Just when you thought Alexa could do everything, another major feature drops.
Microsoft has announced (opens in new tab) that you can now use Echo devices to make Skype calls. This feature isn't just for the Echo Show and Spot, which have screens and already allow for video chat through other Alexa devices; it also works on devices such as the Echo and Echo Dot as well.
Here's how to get started:
1. Open your Alexa app.
2. Tap Settings > Communication > Skype.
3. Enter your Skype account information.
4. Say "Alexa, Skype Dad," or "Alexa, call 555-555-5555 on Skype." Make sure the person you're calling has the latest version of Skype.
Voice and video calls aren't new for Alexa. You could already make calls between Alexa devices, including phones with the Alexa app. However, Skype integration taps a much larger user base of those who don't have Echo devices or the Alexa app.
In the past year, Microsoft has found difficulty marketing Cortana as a consumer-facing voice assistant. This partnership with Amazon is its latest attempt to finally collaborate with Alexa. In August, the companies released a Cortana skill for Alexa, and an Alexa skill for Cortana, functionally allowing you to use one wherever you can use the other. And earlier this month, Amazon released a Windows 10 app that allows you to use Alexa on any PC.
Meanwhile, this is bad news for Facebook, whose Portal device is built entirely around easy access to video chat.