Alexa-Enabled Devices Get Fancy New Call Features Thanks to Vodafone and Amazon

By Shabana Arif on at

If you have an Amazon Echo device you can now use it to make phone calls at those times you just can't be arsed to find your phone or use your hands to pick it up.

Shouting "okay, Google" to locate your handset in a weird twist on Marco Polo will be a thing of the past, with two new calling options courtesy of Alexa.

First up is Vodafone OneNumber that, in a world first, will let its customers use their mobile plans to make and receive calls on their Alexa devices. Please allow this lady washing her giant dog to demonstrate:

You can link your mobile account and use your Echo device as a phone even when your actual phone is off, or has disappeared into the ether, as they're wont to do. Hence the Marco Polo-ing from earlier. And you don't have to worry about all of your devices ringing - you can set which Echo devices in the house will ring when you get a call.

For those of us not on Vodafone, Amazon is introducing Alexa Outbound Calling which lets you call numbers in the U.K., U.S., Canada and Mexico. Unlike Vodafone's service, you can't make emergency calls via your Echo device. So if you're with Vodafone you get the best of both worlds.

Amazon is also rolling out additional features like Drop In, which turns your Echo devices into a two-way intercom; Announcements, which lets you broadcast important messages to the household via Alexa-enabled devices, like "I'm going to get cigarettes. I don't know when I'll be back,"; and Skype calling.

The new features are available now and you can head to the dedicated Amazon page to find out how to use them.