It just got even harder to avoid your friends and family.
Amazon has added their suite of Fire tablets to the list of devices that are compatible with its hands-free Alexa Calling and Messaging feature. Your AI smart assistant can now call, message and video chat pretty much anyone from your phone book (or any number that you know) using your Fire tablet, as long the receiver has a supported Amazon device, or has downloaded and installed the Alexa app on their non-Amazon smartphone or tablet. This feature remains free (at least for now).
The drop in feature – which I still find a bit creepy – is also now available on Fire tablets. So…yay? I supposed it does have advantage for parents. So…yay.
The calling and messaging feature is pretty easy to set up; I was able to do it for my Echo devices in just a couple of minutes. You just need to make sure that you have the most recent Alexa app installed on your Fire tablet. Once the app is open, you’ll see a message bubble on the bottom of the screen. If you click that button, you’ll be taken to the calling and messaging dashboard, where you can set up the feature by verifying and mobile number, and optionally importing your contacts.
After you have synced your Fire tablet Alexa app with your mobile number, you’re ready to start making calls and sending messages. If you have multiple people using your Fire tablet, you can customize how Alexa responds to you by setting up a voice profile. With a voice profile, Alexa will recognize your voice so that you can give commands like “Alexa, call my dad” and be assured that *your* dad will be called, and not your roommate or partner’s dad.
If you activate the Drop In feature, you will be connected instantly to the device that you specify, without the other person having to accept your video call. Drop In is an optional feature that has to activated, so you don’t have to worry about being spied on if you don’t approve it.
Aside from voice and video calling on Fire tablets, Alexa also supports messaging. It works similar to text messaging, and Alexa can send and read your messages when prompted by your voice commands.
The calling feature for Fire tablets is available for phone numbers in Mexico, Canada, and the United States, however, emergency service phone calls are not supported at this time.
So, if you have an Echo device but one of your parents only has a Fire tablet, you’ll still be able to use the Alexa Calling and Messaging feature. Video calling will require both people to have either an Amazon Fire tablet with a front-facing camera or an Echo device with a screen and camera.
If you’re not sure if you have the required hardware and software to use this feature on your Fire tablet, head to the Amazon help page to review the specifications.
For more on our thoughts about Amazon’s Alexa check out: 2 Reasons Amazon’s Alexa is the Leader of the Pack