Amazon has today announced Alexa-to-phone calling, allowing owners of an Echo device to make calls to mobile and landline numbers in Australia.
The only exception is emergency services, which you can’t call via your Echo device, but you will soon be able to assign an emergency contact who Alexa will call and SMS when a user asks for help.
Calling with Alexa
To set up Alexa calling, you’ll first need an Echo device. Then, make sure you’ve got the latest version of the Alexa app installed on your phone.
- In the Alexa app, down the bottom, you’ll see the tab Communicate.
- If your number isn’t verified, you’ll have to add and verify your mobile phone number and grant permissions for calling and messaging.
- Back in the Communicate menu, tap the person-shaped icon at the top right, followed by the three dots in the same spot.
- From here, you can select the contacts you’ve already added to your Alexa account or add ones from your phone’s contacts simply by pressing the blue Add text.
You can add up to 10 contacts, but Alexa will automatically add numbers as you call them.
Once that’s done, you can then use your Echo device to make calls. To do this, simply say, ‘Alexa, call ____’. To end the call, say, ‘Alexa, hang up’ or something similar.
SMS isn’t supported just yet, unless your contact has an Alexa account with their number verified (if your contact also has an Alexa device, you can already make and receive voice and video calls between Alexa devices, or the Alexa app).
Calling with Alexa phone calls are made over Wi-Fi, so the quality will be as good as your connection is.
Trying out this feature with Zac, his response was that I was robotic sounding, cutting out semi-regularly. Through the Amazon Echo Dot with Clock (5th generation), it was nowhere near as clear as calls are through an Apple HomePod, but as I’m using an iPhone, that’s to be expected (to a degree).
While the feature works, it isn’t enough for me to use it. Amazon proved it could do it, so it did. It’s a cool feature, we’ll give them that.