Amazon has been constantly adding new features to its Alexa devices. Recently, Amazon added a feature that allows you to call handsfree, and this time they have added an SMS option. Yes, customers can now send SMS to others via Alexa. Alexa already has its own messaging system, however, in order to work, both the parties need to have an Alexa setup. With the SMS feature, Alexa users will be able to send SMS to anyone, even if the recipient doesn’t have an Alexa device.
In order to use the SMS feature, one needs to follow the instructions which appear on a pop-up in the Alexa app. Firstly the SMS feature needs to be toggled on. Go to Contacts>My Profile and then enable the “Send SMS” feature. That being said, every message by default will be routed to Alexa device and only if it is not available the message will then be relayed via SMS.
The feature, however, comes with a bit downside, it is compatible only with Android devices. Amazon claims it cannot add the SMS feature to Apple devices since the latter doesn’t offer messaging API to third-parties. Alexa app had earlier earned the wrath of its users after it automatically imported contact details. Now it is pretty clear why Amazon was interested in having an access to your contacts. Also, the feature is rolling out to users in few countries and not yet available globally.
Last year, Amazon also introduced a feature that would allow Echo users to call and message for free. The caveat here is that the feature worked only when the caller and the receiver had Echo devices. The SMS feature is already live on all Alexa devices that support calling and messaging. Amazon is ruling the roost when it comes to smart speaker market share. Estimates peg the Amazon’s US market share of smart speakers anywhere between 70% and 76%. On a related note, Alexa has always had the first movers advantage since it had a two-year head start with respect to Google Home.