File image: Reuters.

CAPE TOWN - Electronic commerce company, Amazon on Tuesday announced that its personal assistant, Alexa, will now be able to send text messages. 

The new feature, which is currently available in the US, will allow users to send text messages to friends and family by using their voice. 

How it works is users can ask Alexa to send a message to a contact on their contact list. Alexa will then determine how to route the action accordingly. 

This will be done by either using the previously launched messaging system or by sending it out as an SMS, in the event that the recipient does not have an Alexa device of their own. 

The new feature, however, only works for sending SMS messages to Android phones. 

The first step is to follow the instructions via a pop-up in the Alexa app on Android. 

The user will have to select “Contacts”, followed by “My Profile”, then enable the “Send SMS” feature.

The SMS will be sent from Alexa devices via voice. 

The user will then have the option of sending a “text message” or asking Alexa to send a “message”. The “message” option will route to Alexa devices first, then SMS if Alexa devices are not available. 

More news on Alexa’s roll out to international markets has not yet been revealed. 

Unfortunately, Amazon Alexa’s text feature is not compatible for iPhone users because Apple does not offer their messaging API to third-parties. 

READ ALSO: WATCH: Alexa will control your oven or microwave soon

Meanwhile, Japanese automotive manufacturer, Toyota, announced last month that it will be featuring Amazon’s voice-activated virtual assistant Alexa in its vehicles.

The company announced the partnership at Consumer Electronic Show (CES), in Las Vegas. Toyota said vehicles with the Entune 3.0 infotainment system, and Lexus models with the Enform 2.0 system, would start to get Alexa capabilities this year. 

The partnership will bring to life Amazon’s plans to expand its speech platform beyond one's home. Alexa will let drivers and passengers get directions, control entertainment features, get the news and perform other functions in the car via voice command. 

Alexa in cars can also be synced with smart-home devices.

“It’s still really day one for us in terms of what we can do with Alexa in the vehicle,” said John Scumniotales, head of products for Alexa’s automotive efforts, onstage at an event at CES.

Amazon has similar arrangements with other carmakers such as  Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Nissan Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Daimler AG, BMW AG and Ford Motor Co. 

The aforementioned companies will allow Alexa into their vehicles or integrating the voice service into the connectivity systems that link customers’ cars and mobile phones. Furthermore, last year in November Amazon announced a suite of voice-activated work tools to allow you to bring Alexa to the office.

ALSO READ: WATCH:Toyota and Lexus will feature Amazon Alexa in new vehicles

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE