This new tablet functionality is best integrated with Amazon's Fire HD 10, which allows truly hands-free access to make free voice (and video) calls, along with the ability to send messages. Placing a call is a simple as calling out for Alexa and speaking a contact name. If you have a Fire 7, Fire HD 8 or older Fire tablet, you'll have to first press the home button to initiate a call or send a message.
In addition to supporting the Fire family of tablets, Amazon is also extending calling/messaging support to Android and iOS tablets. For these devices, you will first need to open the Alexa app, after which you will be able to perform tasks such as placing a voice call or "dropping in” on other Echo devices that might be located within your home or office.
"Drop In is for the special cases when you want to connect instantly with your closest family and friends or other Echo devices in your home," Amazon explains. "For example, you can drop in from your supported Echo device, tablet (including Fire tablet) or mobile phone to ask what time dinner will be ready, see the baby's nursery, or check in with a close relative."
Amazon Echo devices have been in the news quite a bit in recent weeks. Earlier this month, an Amazon Web Services outage knocked out Alexa-based services for many people along the east and west coasts of the United States. Luckily, Amazon was able to restore service within a few hours. A few days later, Alexa-based devices were scaring their owners by laughing out loud for no particular reason. Amazon pushed an update to address the creepy outbursts in rapid fashion.
Most recently, Amazon upgraded Alexa to support back-to-back questions with Follow-Up mode, for more natural conversations with the voice assistant.