For a while now, Amazon has been partnering up with device manufacturers to bring their digital assistant, Alexa, into Android. The company has done this with Huawei, for the Mate 9 and HTC, for the U11 — this time, Amazon is taking a different approach by bringing the virtual assistant to everyone right from within the Alexa app.
Spotted by Android Police, Amazon has begun rolling out a new version of the Alexa app that enables the ability to interact with the digital assistant by voice — similar to an Alexa-powered smart-speaker, however, voice detection is limited from within the app and not whilst its minimized or closed. The app features a new Alexa button on the bottom navigation bar to start talking to the digital assistant, as well as added functionality to take more control of the app:
Until now, the Alexa app wasn't really anything more than a way to set up and manage smart-speakers powered by the digital assistant; If you didn’t have those, the app would be pretty useless. Now, you are able to do things like control music playback, send messages and request 'funny jokes' right from your smartphone without needing a speaker at all. Although it may not be as seamless as just having to yell "Alexa" from across the room, or feature HTC's "always-ready, hands-free access" on the U11, just having voice control within the app is a welcome improvement.
The update appears to be rolling out at the time of writing, but if you're eager to try it out, you can download it from the Amazon Appstore, as we've found success in getting the latest version (2.2.1010.0) with the assistant from there.