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Alexa makes its full smartphone debut with a new HTC U11 app

17 July 2017, 04:09 | Terri Saunders

Alexa makes its full smartphone debut with a new HTC U11 app

Alexa makes its full smartphone debut with a new HTC U11 app

It didn't hurt that the Echo Dot has been the most affordable version of the Amazon Echo as well.

Consumers are still anxious about security and privacy issues, however, when buying things on a voice-controlled device, the study says. Even its gimmicky "Edge Sense" feature doesn't tarnish the U11's shine. In the meantime, however, we'll have to content ourselves with less powerful but more useful personal assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa. The new HTC Alexa app, however, works like a charm. "Even though you might not shop on Echo Show this month or even this year, you're part of the Alexa ecosystem". The partnership was first announced at the launch stage in Taipei where HTC announced the U11 would support dual-hotwords that would wake either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa depending on the one you used.

You can temporarily block alerts for messages and calls on one or more of your supported Echo devices using the Do Not Disturb feature. Further, they have to log in to their Amazon account.

Alexa can live right alongside Google Assistant on your U11. Alexa's skills have more than doubled this year, from 7000 in January 2017 to 15000 at the end of June 2017 and have grown exponentially from the 135 skills Alexa possessed in January 2016. Provided you have an HTC U11 and live in the USA, that is. You can't change the Alexa wake word on the phone, though.

The battle of the smartphone voice assistants has begun. But Amazon's Alexa has mostly been limited to specific sections of software like the Amazon Underground app or half-baked integrations that required you to tap an icon before speaking your desires. It can't send text messages or place phone calls; it can't open apps; and it can't provide navigation to a destination. Once you select this option, you will be able to start using the service of this Assistant which is available from Today.

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"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".

Nothing about Alexa on the phone takes advantage of the fact that it's on the phone. HTC says that it expects people to go to Amazon's Alexa management app to view more information when they want, but I don't think that should be necessary.

The bad news is that Alexa is only now available on handsets in the USA, but HTC has said that it'll be coming to the United Kingdom later this month. You can ask Alexa a question, such as 'Alexa, what's the weather today?' and Alexa will respond once your phone is unlocked.

It now sits alongside Google Assistant and HTC's own, non-voice powered Sense Companion on the U11.

You can also program the U11s edge sense to summon Alexa without having to say the hotword.



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