AT&T just announced that beginning tomorrow, its mobile customers will be able to compose and send text messages using Amazon’s Alexa assistant. So if you’ve got an Echo, Echo Tap, or Echo Dot somewhere in the house, you can ask Alexa to “have AT&T text” a contact’s name (Alexa can store up to 10), followed by your message. You’ve got to take that first step of adding people to the skill before Alexa can do anything; you can’t just call out the name of anyone in your contact list, for example.
AT&T claims it’s the first carrier to offer an Alexa skill for SMS, and naturally the company sees it being most useful “if you’re in a hurry or busy with your hands.” The website with all the specifics on this feature isn’t live yet, so it’s not clear whether Alexa reads your spoken message back to you before firing it off to the recipient. Maybe stick with your phone for the important texts, but having Alexa as a relay for the everyday stuff sounds pretty convenient. As always, standard text messaging and data rates apply, and AT&T’s fine print says “content of texts sent by AT&T are determined by Alexa’s reading of your voice commands.” That’s another way of saying if Alexa completely misunderstands you and blows up a conversation, it’s all Amazon’s fault.