Alexa has learned a new skill: sending text messages.
On Tuesday, Amazon introduced the ability to send text messages from your Echo device to anyone in your contacts.
All you have to do is say, “Alexa, send a message.” Alexa will then either send your message as a regular text, or over Alexa messaging (if it’s to another Alexa-enabled device). The new feature works using any Alexa device, like the Echo Dot or Echo Show, but it only users with Android phones will be able to enable text messaging – at least for now.
Here’s how to set it up:
When you open the Alexa app on your Android phone, you should be greeted with this screen letting you know the new feature is available (text messaging isn’t available on iPhones yet).
You’ll have to give Amazon some permissions, like accessing your contacts.
To turn the feature on, click the conversations button at the bottom of the screen.
You’ll see this screen, which is where all your conversations are housed. Click the contacts button in the upper right corner.
Then look for the tab that says “My Profile.”
Inside your profile, scroll down a bit until you see the option that says “Send SMS.” Toggle that option on to start sending and receiving messages. (And while you’re at it, enable Drop In so people can call you on your Echo device.)
After that, you’re ready to start messaging. Say, “Alexa, send a message to _____” and Alexa will respond asking what you’d like to send.
The recipient will see your phone number and the message, which arrives as both a text and voice message. You can listen to the voice message by clicking on that link.
It’s not 100% seamless, though. Amazon doesn’t support sending text messages on iPhone yet, so when I tried it texting from iPhone to Android, the responses were just going to the Android phone instead of playing through the Echo.
Still, it’s a fun feature to try out, and an easy way to send a quick message when you can’t get to your phone.
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