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You can now make Alexa your default assistant on Android

But the change only works for the home button -- you can't access Alexa directly by voice.

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Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials
  • 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Ry Crist
2 min read
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Alexa can now be your voice assistant on a variety of Android phones, including this Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Android phones allow for greater flexibility with voice assistants than Apple's iPhone, giving you the freedom to pick the specific helper that answers the call whenever you give the home button a long press. Alternatives like Microsoft's Cortana were already available to play with -- but now, Amazon's  Alexa is in the mix, too.

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Android users can now swap Alexa in as their default voice assistant.

Ry Crist/CNET

First spotted on Reddit and picked up by SlashGear, we were immediately able to confirm that the new feature works on Google's own Pixel and Pixel 2 phones, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus . That's noteworthy given the long-simmering tensions between the search giant and Amazon, the latter leaving Google products like the Chromecast media streamer or the Google Home smart speaker out of its store.

Google, in return, has restricted Amazon's access to YouTube on its Fire TV streamers and on the touchscreen-equipped Amazon Echo Show (the devices can access YouTube, but through browser-based interfaces, not native apps).

Still, that hasn't stopped Google from allowing Alexa into the Android universe. To enable her, you'll need to have the Alexa app installed on your device. From there, navigate to "Assist app" in your device settings and select "Amazon Alexa." Just know that this will only make Alexa the default long press assistant -- you'll still get the Google Assistant when you say "OK Google" (and your phone won't wake up when you say "Alexa," either).

It's currently unclear if this is tied to a specific software release or a set list of devices. Google hasn't returned our request for clarification yet -- we'll update this space when we hear back.

Alexa 101: What you should know about Amazon's AI assistant

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