is now available by default. When you open the Alexa app, which is also used to manage any Skills (what Amazon calls apps designed to bring extra functionality to Alexa) already enabled and find new ones in the store, you’ll now be able to say “Alexa” to start a request. Just like when using an Echo smart speakers,