By Heather Kelly
SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) -- Amazon's Alexa can now send SMS text messages, but only if you have an Android Phone.
It's the company's latest attempt to turn the voice-assistant devices from hubs for audible entertainment to full-fledged communication tools. It announced the new feature on Tuesday.
If your hands are full but you want a buddy to know you're running late, say "Alexa, text Bob," and then dictate your message. The recipient needs to be in your phone's contact list. Amazon says Alexa will then "find the best way to send the message." It might go out as SMS or through the existing Alexa messaging service.
The new feature is only available in the U.S. for now, and will only work if you have the Alexa app installed on an Android phone and have linked your phone with your Alexa device. Any texts you send will show up in your smartphone's text app. You can send them to any device that receives SMS, including iPhones.
Other voice assistants like Apple's Siri and Google Assistant can send SMS texts from iOS and Android smartphones.
Amazon already supports a number of communication options from Echo devices. You can make phone calls to other Echo devices or most regular phone numbers in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. Alexa devices and apps can already send text messages back and forth.
If you have an Android phone and want to start texting, you will have to turn the feature on. Open the Alexa app on your phone and go to the Conversations tab -> Contacts -> My Profile and turn on the Send SMS setting.
Currently there is no way to send emojis in texts through Alexa.
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