Yesterday the Alexa Assistant came to the HTC U11. This is the best phone the company has made in years and it has just gotten better. Amazon partnered up with HTC to provide them with Alexa on their phone to be used as a virtual assistant like Siri or Cortana. But the real question is “Is it just like the Echo and Echo Dot?“. Let’s take a closer look.
How does it Work?
In order to use Alexa, you have to install the special version of Alexa by downloading the HTC Alexa App. This is probably so that customers don’t get confused with Amazon’s Alexa App. Once downloaded you have to integrate it with the phone, and you are ready. Now when you say, Alexa, it should respond to your command. The only problem is that if you have your phone just lying on the table you will have to manually unlock your phone to make Alexa work. That defeats the purpose of not using your phone to use Alexa.
Alexa reacts to your commands quickly but that is only most of the time. Just like Ok Google and Hey Siri, you will have to repeat the command half the time to get it to respond. That is one of the problems that are still there in Virtual Assistants which is something that Google, Apple, and others are trying to fix.
Can Alexa do things the Echo and Echo Dot can do?
The answer is that it depends. The Alexa assistant on the U11 can play music from Amazon, add things to my Alexa shopping and to-do lists, play my flash briefing, tell a joke, provide weather information, control smart home gadgets, use third-party “skills,” add events to my calendar, give me sports scores, and answer a host of other questions. These are the basic skills that the Alexa will do but it can’t play music from any other services such as Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn. What is really disappointing is that it cannot call others, send Alexa messages, cannot set alarms, set timers, and set reminders which are some of the basic features present in Virtual Assistant.
When you say “Alexa” the Alexa logo will cover only 1/4 of the screen. This means that you will not be able to see the conversation you had with Alexa and so all of the information she says will not be displayed. That is a problem because if you look at Siri a whole new screen pops-up and it literally shows you what you are saying and you can also edit what you said. HTC said that:
…it expects people to go to Amazon’s Alexa management app to view more information when they want
I am pretty sure that is not what the customers want. To be honest with you the Alexa Assistant isn’t the brightest piece of technology that you be put on a device but it is a good way for Amazon to start dominating the world and controlling all aspects of our lives. The U11’s Alexa feature is available from the Google Play Store for devices in the US starting today and will come to the UK and Germany later this summer.