Amazon has brought its Alexa voice-based AI assistant to its mobile app.
The app does on the phone pretty much the same kind of thing it does on Amazon Echo smart home devices – answer questions, control connected devices, play music, and so on. As VentureBeat reports, it doesn’t yet have the smart lock functionality available through Samsung SmartThings and Wink smart home hubs, but it will presumably get new functions as Amazon and third party developers add them, just as it has in its other iterations.
While other consumer tech companies like Apple and Google have been striving to compete with Amazon with their own voice-based AI assistants, those platforms have generally been restricted to smartphones, while Alexa has primarily stuck to smart home devices. And so Amazon appears to be breaching enemy lines with its move to a mobile app, though it’s certainly not an unprovoked maneuver, given that Google has brought its Google Assistant to the smart home with its Google Home device, and the reports that Apple has been working to bring Siri to the smart home, too.
In any case, this appears to be the latest escalation in an increasingly intense competition between these major brands and other companies as voice interaction becomes an ever more important user interface for smartphones and the emerging Internet of Things.