“With Skype on your Alexa-enabled device, you can connect hands-free with family and friends around the world just by saying, ‘Alexa, call Mom on Skype,'” according to a blog post.
In addition to Skype audio and video calls, Alexa customers are able to call most landlines and mobile numbers globally using Skype to Phone. To celebrate the availability, Skype now offers 200 free minutes of Skype to Phone calling in 34 countries. Skype calling on Alexa is available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Ireland, India, Canada and New Zealand. Additional countries are expected to roll out soon.
This serves as another way for Amazon to expand Alexa’s calling features. Last year, VP and Head Scientist Rohit Prasad at Alexa Artificial Intelligence said the next popular function on the Echo devices would be voice or video calling, in which Alexa removes the need for a person to have their mobile device with them all the time. In March 2018, the company announced that Alexa’s calling functionality, which allows users to place voice and video calls from Alexa devices, was available on tablets, including iPads, Android tablets and the company’s Fire tablets.
Alexa allows users to call or send messages to anyone who has a supported Echo device or the Alexa app on their supported tablet. Users must also verify their phone numbers and import their contacts to use the feature.
In addition, the company added voice integration to Alexa for the Android app, and Android users can now send text messages using Alexa. Previously, they had to have the Alexa app installed to send texts, and they could only send messages to people who had also installed the app. Now, a simple “Alexa, send a message” can send a message to anyone in a user’s contact list through the app.