It's always annoying realizing you've misplaced your phone as you're trying to get your things and get out the door. Now, Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa wants to help. Enable the new TrackR skill in the Alexa app, and you'll be able to ask her to make your missing phone ring -- even if you left it on silent.
TrackR says that it's the first "find-my-phone" skill in Alexa's ever-growing repertoire. To use it, you'll need to download the TrackR app onto your iOS or Android device and create a free account. Then, enable the TrackR skill in the Alexa app (or simply by asking Alexa to switch it on). From there, you'll sync Alexa up with your TrackR account. Once you do, you'll be able to make your phone ring by saying, "Alexa, ask TrackR to find my phone."
What's interesting is that you don't need to buy any TrackR hardware in order to use the Alexa skill. That makes this a nice little freebie for anyone who owns an Alexa device like the Amazon Echo or the Amazon Tap smart speakers -- and also a pretty clever way for TrackR to get new people to download the app and learn what the service is all about.
TrackR is best known for its Bravo Bluetooth tags, which cost about $30 each. Clip one to your keys or slip one inside your wallet, and you'll be able to use the TrackR app on your phone to make it beep when it goes missing.
However, you won't be able to ask Alexa to make those Bravo tags beep, at least not yet. TrackR's team tells us that they're saving that feature for the fall debut of TrackR Atlas, a $40 plug-in device that maps out your home in the TrackR app. Plug enough of them in, and you'll be able to see which room your stuff is in when you can't find it. You'll also be able to ask Alexa to tell you where to look.
At CES this January, TrackR's people told us to expect the Atlas plugs and the Alexa skill to arrive in June. That puts them a few months behind schedule as far as Atlas is concerned, but getting the Alexa skill up and running is a nice start, especially given that anybody can use that find-my-phone feature. We'll be sure to give all of it a try in the CNET Smart Home, so stay tuned.