Amazon revamps Alexa app to focus on personalisation, first-party features
The new revamped Alexa app aims to offer more personalisation, more instructions on how and when the digital assistant can be used and a few more features.
Amazon launched a bunch of developer tools for Alexa last week and now they have brought in an updated version of the Alexa mobile app. The new revamped app aims to offer more personalisation, more instructions on how and when the digital assistant can be used and a few more features. The Alexa app has moved the third-party skill suggestions off the main screen as well so as users can focus more on actually using Alexa.
This is followed by a list of personalised suggestions that are based on the consumer's use of the app and what's important to them - these could be reminders or recently played songs or audiobooks from audible, shopping lists etc.
Here users might also be able to see controls for the features that are frequently accessed by them or the ones that are currently active, for example, the volume on the Echo devices. Amazon says that this has been done to allow users to pick up exactly where they left off.
The list of Echo devices also includes the Echo Buds now, which are Amazon's Alexa-powered wireless earbuds. The Echo Buds are expected to be key to Amazon's plans of enabling Alexa's new capabilities of controlling mobile apps.
For those using Alexa for the first time, the revamped app will offer more suggestions about what to do on mobile. New users may see suggestions like - play songs on Amazon Music or manage their Alexa Shopping List.
The Alexa app's more advanced features like Reminders, Skills, Routines and Settings have all been moved under the “More” button now. But this does not mean that the home screen is any less cluttered. With the Alexa button having moved to the top of the screen, the space vacated in the navigation bar has been taken up by a new “Play” button with which you can control media playback.
This app revamp indicates, as TechCrunch points out, that Alexa's dedicated apps have not found a place in the users' daily lives yet. Earlier, the app had the weather and date right on top of the screen and with that Amazon was hoping that it would become something like a daily dashboard for users, but now the company has come to understand that users are mostly launching the app for Alexa-specific reasons. Thus, the recent actions etc have been prioritised to make it easier for users to pick up where they left off on their Echo devices.
Alexa's third-party “Skills” have been deprioritised in the revamp since they have not evolved into an app ecosystem that can take on rivals like Apple's App Store or the Google Play Store yet. Studies indicate that a large number of Alexa's “Skills” were not even being used and Amazon has decided to slow down the pace of new skill releases. The “Skills & Games” section has been moved under the “More” tab now instead of being prominently displayed on the home screen as it was earlier.
The revamped app is going to roll out globally over the next month across iOS, Android and Fire OS devices and by late August, all users should be able to use the new version.