The Huawei Mate 9 was announced as the first non-Amazon device to have Amazon Alexa back at CES. However, it wasn't included when the phone shipped in the US. Huawei only said the feature would be delivered in a later update. Well, now it's later. The Alexa update has started rolling out in the US.
This will make the Mate 9 an interesting device for voice interaction. During the intervening months between Alexa's announcement and release, Google started rolling Assistant out to many phones. The Mate 9 has it, and now it's about to get Alexa too. This makes it the ideal device to try them both side-by-side. Amazon notes that Alexa is great at things like home automation, shopping (duh), and news. Assistant does some of that too.
The update might be starting its rollout today, but it looks to be staged. I haven't seen any OTAs come through on my phone. Give it a day or two.
PLANO, Texas, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the highly-acclaimed Huawei Mate 9 includes Amazon Alexa. Delivering on a promise made at CES in January, over-the-air (OTA) updates will commence today, pushing the Huawei Alexa app to Mate 9 customers in the United States.
"At CES we shared that Amazon Alexa would come to the Mate 9," said Zhendong Zhu, president, Huawei Device USA. "With the new Huawei Alexa app, we add intelligent voice control to the rich features already available on Mate 9. We look forward to collaborating with Amazon to further develop more voice-activated mobile experiences."
"We're excited to bring Amazon Alexa to the Huawei Mate 9, helping customers easily perform everyday tasks while on the go – using just their voice," said Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa. "From controlling their smart home and checking the news to shopping and listening to Audible content, we think customers are going to love interacting with Alexa while on the go. We can't wait for customers to try this out."
Huawei Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa
Using the Huawei Alexa app on Mate 9, consumers can bring Amazon Alexa with them, taking advantage of its natural user interface. Since Alexa was designed based on the assumption that users are not looking at a screen, it is a primarily voice-driven experience, ideal for people on the go.
The Huawei Alexa app offers mobile access to features and scenarios consumers expect from Amazon Alexa including:
- Home Automation: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it possible to manage your smart home even when you're on-the-go by controlling lights, thermostats, locks, fans, sprinklers and more.
- Games/Trivia: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa can make every trip more entertaining with games like Jeopardy, Magic Door and Twenty Questions.
- Shopping: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa makes it easy to get more done using just your voice -- Quickly create lists, order items to be sent to your home, get food delivered or have your favorite coffee ready with Amazon voice shopping, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, Dominos, Amazon Prime restaurants, and more.
- Fitness/Health: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa helps travelers stay fit with access to skills like 7-Minute Workout, FitBit and Stop, Breathe & Think.
- News: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa is a convenient way to stay informed with access to news anytime via Flash Briefings from NPR, CNBC, Reuters, Fox News, The Skimm, WSJ, AP, BBC, CNN, and many more.
- Entertainment: Mate 9 with Amazon Alexa puts entertainment in reach with access to a wide array of podcasts and Audible content.
To use Alexa voice commands on Mate 9, users must first initiate the Huawei Alexa app. Once the app is launched, users can ask Alexa various things, including:
- Get information by asking about famous people, dates, and places
- Find a restaurant, movie or local business
- Order from Amazon Prime
- Control connected smart home features such as lights, temperature and appliances
- Hear weather or traffic updates
- Check your calendar
- Hear the news through personalized Flash Briefings
Alexa has more than 10,000 skills, and new Alexa skills are added all the time, delivering even more capabilities. However, not all capabilities will be applicable at this time, including Timer/Alarms, Music and Tunein (in flash briefing), but these abilities will come later this year.