Science

Alexa Finally Lands on Phones for Real with HTC U11

Alexa Finally Lands on Phones for Real with HTC U11

In the battle of the smart assistants Google, Apple and Microsoft has the advantage of being on more devices like phones, tablets and computers - despite Amazon Echos being in more homes.

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.

Tech investor Aaron Batalion of Lightspeed Venture Partners has also wagered that as Amazon facilitates phone calls between its customers, more buyers will want to stay within the Prime ecosystem so they can keep in touch with other Echo users.

The cylindrical Amazon Echo Dot on your counter plays a soundbite from the president's latest news conference followed by a voice memo from your mom.




Amazon struck gold with its Alexa offering taking the market by storm, ushering in a new wave of products that try and make our lives that much easier. How intrusive do you want to let these devices be? It also can't do everything that that Google's bot can do, and numerous things it can do are already well handled by the Google Assistant. When it was announced by HTC, the U11 was supposed to have a choice of three assistants, including the company's own HTC Companion, Google Assistant, and Amazon Alexa.

The U11's Alexa integration is a good start - it mostly works as you'd expect it to - but it still needs some tuning to be great.

Among the biggest hits of the annual event were Amazon's Echo speakers and other Alexa devices. Long-pressing the U11's home button still launches Google Assistant, and as of now you can't actually remap that function to launching Alexa (though you can turn off Assistant there). Upon firing up the HTC Alexa app, youll be prompted to sign into your Amazon account. You can ask Alexa a question, such as 'Alexa, what's the weather today?' and Alexa will respond once your phone is unlocked. "Customers on the move can ask Alexa on the U11 for music and news, to cool their smart house on their way home from work, to check if they locked their front door, and to access thousands of other Alexa skills". While you may not shop using Alexa now, odds are you will at some point soon.

The U11's Alexa feature is available from the Google Play Store for devices in the U.S. starting today and will come to the United Kingdom and Germany later this summer.


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