AMAZON ALEXA users can now make and receive calls to UK telephone numbers directly from their Echo device, thanks to a partnership with Vodafone.
The service is part of Vodafone's OneNumber offering, but will also be available to non-customers under the slightly less glamorous sounding 'Alexa Outbound Calling', which will allow calls to residential numbers.
Vodafone OneNumber allows users to make calls from a single plan on a variety of devices including smartphones, smartwatches and smart speakers. To call other mobiles, you'll need to be on a Vodafone OneNumber plan.
Max Taylor, Consumer Director at Vodafone UK, swoons: "We are of course proud to be the first to offer this service globally but more importantly provide another easy way for our customers to stay connected.
"Vodafone UK customers can now tap into their mobile call allowances, doing away with their landlines, and through an integrated address book make or receive calls over Alexa devices in the home".
OneNumber and Outbound Calling join Skype as options for making VoIP calls through Alexa devices. They can be used for calls in the US, UK, Canada and Mexico for no extra charge. However, don't go thinking you'll never need a landline again - they're still not recommended for emergency calls.
The announcement comes over a year after Google introduced a similar scheme for outbound UK calls which people keep forgetting about but does exist, really. However, unlike Google, Alexa can already receive incoming calls too - something that Google says it is still working on.
To use the new Alexa services, you'll need to verify your phone number and sync your contacts in the Alexa app. Vodafone users will need to check their account for details on how to set up, ditto Skype account holders.
If you want to make outbound calls to mobiles or receive incoming calls, you'll need to sign up with Vodafone. Sorry about that. μ
Much a (dil)do about nothing
Neither the time nor the face
The tiny tweaks are coming thick and fast now
Gitting more secure