If you have an Android phone and an iPhone, you might use Google Assistant or Siri to interact with your device and its apps. But Amazon is working on an update for Alexa that might convince you to use its voice assistant instead.
Amazon unveiled the effort on its website and explained how it hopes to enable Alexa to launch apps and run commands on Android and iOS devices. Developers would need to update skills to make the process work, but it sounds potentially useful.
In one example, Amazon explained you might ask Alexa to open Twitter for you and search for a particular hashtag. Twitter and Alexa would work together to launch the social networking app and perform the hashtag search.
Another example, complete with a video demonstration, comes from TikTok. You can ask Alexa to open TikTok and start a hands-free recording, which is helpful if you want to avoid the awkward “stepping back from the phone” bit that starts of may videos.
If you move and forth between Android and iOS, having a single set of voice commands you can rely on might be useful instead of remembering what to say with this or that phone.
But developers have to do work to implement the new feature, so it’s hard to say how widely it will roll out to users. Amazon says TikTok, Yellow Pages, Uber, Sonic, Zynga, and Volley are already implementing the new skills.
If you’re a developer who wants to take advantage of the new feature set, you can sign up for a preview at Amazon’s site.