Huawei Mate 9 officially becomes world’s first Alexa-capable phone with OTA update
From one step ahead of Google, Amazon suddenly dropped many behind in terms of digital assistant support for third-party devices. While Android tablets may never get to join the Google Assistant fun, a truckload of recent and semi-recent smartphones from various companies are already in.
As for Alexa, it’s only now delivering on a promise made at CES way back in January, rolling out to the “highly-acclaimed” Huawei Mate 9. You know, P9’s big brother that we’re no longer convinced is worth a whopping $600 or so stateside.
But if you don’t own an Echo, and remain on the fence about the whole dedicated smart speaker/home automation hub experience, this will definitely feel like a nifty little over-the-air update. Once installed, the Huawei Alexa app needs to be initiated by touch, not voice, before it can understand hands-free commands for smart home management, online shopping, weather or traffic information, and good old fashioned web searches for answers to your most diverse questions.
“Even more capabilities” are of course on their way as the current list of 10,000+ skills gets heftier, but some existing ones aren’t “applicable at this time” on the Huawei Mate 9, including Timer/Alarms, Music and Tunein. Oh, well, it’s still nice to be able to choose between Alexa and Google Assistant on at least one big, bad, powerful and handsome phone.