Amazon has redesigned its Alexa app for a better and more intuitive user interface to control smart home devices.
The new app lists device categories on the top, allowing users to quickly access their Alexa-connected Echo devices, smart lights or smart plugs. Under the device categories, there are device groups, such as living room and kitchen, so that users can directly control a group of devices in a certain space.
A small “+” sign on top right of the screen lets users add new devices to the connected home. The new app allows users to add Bluetooth speakers for multi-room grouping as well.
As homeowners install smart speakers and various connected devices in their homes, an app that directly categorizes device types and locations offers better access for home automation.
The new app was announced when Amazon unveiled various Alexa-enabled devices, including new Echo speakers, Ring cameras, wall clocks, smart plugs, subwoofers and Alexa-controlled microwaves.
Amazon has also improved the communication feature. In the app, users can choose from icons to call, message or Drop-In to other user’s Alexa devices, a feature allowing two Echo device owners to talk to each other via the speakers. For people who own a big house, the speakers may also serve as in-home intercoms.
The new Alexa app was released for both iOS and Android operating systems.
About 24% of U.S. households have a smart speaker, and 40% of those households have more than one units in the second quarter of 2018, according to a recent report by research and analytics firm Nielsen.
Amazon is leading the market with Alexa-enabled devices in the U.S., while Google is trying to catch up with its newly-built ecosystem. The latter is expected to announce a new Google Home device at its hardware event on October 9.