Amazon Technology

Amazon Echo Is Now A Free Phone

Amazon has been expanding the features of its Alexa Echo devices since first launching them in 2014, and now the eCommerce giant is reportedly adding the ability to make phone calls even to devices that are not Alexa-enabled.

According to a report in AFTVNews, Amazon is expanding its new service. Launched back in May, it originally allowed Echo users to make free calls to any other Alexa-enabled devices. According to the report, anyone with the Alexa app can now make free phone calls to any U.S., Canadian or Mexican phone number without needing any additional hardware.

Additionally, the report said those on the receiving end will have no indication the call is coming from Alexa’s app and not the mobile phone carrier. Users can make phone calls either by saying the person’s name or speaking the phone number. Via voice commands, users can control the volume of the call and end the conversation if they want. However, users won’t be able to get calls from landline phones without the Echo being plugged into a landline phone, noted the report.

The move to expand the uses for Alexa comes as Amazon is also enhancing its lineup of Echo speakers, powered by Alexa. Late last month, the company announced two new voice assistants: the Echo for $99 and the Echo Plus for $150. The newest Echo is the latest update to the Alex-powered speaker – the Plus covers those functions and also acts as a smart hub for various internet-connected devices within the household. The devices also include “second-generation voice recognition technology” along with seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation so Alexa can hear your commands from anywhere, even when music is playing.

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New PYMNTS Report: Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook – July 2020 

Call it the great tug-of-war. Fraudsters are teaming up to form elaborate rings that work in sync to launch account takeovers. Chris Tremont, EVP at Radius Bank, tells PYMNTS that financial institutions (FIs) can beat such highly organized fraudsters at their own game. In the July 2020 Preventing Financial Crimes Playbook, Tremont lays out how.

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