App update brings Amazon’s virtual assistant to British U11 phones.
HTC has updated its Alexa app for the U11, bringing Amazon’s virtual assistant to UK models of the phone.
As we saw a week ago when the service launched in the U.S., the app effectively turns the HTC U11 into a portable Amazon echo, responding to voice commands, and living harmoniously alongside Google Assistant, which shipped on the phone at launch.
When it’s equipped with the HTC Alexa app, the U11 can access skills just like a full-blown Amazon Echo, including interfacing with any Alexa-enabled smart home devices you may have.
There are a few limitations in the app right now, as Andrew Martonik discovered in his time with Alexa on the U.S. unlocked HTC U11:
The fact that Alexa on the phone works just like your Echo at home is a big deal for those who are already familiar with it, but there are also clear limitations to this setup.
Nothing about Alexa on the phone takes advantage of the fact that it’s on the phone. Unlike Google Assistant, Alexa can’t control items on your phone like Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, can’t give you directions to things that open up Google Maps, can’t transition to showing you things on the screen and perhaps most importantly can’t let you just type to it. It really is just an Echo virtualized into an app on your U11 — and that means at launch it lags behind Google Assistant in terms of raw capabilities and features that feel native to the phone.
British U11 owners can get Alexa on their devices by heading to Google Play and updating the preloaded HTC Alexa app: Go to Play Store > My apps and games and tap update. Once updated, you’ll need to open the HTC Alexa app to run through setup and get started.
If you’re playing around with Amazon Alexa on your HTC U11 for the first time today, hit the comments and let us know how you’re getting along. HTC says the next country to get Alexa will be Germany, though there’s no word on precise timings just yet.