Amazon Alexa calling and messaging comes to Fire, Android and iOS tablets

A small cylindrical black speak-like object sits on a kitchen counter top

With the update, anyone that has the Alexa app downloaded on their tablets can now set up calls, meaning you don't need to have an Echo on your shelf to take advantage of free calls and messages.

If you have a habit of peppering Alexa with multiple questions and commands, then you've probably gotten used to saying "Alexa" over and over to keep waking her up.

The basic idea is simple, and obvious in hindsight.

It's worth mentioning that you don't need a tablet or Echo speaker to receive calls, all you need is the Alexa app. Amazon's Drop In feature will also work between tablets and other Echo devices in your home, so you can use your tablet to communicate with someone else inside your house. A third user asked Alexa to play music, and she laughed.

An explanation for this behavior, which Amazon has given, according to the British "Guardian" and the BBC, is that in some rare cases the personal digital assistant listens to the non-existent command "Alexa laughed".

There were even claims that when a user told Alexa to turn off the lights, the AI assistant "refused" to and laughed while doing the opposite.

Another user wrote: "I was lying down and was getting ready to sleep when Alexa made a very loud and thrilling laugh from my Amazon Echo speakers".

Amazon says that Alexa will only respond to follow-ups if she's "confident" that it's a legitimate request and not just background noise, so I'll be curious to see how good she is at distinguishing between the two. Obviously you can't make a video call to a regular Echo, but that should be obvious seeing as how it doesn't have a camera. Android and iOS have extra steps, forcing you to manually open the Alexa app before you can talk to the virtual assistant, but the basics are the same.



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