HTC and Amazon have announced that Alexa, Amazon’s own digital assistant, is now available for use on HTC’s U11 smartphone.
Amazon’s Alexa is already a fairly popular digital assistant, but its availability on smartphones is limited to the U11 and the Huawei Mate 9. Amazon’s slow expansion into the mobile phone market could be key to determining which smart assistant comes out on top.
War Of The Digital Assistants
Google Assistant, Siri, and Samsung’s Bixby are most known for their use on smartphones. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen these services begin to expand into the home. In fact, some of them still do not have dedicated smart speakers. Amazon’s Alexa, on the other hand, is different. The service was custom-built for the Amazon Echo and has been steadying growing since then.
In terms of home-based digital assistants, Alexa is doing fairly well thanks to the fact that Amazon offers several versions of its smart speakers at varying price points to make it more affordable for consumers. The area it is lagging behind on is in the smartphone market. Currently, it is only available on two devices though there are rumors that Amazon is working on a new smartphone which would undoubtedly support Alexa.
Alex On The U11
Alexa’s performance on the U11 is important not only for users of that device but for everyone because it gives us an idea of how Amazon’s digital assistant will function on smartphones.
The user response is, so far, mediocre. Reviews on the Google Play Store have the app hovering around 3.4 stars. However, there are only 40 reviews and some of those are English users expressing frustration that the app is not available in their region. Those complaints are understandable, but they have no bearing on how the app actually functions in day-to-day use.
Beyond issues in the UK, the functionality of Alexa’s U11 iteration is up for debate. The app has access to standard features such as checking the weather as well as using Alexa’s collection of skills. On the other hand, it can’t do a lot of things that other digital assistants can such as set reminders, control other phone features, or give users text-based search results.
As of right now, Alexa is a bit limited, but we expect Amazon will improve it over time especially if the rumors of a new Amazon-powered smartphone turn out to be true.