The HTC Alexa app has started rolling out to the North American variants of the HTC U11. The app officially brings Alexa access to the handset. This is not the first smartphone to come with Alexa on board as the Huawei Mate 9 had this honor a few months ago. However, the Huawei handset required customers to launch the Alexa app to use its features, while Alexa on the HTC U11 works hands-free. This basically means that you can activate the feature by simply saying “Alexa” rather than having to open the app and activate it manually.
This makes the U11 the only phone to support both “Ok Google” and “Alexa” commands. The smartphone still can’t set reminders or play music from Pandora or Spotify using Alexa but can access a range of other features. Users can also acquire over 15,000 skills from the Alexa Skills Store to make Alexa smarter over time.
HTC talked extensively about the U11 getting access to Amazon Alexa during the smartphone’s launch event. It’s good to see that the company didn’t wait too long to make that happen. HTC U11 units in the UK and Germany will have to wait until the end of July and August respectively to get the new HTC Alexa app.
Since Alexa was only limited to Echo products, providing the service as a third-party offering allows the company to grab more customers. Given the competition it faces from Google Home, this is perhaps the only way the Alexa ecosystem can grow. A recent report mentioned that the HTC U11 is selling better than the HTC 10 and the One M9, which can only be good news for both HTC and Amazon.