I knew from the very first time Alexa was launched into the market that the power assistant from Amazon will only get better. Now, Amazon is going a step further by allowing you to make free calls and messages with Alexa without an Echo.
You can place all calls—and that includes video calls, and send messages from Android tablets, iPads and Amazon Fire models [no surprise there]. All you have to do is to ask Alexa to get in touch; but that only applies to the Fire HD 10. For other Alexa-enabled Fire tablets, you are simply required to tap the home button first, while other users are required to open the Alexa app.
Prior to this update, people could make audio or video calls as long as they use Alexa-powered devices including Amazon’s Echo, or iOS and Android-based smartphones, or Echo Dot Internet-connected speakers.
In other Alexa news, you no longer need to speak or say the command word “Hey Alexa” as a prefix before every single command. It could yet be the most useful feature since the powerful home assistant was launched into the market by the ecommerce giant sometimes ago.
This new feature, which was added just last week, is called Follow-Up-Mode, and it allows Alexa to listen for another command for five seconds after your last request was made. It reduces the stress of asking the assistant to perform multiple actions. However, you can still have Alexa carry out multiple tasks as long as you end a conversation by saying ‘thank you’ or “stop” before the start of another one.
Follow-Up-Mode feature is opt-in, and you will have to turn it on from the Echo settings. Hopefully, Amazon makes it a default feature soon as I am sure most users would want to see that done.
The blue light on your Echo, according to CNET, will light up whenever Alexa is listening to a Follow-Up-Mode question.
Here is how to enable the Follow-Up-Mode:
You: “Alexa, turn off the lights.”
Alexa: “OK.” [continues listening]
You: “Set the thermostat to 68.”
Alexa: “OK, the heat is set to 68.”
Alexa has stepped up the game since it was introduced to the market. Two years ago, Amazon added the ability to lock the door to your house. This is all thanks to an integration with August, a startup that specializes in Internet-connected door. This followed previous integration enabling the voice assistant to check your credit card balance, order an Uber, and a Domino’s pizza to be delivered at your location.
Looks like everything is falling into place for Amazon with Alexa. Things can only get better with the powerful assistant that is fast becoming the number one home assistant in the market today.