HTC U11 Becomes an 'Alexa Phone'

HTC U11 Amazing Silver

Even its gimmicky "Edge Sense" feature doesn't tarnish the U11's shine. If you have updated your HTC phone with the latest Edge sense OS, you will get this new Amazon's Alexa assistant on your phone. You can ask Alexa a question, such as 'Alexa, what's the weather today?' and Alexa will respond once your phone is unlocked.

HTC said when it introduced the U11 that Alexa support was in the works, so it's good to see that feature launch in the months following the U11's release.

That might sound appealing, but as I've tested the U11's Alexa assistant over the past week, the practical use of it doesn't live up to its promises.

Alexa on the HTC U11 is pretty much the full experience you'd find on an Amazon Echo, with support for various skills for home control, alarms, and the like. If you think that might lead to confusion as to which one is the right one to use at any given time, you'd be correct.

Did you hear about the Amazon Echo that called 911 earlier this week when it heard a husband threaten his wife? Squeezing the frame of the device can activate various software features, most notably a personal assistant (a feature the next generation Pixel XL is apparently set to borrow).

However, there are some things that Alexa on the U11 can't do.

HTC U11 Amazon Alexa assistant
Amazon's next Echo speaker will reportedly focus on audio (AMZN)

The BIG difference is that this Alexa can be called upon no matter what's open (or not open) on the device.

With Cortana and Google Assistant now both available on iOS and Android, the battle of the mobile smart assistants is well and truly underway. This is key in creating the best assistant as phones can teach the AI a lot more about a person.

Nothing about Alexa on the phone takes advantage of the fact that it's on the phone. That means, saying commands like, "Alexa, what's the weather like?" without ever touching a button and getting that info.

Alexa's interface consists of little more than a tiny window that pops up at the bottom of the screen.

Voice shopping works, but why? The Avis integration with Amazon Alexa underscores the brand's commitment to driving innovation that paves the road to the future and to creating a competitively superior reservation and rental experience for its customers.

The new Echo, Engadget says, will use "several tweeters", instead of just one accompanied by a woofer for the low end as the current model does (the HomePod uses seven tweeters, for reference). After the Amazon Fire Phone failed spectacularly it looked like Amazon might not be able to compete. It's worth noting that the HTC U11 is now available in the United States, and you can get it for Sapphire Blue, Brilliant Black, Amazing Silver and Solar Red color variants. Huawei rolled out Alexa support for the Mate 9 back in March, but that requires users to launch an Alexa app first.

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