In a bid to improve the Alexa experience on mobile, Amazon recently enabled a new hands-free experience on the Alexa app for iOS and Android. But even with the new feature, Amazon Alexa isn’t nearly as well integrated with mobile operating systems as the Google Assistant or Siri. For instance, the hands-free experience released recently isn’t entirely hands-free, as it requires you to unlock your phone and open the Alexa app before you can issue a voice command. Another shortcoming you might face while using Alexa on mobile is that it can’t open apps using voice commands. But that might change soon.
According to a recent report from The Verge, Amazon is currently working on a new feature for the Alexa app which will allow users to open both Android and iOS apps using voice commands. A preview of the feature, called Alexa for Apps, has already started rolling out and the company is working with select app developers to further improve its capabilities.
The app integration will allow Amazon Alexa to perform complex tasks like opening Twitter and searching for a hashtag with just a voice command. The results will then show up on your device, instead of being read out loud. According to Amazon, it will also let users do things like record a hands-free video by asking Alexa to launch TikTok and start a hands-free video recording.
Amazon hopes that such app integrations could help Alexa get on par with the Google Assistant and Siri on mobile devices, however, there’s a major hurdle in the way. App integrations like these will require Amazon to work with app developers to enable support for the new feature on their app or reorient existing Alexa skills to work with the new app launching format. This is exactly why Amazon is currently rolling out the new feature in preview form, before releasing it more widely as a beta.
Along with the new app integration, Amazon has also announced a beta for a more capable conversational AI model for Alexa, which will allow users to talk more naturally to the assistant, and updates to the technology used to build Alexa experiences, which are expected to enable improved audio apps and offer better browser-based Alexa games. Furthermore, Amazon is launching a skill resumption feature that will let users pause and resume a task, and also check with Alexa on the task’s progress. And lastly, the company has showcased a beta feature called quick links, which will let developers launch Alexa skills from mobile apps, websites, and ads.
Via: The Verge