Amazon Echo May Soon Support Sending SMS Messages
A new report suggests that Amazon Echo may soon support sending SMS messages. With this new feature, those with Amazon Echo will be able to ask Alexa to send messages to their contacts via a new mobile number tied to their Amazon account.
The report says that code has been found within the Amazon Alexa application. In the code, it suggests that a new type of phone number will be added, which Amazon has dubbed the Alexa number. With this, Echo users will be able to ask Alexa to send out traditional SMS text messages.
When a message is sent, the recipient will see the Alexa number as the sender. Recipients will be able to send messages back and forth to this number. Currently, Alexa allows messages to be sent back and forth between two existing Alexa users, but support for branching outside of the Echo ecosystem doesn’t yet exist.
This update will be a big step in adding communication to more traditional channels. If Amazon Echo does soon support sending SMS messages, Alexa will be one step closer to replacing the home telephone.
Because the Amazon Alexa number will be tied to your account, you’ll be able to use a variety of methods to contact your friends or family through Amazon. The main method will be to ask Alexa with an Echo or Echo Dot. You could also use Amazon Tap or simply send a message manually via the Alexa app.
Standard Alexa-to-Alexa messaging has already been in the Alexa app since May, but this new support for sending and receiving SMS messages will certainly be appreciated by the growing Alexa consumer base.
Voice calls are also supported through existing Alexa-to-Alexa messaging, so we’re curious to see whether Amazon will also support voice calls to phone numbers via the new Alexa number feature.
It should be noted that this new feature has only been found because researchers dug into the Alexa app code. There’s no guarantee that this feature is actually coming to Amazon, but it’s highly likely.
Without any official confirmation, there’s also no way of knowing when such a feature would be added to the Amazon Echo. The code currently in place seems to prepare the app and any Echo voice module for the client side, but Amazon may still need to work on some stuff behind the scenes before they’re ready to roll out the feature.
It’s likely that the first official announcement of the new Amazon Alexa SMS support feature will coincide with the launch day. It’s quite a big feature, but it’s not big enough to warrant Amazon creating a separate pre-announcement for it.
With all voice assistants, there’s some concern over the privacy that consumers may be losing whilst using such technology. Many Amazon Echo owners have mentioned their concerns over whether Amazon may be listening in on them, and with support for SMS messaging, more concerns arise. For example, what’s to stop Amazon from using SMS tracking to track your messages and calls?
Technically, it’s possible for Amazon to do this, but thankfully the code suggests that Amazon Echo users will get their own Alexa number. When the Amazon Echo starts to support sending SMS messages, it will only be done via the new Alexa number. This number will have no connection to your existing mobile number, so no matter what privacy concerns you have, Amazon will not be able to track your calls and texts from your current mobile device.