Google has recently unveiled the Smart Display at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. It is a modified Google Assistant with a screen and speakers manufactured by LG and Sony. These are expected to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Echo Spot. Naturally, the competition in the virtual assistant market has gone fiercer. Amazon, as a reply, has updated the Alexa app for Android with voice controls and the ability to send SMS.
Free phone calls to landlines and mobile phones across the US, Canada, and Mexico are already being provided by Amazon’s Echo speakers, since September. The text and video messaging features in the Alexa app were unveiled even before that, in June. Soon after that, the Echo Show was launched.
Google, on the other hand, has only been able to add the SMS feature to the Home users since the landline phone calls were included, back in August.
Now Alexa can send SMS to smartphones. As of now, this feature is limited to the US and will work on Android devices. Introducing the same feature for the iOS platform wasn’t possible due to the restrictions placed by Apple, on messaging API for third parties. Whether this service will go international in the future or not is not yet clarified by the company yet.
The procedure for enabling the Alexa SMS messaging feature is quite easy. After opening the Alexa app, the user has to go to the conversations tab and select the ‘Contacts’ options. Under that option, there is another option named ‘My Profile. The ‘Send SMS’ toggle can be enabled from here.
Alexa was already empowered to send messages last year, but that was not via SMS. This older feature would let messages sent from one Alexa app user be received by another Alexa app user only. But now, after the latest Amazon Alexa update, Alexa would ask you to choose between sending an SMS message or an Alexa SMS message.