The Amazon Echo has tons of useful skills you can try, ranging from Wikipedia answers, a house intercom, a multiroom music system to game show hosting, kitchen assistance and a voice-activated smart TV remote. For sure, Alexa wears many hats and her virtual assistant talents just keep on expanding.
Now, here's a brand new Alexa skill Echo users will appreciate - SMS text message sending! Yep, you can now dictate and ask Alexa to send an actual SMS text message to your friends and family without touching your phone. (Do I hear slow claps from couch potatoes yet again?)
Unfortunately, not everyone can join the Amazon Echo SMS text party. It is a feature that's exclusively for Android phones for now.
Read on and I'll show you how to activate your Amazon Echo's SMS text feature.
How to enable Alexa SMS text messages for your Android phone
If you have an active Android phone line and an Amazon Echo gadget (Echo, Echo Dot, Tap, Show, etc), here's how you turn on the SMS texting feature:
- Open the Alexa app on your Android phone
- Tap the Conversations tab on the bottom toolbar (it looks like a text bubble icon)
- Tap the contact icon in the top right corner (it's shaped like a person)
- Tap "My Profile"
- Toggle "Send SMS" to on (the switch turns blue)
Once enabled, to send an SMS text message through your Amazon Echo, ask Alexa to "Send a text to..." followed by a name in your phone's contact list.
After confirming the contact you want to send the SMS text to, you can then dictate the message and once you're done, Alexa will inform you that the message has been sent.
Beware that you can't proofread your message since Alexa won't read it back to you, so you may want to keep your text messages short and sweet.
Don't confuse this with the Alexa command "Send a message to...", though. Sending a "message" through Alexa means she will try and send a message to the recipient's Alexa app first while sending a "text" will use your Android phone's SMS service directly.
How about iPhone users?
Right now, the Amazon Echo text messaging function is exclusively for Android phones and there's no word when it will be available for iPhone users if it even rolls out at all. Amazon said that Apple doesn't allow third parties to access its iOS messaging API so this feature is not currently possible on iPhones.
However, both iPhone and Android users can still use Alexa for other forms of messaging. Last year, Amazon rolled out a big feature called Alexa Calling & Messaging, a new way for people with Alexa devices and apps to call each other. It's an excellent feature that turns your Echo device into a voice-activated hands-free phone or house intercom. It's so convenient I personally use it for phone calls all the time.
The Amazon Echo SMS feature is now rolling out to every Amazon device that supports Alexa Calling & Messaging. Third-party Echo devices like Alexa speakers do not support this feature yet.
Have a question about Alexa? Kim has your answer! Click here to send Kim a question, she may use it and answer it on her radio show. The Kim Komando Show is broadcast on over 450 stations. Click here to find the show time in your area.
In other news, here's another new Alexa skill that could save your life
There are times in life when we're home alone. If you're ever in an emergency situation, like you've fallen and hurt yourself, there's a good chance that you won't be able to make it to your phone to call for help. Alexa to the rescue! Here's a new skill that has been added that might just save your life.