AMAZON HAS confirmed that messaging between Alexa devices now includes all compatible tablets.
This means that as well as Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled home devices, audio and video calls are now available on iPads, Android tablets and Fire OS tablets from Amazon including the Fire 7 and HD 8 from generation 4 onwards.
The news comes less than a week after Google announced that its Google Home and Google Home Mini devices would be able to make free landline and mobile calls to UK numbers, without routing via a phone. The service has been available in the US for a while but is now live in the UK.
Google has Duo for video calling, but doesn't have any video-enabled Google Assistant devices. Several third-party manufacturers are bringing them to market in the coming months, but Amazon's Echo range already has a significant jump where video calls are concerned.
What Alexa doesn't yet tap into is the existing phone network. It currently uses its own protocol based on Amazon IDs rather than phone numbers.
But with it being so far ahead in the race for the living room - some estimate it now has 80 percent of the home smart speaker market compared with 18 per cent for Google - that doesn't matter and if you go into your Alexa app, you'll probably find that a lot of your contacts are already listed.
As well as calling contacts, you will also be able to "Drop In" to other rooms in your own house as an internal intercom, a feature that has already been available on Alexa but now extends beyond.
The new version of the app to allow this functionality should be rolling out as you read, and if it's not already waiting on your devices it soon will be. µ
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