Amazon has just changed the telephone game by introducing free voice calling using its new Echo devices and its Alexa personal assistant.
Alexa has been around for a while now, and is challenging Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant at their own game. In fact, it’s taken the digital assistant platform to an entirely new market – the home.
By offering free calss and messaging using Alexa, Amazon is directly challenged mobile network providers. More interestingly, though, the presence of its Echo devices in so many homes has posed a serious threat to landline providers – one that could kill them off for good.
That’s assuming apps like WhatsApp and Skype haven’t done that already!
Amazon’s latest Echo device, the Show, features a small screen that – wait for it – enables video calling over the Alexa platform.
It really looks like we are well on our way to the next generation of in-home communication, a generation that sees the long-awaited demise of the landline.
The feature is available on all Echo devices, as well as on all devices with the free Alexa app. That means that iOS and Android users can now call Alexa-powered households directly, free of charge.
For now, Alexa is just a gimmick for South Africans, as full functionality is limited to the USA and the UK. However, the free call functionality should work well worldwide, and Telkom will no doubt be shivering in its boots!