HTC U11 users will now have the option ask Alexa for instructions to a recipe, play music, crack jokes, or anything from its over 15,000 skills. With the integration of Amazon Alexa, the total count of digital assistants on the flagship smartphone goes to three as Google Assistant and HTC’s own Sense Companion are already present. Layering three different assistants might seem like a tad too much, but HTC’s VP of product planning Nigel Newby-House thinks otherwise.
The three assistants are seen as complementary to each other. The HTC Sense Companion offers non-spoken suggestions and reminders, while Google Assistant is voice-controlled and widely available across Android devices. However, Alexa is also tapping on the fad of voice-based assistants and boasts thousands of skills.
It is not the first instance when Alexa has made its presence felt on smartphones; it also came integrated with the Huawei Mate 9. However, the functionality was not as seamless as it is on the HTC U11. The assistant actually works the way it is designed to work as it no longer requires a separate app to be enabled. Calling our Alexa within earshot does the trick to wake up the device, and allow the user to make use of any of the assistant’s skills. RELATED: HTC U11 review: Utopia in the making
As Engadget reports, there were instances when spotty mobile data connections delayed Alexa’s responses. As the HTC U11 lacks far-field microphone array, the smartphone struggled to catch voice instructions from a distance. Given the two hardware are targeted at a different audience, the glitch is forgivable. However, one issue with the Alexa app is that when it can’t recognize the voice instruction, it keeps the screen on until you tap the microphone icon to try again or dismiss the assistant, which basically means it isn’t a truly hands-free experience. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S8 vs HTC U11: Blind camera comparison
Other than calling out to Alexa, the Edge Sense technology of the HTC U11 can also be used to activate Alexa. With three different assistants on a single device, two being voice-controlled, one can expect confusion. However, the HTC U11 supports dual wake-words, so there is no clash between the Google Assistant or Alexa.
If you own an HTC U11, and want to test out the skills of Alexa, you can install the app from the Google Play Store. At present, the app is available for users in the US only, but in the coming weeks, it is expected to be available in more markets. It is also expected that localized versions of Alexa will also be made available in other countries. ALSO READ: The obsession with voice assistant speakers needs a wake-up call