Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is finding its way onto quite a few platforms; it’s coming to Sony televisions, on some of Ford’s vehicles starting from this year, inside a strange robot made by LG, and if the extensive line-up of Echo devices wasn’t enough, it’s even on a smart speaker designed for kids.
In March this year, Amazon even integrated Alexa into its shopping app on iOS, bringing all the functionality of an Echo device into Apple’s ecosystem of devices.
Oddly enough, Amazon has kept Alexa off Android, where Google’s Assistant reigns supreme – for the most part. Recently, there has been the occasional Android device where Alexa shows up, but Amazon insists on tight control.
However, it seems that, starting from next week, Alexa is going to be on a lot more devices; Amazon is bringing its virtual assistant to its main shopping app on Android.
Discovered by Nick Schwab on Twitter, the rollout seems to have begun despite the lack of an official announcement from Amazon; the company did confirm that Alexa is indeed arriving on Android devices this week when asked by TechCrunch, though.
Alexa, on iOS and (soon) Android, can do most of the same things as on Echo devices – it can read you the day's briefing, answer random questions, crack a few jokes, speak of the weather and traffic, and even control smart home devices.
Just as on iOS, Amazon also has an existing Alexa app on Android, which Echo owners can use to manage their devices, as well as using it to teach the assistant new Skills. It may seem strange for Amazon to add Alexa into its main shopping app, rather than the dedicated Alexa app, but it does make sense: Amazon’s shopping app has a wider reach.
Essentially, it’s a demo for the Echo devices – if you like Alexa on your phone, you are likely to love it more when it's conveniently listening for your commands, sitting in a wand, disguised as a puck, or looking at you with a camera.
With Amazon leading its digital assistant to new markets, and giving it the ability to control some of its other devices, one thing is certain: Amazon intends to put Alexa everywhere it possibly can, albeit at its own pace.