Amazon announced that Alexa’s calling functionality, which allows users to place voice and video calls from Alexa devices, is now available on tablets, including iPads, Android tablets and the company’s Fire tablets.
Available in the latest version of the Alexa iOS and Android application, Alexa allows users to call or send messages to anyone who has a supported Echo device or has the Alexa app on their supported tablet. Users also need to verify their phone numbers and import their contacts to use the feature.
TechCrunch explained that on the Fire HD 10, the feature can be used hands-free, while on the Fire 7 and Fire HD 8 or older generation Fire tablets, users will have to press the Home button to utilize it.
Drop In, which allows you to connect with your device or a contact’s device, hearing or seeing (if both have screens) anything within range of it, will also be available on the tablets.
The update on calling is just the latest service Alexa has to offer. A recent report found that between 2017 and the beginning of 2018, the number of Alexa skills skyrocketed to more than 25,000 from 7,053 in the U.S., and has increased a little more than 100 percent in the U.K. over the same period.
In addition, the company added voice integration to Alexa for the Android app, and Android users can now also send text messages using Alexa. Previously, they had to have the Alexa app installed in order 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.
And there is more to come: Last month, it was reported that Amazon is working on its own artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chip to interface with Alexa, enabling the virtual assistant to respond to requests more quickly.