Amazon’s Alexa Calling & Messaging feature is now making its way to Europe, the Seattle, Washington-based tech giant said earlier this week, adding that consumers in Germany and the United Kingdom should soon have access to the functionality, The Verge reports. The solution allows owners of Alexa-infused Echo devices to call each other on their gadgets via an online connection entirely free of charge and also supports the Alexa app for Android smartphones and iOS-powered iPhones. Calling & Messaging extends to the entirety of the Echo lineup, including the newly announced Echo, Echo Plus, and the Echo Spot.
The feature has been available to consumers in the United States since late spring and was reportedly received relatively well, providing users with a simple and entirely free solution for communicating with other people who are also part of Amazon’s growing Internet of Things ecosystem, as well as almost everyone else who owns a regular smartphone. Messaging & Calling is understood to be rolling out to users in the UK and Germany as a standard over-the-air update which should be downloaded and installed automatically and you won’t be able to use it before you specifically enable the service in the Settings of your Alexa app, so if you’re unable to call someone who you know owns a compatible device, make sure that person has also enabled the same feature. Most contemporary Android devices should be able to take advantage of Amazon’s solution, so long as they’re running Android 5.0 Lollipop and later versions of Google’s operating system, whereas iPhone owners must be running an OS build no older than iOS 9.
Calling & Messaging may not be a completely unrelated feature to the ability to call landlines and mobile numbers using the recently unveiled Echo Connect but the two are still entirely separate offerings from the tech giant. The Echo Connect was made for traditional instead of VoIP calls, doesn’t support messaging, and is currently only available for pre-orders in the U.S., priced at $35. There’s still no information on whether the device will eventually make its way to the Old Continent, but customers in Amazon‘s home country should start receiving their already ordered units later this year.