Amazon has brought Alexa, its artificial intelligence voice assistant, to iPhone Users via its main shopping app.
As far as Apple has its own voice assistant SIRI, Amazon is encroaching on Apple’s territory by introducing Alexa on the iPhone. And bearing in mind the fact that Apple is the world’s second-largest smartphone maker by market share, Alexa can get a significant adoption.
It is hard to deny that Siri has some advantage on the iPhone as it is deeply integrated with the software on the phone and closer tied to Apple’s overall ecosystem. Besides, it can be used to control or open certain apps and link with smart home devices. Users can also access Siri quicker that Alexa as it doesn’t require an app to be opened.
However, users won’t need to download another piece of software if they want to roll out Alexa inside its main shopping app. To start working with Alexa, users will need to hit the microphone icon at the top of the Amazon app for iPhone to wake Alexa up. Then the assistant will be able to carry out such tasks as adding items to Amazon shopping basket, playing music through Amazon Prime Music, its Spotify rival service, answering simple question such as telling the weather or doing simple calculations. As for now, Alexa has more than 10,000 “skills”.
Amazon aims to get Alexa integrated with many devices. The voice assistant is already on the company’s Echo smart speaker. Earlier this year, Amazon also announced that Alexa partners with LG to be on its new refrigerator and with Huawei to be on Mate 9 smartphone.
Scale is crucial for Alexa as it has to “remember” large amount of data. Voice assistants have the potential to be a driver for many companies in the future. For example, RBC Capital Markets has recently estimated that Alexa can bring Amazon $10 billion of revenues by 2020 from sales of devices like the Echo and even voice-driven shopping.
It is interesting that Siri isn’t involved in the escalating voice assistant battle. Here’s what Siri said when asked what it thought about Alexa:
Siri is very diplomatic. This is what happened when I asked it what it thought about Amazon's Alexa coming to the iPhone pic.twitter.com/67uKYwXgMi
— Arjun Kharpal (@ArjunKharpal) March 17, 2017
The updated Amazon app will be available for iOS users this week. There is no information so far if it’ll be coming to Android yet.
Amazon unveiled the news just days after the firm announced that it’s free for developers to build and host most Alexa skills using Amazon Web Services.
“There is already a large community of incredibly engaged developers building skills for Alexa,” said Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa. “We’re excited to announce a new programme that will free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services. We can’t wait to see what developers create for Alexa.”