We test Amazon Alexa on the HTC U11

Amazon’s Alexa is coming to phones. We’ve seen it on the Huawei Mate 9 and now it’s here for the HTC U11, the phone you can squeeze.

But the Alexa voice app works a little differently on the U11. There are still some things you can’t do on the phone that you can on your Amazon Echo speaker at home.

By bringing Alexa to phones, Amazon is attempting to increase its territory on the voice assistant frontier. This is increasingly important as Google Assistant, Apple Siri and soon, Samsung’s Bixby Voice, make their way to more speakers, refrigerators and TVs in the home. The platform that can spread fastest could have a better chance of winning.

Remember, Amazon Alexa works in tandem with Google Assistant on both the HTC U11 and Huawei Mate 9. You won’t have to choose one over the other if you’d like to use both, or use Google Assistant instead.

Here are some things you’ll be able to do with the app right now, and some you won’t.

Read next: Amazon Alexa on phones: What it does that Google and Siri can’t

What Alexa on the HTC U11 CAN do:

“Alexa, turn on the lights.” 

Josh Miller/CNET

  • Say the wake word — “Alexa” — to launch the voice assistant, even when the screen is off. You’ll need to unlock the phone first if you have a security PIN, password or fingerprint access (on the Mate 9, you have to open the Alexa app to trigger the wake word, an extra step)
  • Access Alexa’s vast library of skills

  • Control your smart home

  • Play music through Amazon Music

  • Get a flash briefing from various news outlets

  • Tell you the weather where you are — you don’t have to ask for the city name (“Alexa, what’s the temperature right…

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