Fans of Amazon's Alexa digital assistant tend to take advantage of it the more convenient it is to utilize, so it's been a bit frustrating for Android users who've had very few good options (if any at all) up to this point. Actually, things are still not perfect, but at least we're getting somewhere with a recent update to the app that is now on Google Play (hit the source link below).
HTC's U11 was one of the rare Android smartphones with Alexa baked-in
In this new update to its Alexa Android app, Amazon has added the ability for full Alexa Voice integration on all Android devices. You'll be able to chat to Alexa on your Android phone (or tablet) the same way you can talk to it on a native device. There is one big caveat, though: the app needs to be active (not just running in the background) in order for an "Alexa" beckon to be heard and responded to.
It's better to have a solution than no solution at all, but clearly, most Alexa fans are going to hope for the day when they can say "Alexa" and their phone will simply respond. We've had a few options with Alexa baked-in before, including the Huawei Mate 9, and HTC U11, but they're far and few between until now.
With this move from Amazon, we're one step closer to having complete Alexa interaction on our Android devices. Given the limitations here, we may see the assistant commonly used on strictly consumption devices, such as tablets that might not get as much use, and thus can be run "active" all day long. Of course, at that point, buying a dedicated device like an Echo seems way easier.
But hey, more options are nice, and we can at least give Amazon a nod for giving us the best solution it can, within the limits of the Google Play Store and Android itself.