Amazon Alexa app update brings assistant capabilities to smartphones

Alexa on HTC’s U11.

Image: mashable/raymond wong

Amazon’s Alexa app is about to get a lot more useful.

That’s because the company is finally bringing the full powers of its assistant to the Alexa smartphone app. 

Until now, the Alexa app was primarily used for controlling settings, timers, and various Alexa-enabled devices, but you couldn’t actually use any of Alexa’s assistant capabilities. That’s finally changing.

It’s not the first time the full-fledged Alexa assistant has made its way to the smartphone screen. The company previously partnered with HTC and Huawei on integrations specifically for the HTC U11 and the Huawei Mate 9.

Now anyone with the Alexa app can take advantage of the voice assistant on their phones. With the update, you can use Alexa to dictate messages, listen to music, or get search results and weather forecasts. 

While much of what you can do with the newly supercharged Alexa app are things you can already do with Siri, Google Assistant, or any other virtual assistant, the Alexa app comes with a few unique abilities. Namely, that you can control your Alexa-enabled smart home devices and take advantage of any of the Alexa skills you’ve set up. 

The update is rolling out in the next couple days to Alexa’s Android app. A similar update is coming to iOS “soon.”

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