The ability to make calls using technology is taking another step forward as the Amazon Alexa app has been updated to let Apple iPad and other tablet owners make calls to Echo devices. The Amazon Echo interactive speakers and visual display models previously only worked with one another to make and accept calls. In addition, there were messaging features and the ability to make calls using the Alexa app through one’s smartphone. It’s now being extended to a wide range of tablets.
A report on Monday from Jon Fingas at Engadget revealed the latest details on the new messaging update. It’s noted that previously, Echo speaker owners could use the call feature to make free calls or send messages to other Echo owners. However, that has now been updated to include even more devices that can make calls to Echo speakers. They include not only the Apple iPad tablets but also Android and Amazon Fire tablets.
In addition to that update, the “Drop In Feature” can also be used on the Alexa app on tablets to make calls to Echo devices in other rooms in one’s home. This effectively turns the tablet into an intercom to use for in-home communication. This feature was also previously available mostly between Echo devices, rather than by using other technology items that weren’t designed by Amazon.
As mentioned, the only item needed on a capable tablet to make calls or send messages to Echo devices is the Alexa app. It can be downloaded and installed from the Google Play Store or via the Apple Apps store for free. Once installed, a customer will need to sign in to their Amazon account on the app, and then make sure they’ve enabled the calling feature. In addition, the other party who wants to call has to have the app installed and have the call feature enabled. More details on how to make a call are available at this CNET report.
The Amazon Alexa app not only offers Echo product owners the ability to make and receive calls or messages, but it provides additional functions for the Echo devices. Owners can use the app to adjust settings, set up smart home devices, customize music preferences, and add Alexa Skills such as games, news updates, or other informative features.
The Apple iPad tablets are currently available in different sizes with varying prices. They include the iPad Mini 4 which starts at $399 and move up to the higher-priced, larger and more robust iPad Pro. Those start at $649 for the 10.5-inch display or $799 for the 12.9-inch display at the Apple Store.
The Amazon Fire tablets also come in several different prices and sizes. The Fire 7 starts at just $49.99, while the All-New Fire HD 10 sells for $149.99 at Amazon’s website. It’s mentioned that this new update allowing for calls from a tablet to an Echo device works easiest on a Fire HD 10, where the user can just ask Alexa to get in touch, and the call process begins.