The smart speaker market is booming with estimates pegging usage in America at about 39 million users combined for the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Amazon is the leader in the segment and the company has announced that its Alexa voice assistant that is embedded in the Echo devices now has gained ability for the device to send text messages to other users.
Previously Echo could send a text-based message to a user, but the sender and the receiver both needed to be running the Alexa app and have an Echo device. The new SMS feature will only work on Android smartphones and is only available in the U.S. for now.
If you can tick both of those boxes, Alexa can now send an SMS to any of the contacts listed in your phone. Enabling the new feature requires users to open the Alexa app on their smartphone and tap the "Conversations" button. Then tap "Contacts" and "My Profile" then toggle the "Send an SMS" button to turn on the feature.
Then you can ask Alexa to "send a text message" or "send an SMS" and tell the assistant who you want to text. If you want to send a text to someone
You can still tell Alexa to "send a message" but if you do that, it will try and send it via the Alexa app first. If the person you are texting lacks the app, it will then be sent as an SMS. Word is that the feature is available for all Alexa users in the U.S. right now, but the feature doesn't function with third-party smart speakers running Alexa.