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Amazon Alexa gets voice calling and messaging in the UK, Germany and Austria

Amazon has boosted its Alexa app to add support for calling and messaging for users based in the UK, Germany and Austria, further expanding the abilities of its virtual assistant. 

When used with Amazon Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers, people can simply use voice commands to instruct the Alexa-powered devices to call other gadgets also using Alexa.

With the Alexa app available on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, this means calls can be made to iPhones and other smartphones from simply barking commands at one of the Echo speakers; Amazon’s upcoming Echo Show, a screen-equipped speaker meets tablet smart home gadget, will also support the messaging and calling capabilities.

It’s hardly a revolutionary move by Amazon, but it does show the company is not content with simply making gadgets with Alexa on-board and then pushing them out to the market and relying on third-party developers to add in the bells and whistles to what the devices and Alexa can do. Clearly Amazon is committed to building out Alexa and the surrounding ecosystem of devices and app integrations.

And it will need to keep this activity up, as it now has the Google Home as direct competition with more smart home devices from the search giant expected to show up soon. Apple is also poised to take on the Echo and Alexa with its Siri-powered HomePod, meaning Amazon could be facing competition from all sides when 2018 rolls around.

More and more devices are coming with smart assistants embedded in them, with Google arguably leading the charge with its Assistant, which rapidly expanded from Google’s own Pixel phones into a wider range of Android phones and devices; with the Pixel 2 due to be announced October 4, there’s a chance we could see a much smarter Google Assistant to really put Alexa and Siri in their places.

Related: everything you need to know about the Pixel 2 

Which virtual assistant do you prefer? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook. 

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