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November 18, 2016

AT&T Customers Can Now Use Alexa to Send Text Messages

The Amazon Echo, powered by Alexa.

Amazon is teaming up with AT&T to enable the telecommunication giant’s customers to dictate text messages via Alexa, the “brain” that powers Echo, the e-retailer’s voice-activated digital assistant.

Echo DotThe Send Message skill is available beginning today to all AT&T customers.

“The AT&T Send Message skill is ideal if you’re in a hurry or busy with your hands,” AT&T said in a press release. “Just ask Alexa to have AT&T text your friend and then Alexa will prompt you to say your text message. You can add up to 10 frequent contacts to the skill so can send them text messages without typing on your smartphone.”

To take advantage of Alexa, AT&T customers must first own either an Amazon Echo — a tall, cylinder-shaped, Internet-connected device that retails for $180 — or the smaller Echo Dot, for $50. Both are hands-free, voice-controlled devices that use Amazon’s AI system, Alexa, to play music, control Smart home devices, provide information, read the news, set alarms, and so on, with simple voice commands.

The devices, which come in black or white, connect to your speakers via an audio cable or Bluetooth. It also includes a built-in speaker so it can work on its own as a Smart alarm clock in the bedroom, an assistant in the kitchen, or anywhere you need a voice-controlled computer. The device comes with far-field voice recognition so it can hear you even when you are on the other side of the room.