[Hands-on] HTC launches Amazon Alexa support for the US

Alexa's specialties tended to be home control and third-party skills; Google was for setting timers and web searches.

If you are the one who uses HTCU11, then there is good news for you guys.

To use the call feature with an Amazon Echo, you'll need to verify your mobile number via SMS - this feature can use phone data but doesn't use text messages and minutes from your contract.

The bad news is that Alexa is only now available on handsets in the USA, but HTC has said that it'll be coming to the United Kingdom later this month. During the launch, HTC had announced that users of this handset would have the option of selecting from three assistants, namely Google Assistant, HTC Companion and Alexa by Amazon.

Alexa doesn't know it has a whole screen to use: Unlike the new Echo Show, Alexa on the U11 doesn't take advantage of the fact that the U11 has a screen that can display information. At launch you can't train the voice model for waking up Alexa, nor can you do some specific functions like create reminders or make calls. "We think customers will love the convenience of having hands-free Alexa capabilities wherever they go".

Even though the HTC U11 is the first to offer Amazon's Alexa to its users, it definitely won't be the last one.

Amazon has been critical in driving the growth in voice-controlled devices by offering such products at different prices, making it easier for consumers to try out the technology. More Skills across a wider variety of tasks makes a system like Alexa more appealing than rival voice assistants.

The HTC U11 smartphone joins the Alexa family today, with a software update that brings "always on" Alexa functionality to HTC's top device. I'm a big fan of Alexa inside my house - I bark commands at my Echo devices to turn on lights, add things to my shopping list, or wake me up in the morning all the time. After the Amazon Fire Phone failed spectacularly it looked like Amazon might not be able to compete. Despite Alexa being heavily associated with Amazon products, it has still managed to branch out and find its way into other brands devices, like Huawei's Mate 9 and the soon to be updated HTC U11. The update to the Edge Sense is available on the Play Store from today itself and you can get your device updated with this new sense right now to test out this new Assistant on your phone.

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