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(Pocket-lint) - When Amazon launched the Echo Show in May 2017, it introduced Alexa calling and messaging, a free-to-use feature that lets Amazon Echo owners and those with the Alexa app on their smartphone to make and receive calls and messages. Today, Amazon has opened up the feature to tablets.

Amazon restricted use of the Alexa app to smartphones at launch, but now that tablets can make use of the feature too, it's even easier to call friends and family or Drop In on relatives to see how they're doing.

Because the Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet doesn't have a home button, all you need to do is ask Alexa what you like to do. For example, "Alexa, call mum" and she will oblige, or you can ask Alexa to drop in on a relative or a Echo Show in the nursery to check on your child. To use Alexa calling on the Fire 7, Fire HD 8 or any other Alexa-enabled Fire tablet, simply tap the home button and ask Alexa the same commands.

It is just as easy to make and receive calls and messages using an Android or iOS tablet. Just make sure you have the latest Alexa app installed, have it synced with your contacts and you can then ask Alexa to call or send messages to friends and family, or drop in with any Echo device you have in your contacts.

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You can use Alexa calling on tablets to phone landline numbers, providing they're connected to an Amazon Echo Connect accessory hub, and you can call anyone in your contacts list for free, just as long as they also have the Alexa app installed on their smartphone or tablet. 

Writing by Max Langridge. Originally published on 12 March 2018.