Amazon has brought Alexa’s calling feature to tablets, expanding the voice assistant’s presence on mobile devices.
Alexa video and audio calls had only been available on Alexa-powered devices like Echo Show and Echo Dot, or smartphones that have the Alexa app installed. The latest update enabled the calling feature on iPads, Android tablets and Amazon’s Fire tablets.
With Amazon’s Fire HD 10, which has Alexa built-in, users can simply ask the voice assistant to make calls hands-free. With Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 models, users will need to press the devices’ home button to make the calls.
Android and iOS-based tablets need to be installed with the Alexa app first, and users are required to verify their mobile phone numbers and import their contact lists in order to make audio or video calls.
With the new feature, Alexa will play a more important role in mobile devices, which almost everyone owns. Mobile devices owners will be able to make a video call with their parents who have the Echo Show at home, or simply ask the Echo speaker to call their friends with voice commands.
The New Follow-Up Mode
Just recently Amazon added a new feature for Alexa called the “Follow-Up Mode.” With this update, Alexa will wait and listen for five more seconds after making a response to see if the user needs anything else. During the five seconds the ring at the top of Echo devices will light up blue to indicate Alexa is still listening.
As such, users don’t need to say the term “Alexa” again to make another request. This conversation between Alexa and a user is now possible: “Alexa, turn off the lights.” “OK.” (from Alexa) “Set the thermostat to 68.” “OK, the heat is set to 68.” (from Alexa)
Alexa still cannot handle multiple commands at once, so users will still need to make their request one by one if they have multiple requests.
According to Amazon, Alexa will only respond if it is certain it’s heard a request during the five seconds. If it is just background noise, the assistant won’t perform any further actions.