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(Pocket-lint) - Amazon is launching a new feature for its Alexa smartphone app that will enable you to launch your iPhone and Android apps using a voice command. That means, in future, you could be able to just say 'Alexa, start recording a TikTok' and it'll take you to that function in the app. 

The feature is called Alexa for Apps, and Amazon sees it as a way to enable you to still use functions of your favourite apps when being hands-free is more convenient. TikTok is used as an example because it'll enable you to start recording that awesome dance sequence without first having to tap buttons on your phone and rushing back to position.

This way, you can get set, and get Alexa to launch you into recording from where you're standing. Another example given, as reported by The Verge, is the ability to just command Alexa to search hashtags on Twitter, without having to open the app first. 

This new development in Alexa capabilities is all about making the assistant as useful as Siri and Google Assistant is for smartphone users. Those two have the benefit of deep system-level integration and can do much of this already. 

It seems that now Alexa has virtually conquered the smart speaker space, it wants to now become a much more capable assistant on your phone, but there is a barrier: development. 

App developers need to rework some of their integrations in order for it to work with Alexa's new service and that means time, effort and money, when - arguably - these types of functions are already well-served by Google and Apple's assistants that are already built into the phones. 

It'll be interesting to see how much headway Amazon can make in this space, but our initial feeling is that uptake could be slow. It's only in preview mode for now, however, and that could give Amazon the time it needs to develop before making the feature more widely available.  

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Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published on 23 July 2020.