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.
Ry CristSenior 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.
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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
is in the mix, too.
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