Amazon announced today it's launching a new messaging feature for Alexa devices in the USA that will allow you to send texts - yes, SMS messages - to your friends and other contacts using your voice.
If you do have an Alexa Show, instead of only hearing the updates, you'll also see the latest news and weather on your device.
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The feature builds upon the previously launched Alexa messaging feature. However, there were hints in the Alexa app's code that the company was developing some sort of SMS capability. Firstly the SMS feature needs to be toggled on.
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To enable SMS messaging on Alexa, open the Alexa app, go to the Conversations tab, select Contacts My Profile, and enable the Send SMS toggle. You can send them to any SMS-supporting devices, including iPhones. Now it is pretty clear why Amazon was interested in having an access to your contacts. The caveat here is that the feature worked only when the caller and the receiver had Echo devices. For example, in the United States, users can make free voice calls and messages to Alexa-enabled devices, but that's not the case for Indian users. The SMS feature is already live on all Alexa devices that support calling and messaging. That's great if you're frequently in contact with someone who owns an Echo or doesn't mind Amazon's ecosystem, but not so great for sending SMS messages in general. On a related note, Alexa has always had the first movers advantage since it had a two-year head start with respect to Google Home.
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