Voice assistants have been a standard feature of smartphones for a few years, but Amazon’s Echo was the first device that successfully brought the technology into a smart home product.

You can use a the Alexa voice assistant on an Amazon Echo to get news or weather updates by voice, play music, dim your smart light bulbs, and thousand of other things (although nobody is actually using most of those features).

But soon you may also be able to use an Alexa-powered device to do something else: make phone calls.

Amazon Echo Dot

Recode reports that Amazon is developing a new Alex device that can be used both to call telephones and to make device-to-device calls, allowing the product to act as a sort of intercom. Put a few around your house and you can speak to other members of the family.

The report follows an earlier article from the Wall Street Journal that suggested both Google and Amazon were working on adding phone calling capabilities to their smart speakers, but Recode says what’s new is that it has spoken to sources that say Amazon has begun beta testing its product.

There’s no word on when it will launch or how the phone call capabilities will work: will the speaker be linked to your existing phone number or will you need a new number, for example?

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see intercom features come to existing devices, since, unlike phone calls, that wouldn’t require any additional hardware. But Recode doesn’t say anything about that possibility.

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6 replies on “Report: Amazon working on Alexa product that makes phone calls”

  1. I really like the Echo’s voice assistant.

    When I try to make a phone call with Siri it calls the wrong person sometimes.

    I’m sure that Amazon will get it right.

  2. I agree phone integration and/or intercom usage would be a great feature on these types of devices. While Amazon may be testing Google has a long history with and understanding of voip/telephony through its “Google Voice” service. And interestingly that is widely rumored to be on the verge of a lot of change.

  3. Should be great for us seniors in case we fall in the home and want to interact with someone regarding what to do next if we can’t get up.
    I also like hockey.

  4. Using Echo (or similar) devices as an intercom is a great idea. They are perfectly suited for that use since they contain a microphone array, a speaker, and have network connectivity. Plus, the capability would certainly help sell multi-packs of these devices.

    Note to Brad: I tried to comment as a guest and could not get the captcha to work. I tried about a dozen times and typed it exactly like I saw it. Either there’s a problem or I’m going blind.

    1. Hmm. I had a similar problem when I first set things up, but I made a change which seemed to fix it. I guess it didn’t solve the issue for everyone.

      I’ll probably upgrade to using Google’s Captcha system soon, which should make things a bit easier.

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