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You can now use Alexa to send SMS messages... as long as you use Android

Amazon Alexa is deepening its messaging capabilities by allowing users to send SMS messages.
By
January 31, 2018
Top-down image of the Amazon Echo.
TL;DR
  • Alexa devices gain SMS functionality in the latest update.
  • Only Android users in the US can use it for now.
  • The feature builds upon the previously launched Alexa messaging feature.

Amazon Alexa is deepening its messaging capabilities by allowing users to send SMS messages. The new service will let people use their Alexa-enabled devices to send a message to anyone in their contacts list, as long as you have an Android-powered device.

Last year, Amazon introduced a feature that would allow Alexa users to make voice calls and message other Alexa users. However, this latest feature will be the first time that people are able to send a message to someone who doesn’t already own an Alexa-powered device.

According to Amazon’s support page for the feature users will first have to set up the new feature on the Amazon Alexa app for Android. Once this is done users will then be able to send a message as usual. Alexa will first try to send the message using the Alexa messaging service but if this doesn’t work, it will send it as an SMS.

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It is also possible to specify to Alexa that you want to send a text message if you don’t want your device to use the Alexa messaging service.

According to Amazon, the reason that the service is only available to Android users is that Apple does not offer their messaging API to third parties. This means that Amazon can’t currently set up the service for iPhone users. Also, at the moment, the service is only available to users in the US. Amazon did not give any clues as to when it would be available in other markets.

This news isn’t the only big Alexa related news to have come from Amazon in the past couple of days. Yesterday, a preview of the company’s upcoming Super Bowl ad suggested that Amazon smart speakers may be about to get some new voices.

Exciting times to be an Alexa and Android user!