Voice assistants are taking over our devices. The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (or Note 8, or S9) comes equipped with a button on the side for activating Samsung's own Bixby and it also comes fully-loaded with Google Assistant, a staple of Android devices.
Meanwhile, Alexa is looking for a route into phones, having caused quite a stir in smart homes, thanks to the wide adoption of the Amazon Echo.
There's a clever way you can set Alexa as the default assistant on recent Samsung Galaxy devices.
Here's how to do it.
- Make sure you've installed the Amazon Alexa app and signed in on your Galaxy phone.
- Open the Settings menu and select Advanced Features.
- You'll see an option called Device assistance app, select this.
- Tap on the box that says "device assistance app" and it opens with a range of options.
- Select Alexa from the list.
- That's it! When you long press the virtual home button, Alexa will launch giving you voice control.
Why would you want to do this? It means that you can use Alexa - and all the things that Alexa knows - quickly from your phone, without having to open the app.
While this method won't give you the "Alexa" hotword from your phone, you can long press that button and start talking as if you did. (If you want hotword access, you need a phone that natively supports Alexa, like the HTC U12+.)
Alexa on phones has some limitations: it won't display any details like Google Assistant will, it's a voice-only service. It also won't integrate with Spotify, although it will play Amazon Music, so you can ask Alexa to "play songs by Madonna" and off you go.
You can use Alexa to control all of your smart home devices or interact with (most) services that you've setup through the Alexa app. For example, you can tell it to turn on groups of lights. You can also use Alexa on your phone to interact with Echo devices you have in your home.
This will mean you can request to play music on your Echo - and that does then support Spotify. Essentially, it allows voice control of an Echo that's out of range of your voice.
Finally you can also use it for Alexa Calling. Just long press that button and say who you want to call (it could be an Echo within your own home). If you're calling an Echo Show or Echo Spot, it will then be a video call.
So, it's easy to do - if you're not a user of Google Assistant and are a fan of Alexa then it's worth doing, as it's a neat little shortcut into Alexa on your Samsung phone!
Or, if you really want, you can have the Google Assistant open on the Ok Google hotword and have Alexa on the home button. The choice is yours.