Amazon has announced a new capability for the Alexa app on Android and iOS devices, which it calls Auto Mode. This new feature lets people use their smartphones in tandem with Alexa in-car devices, like the Echo Auto, adding a display to the experience.
With the new Auto Mode, the Alexa app will present a new full-screen experience that gives users quick access to Alexa features. The home screen includes quick shortcuts to begin playing music, start guided navigation, or make a call. Of course, voice commands are also available for all of this.
Additionally, the app has three more tabs, shown in a persistent menu bar at the bottom of the screen. The Navigate tab includes shortcuts to locations saved in the Alexa app so navigation can start more quickly; the Communication tab lets users make calls, drop in to their Alexa devices or home, or make announcements to them; and the Play tab offers quick access to playlists.
Amazon is also launching a new Featured Routine for Alexa, called Start My Commute, which allows users to get weather and traffic updates, as well as entertainment before they start driving. The routine can be further customized once it's enabled.
As a side note, Alexa can now be used to pay for gas at over 11,500 Exxon and Mobil stations across the United States, This feature was first announced back in January, and it's now available.