While this isn’t the first time Alexa has been on a smartphone — third parties have made it happen already — this is the first time it’s coming directly from Amazon. And it could be a huge help to anyone who’s filling their home with Alexa-enabled devices.
Inside of the Amazon App for iOS, there will be a microphone icon near the top of the screen that you can press to call up Alexa. You’ll be able to ask the assistant almost anything you’d normally be able to ask through a device like the Echo. That includes everything from having it make purchases for you, look up facts, or control smart home products.
Amazon says the feature begins rolling out today and should be available to all US users by next week.
The down side is that, even though Alexa is a full-featured and often more capable digital assistant, it can’t be used as a replacement for Siri, since Apple’s assistant is built into the operating system. So even Alexa devotees are only likely to get so much use out of this, since Amazon’s app has to be opened up every time you want to use it.
Still, it puts Alexa on another major platform, and that makes choosing it as a way to connect and control all your devices a bit more convenient.