The other big news from Amazon's announcement yesterday, aside from the unveiling of the Echo Show, is its voice calling feature. This gives the Amazon Echo devices (Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show) and the Amazon Alexa App the ability to call each other once connected to the Internet. This could very well be the last nail on the fixed landlines' coffin. And if you have multiple Echos at home, it can even serve as an intercom for the whole family.
To set-up voice calling, you'll need the latest Amazon Alexa App that's now available on the Apple iOS App Store and Google Play Store, but only in the U.S.
Getting the Amazon Alexa App here in the PH:
Create a U.S. iTunes account. Don’t worry, credit card is not required, but you need a U.S. address. To get the instructions, just search “Get a U.S. iTunes account anywhere in the world.”
Creating a U.S. Play Store account requires a U.S. based credit card, so the next best thing is just to search for “Amazon Alexa apk” installation file for Android. The latest Amazon Alexa app apk with voice calling feature is already available out there.
Set up Guide
Once you've downloaded the app or have updated it, it will ask you to login to your Amazon account upon its first launch. You will then begin the process of setting up voice calling and messaging by confirming your phone number and allowing Alexa access to your contacts. Similar to Viber, it will check who among your contacts have already activated "Calling and Messaging" on their Amazon Echo. Take note that you'll only be able to call someone who has also successfully completed the set-up process. Once you're done, tap on the messaging tab and the fun begins!
Log in to your account
Setup voice calling
Start calling or sending messages
Set up Amazon Echo voice calling for family use
When someone calls you, all Amazon Echo devices linked to your account will receive a notification including the Alexa app you are signed in to. For common use, it is best to set up the Amazon Echo device, placed maybe in the Family or Dining room, using a separate 1) Amazon account and 2) mobile number (maybe a prepaid account). In this way, only the common Amazon Echo gets notification when it receives a call.
You can eventually add Amazon Echos in the bedrooms to control lights, appliances, music and serve as intercom, but this time you should link it to the room occupant's personal Amazon account and mobile phone.
Finally, a Landline Replacement?
We have cut our landline a long time ago, but there are times we still miss it when we can’t reach the mobile phones for various reasons - weak signal, silent mode, or the phone is off. A common communication device in a household that a family member can easily reach still serves a purpose, especially, one that is easy to use ("Alexa, please call home") and without the monthly bill.