As the battle of the smart personal assistants continues to simmer, Amazon has just fired another shot, adding support for SMS messages to Alexa's feature list. You can now command your Amazon Echo device to send a text message to one of your contacts, provided you have an Android phone.

It's been possible to send voice messages from one Echo device to another for quite a while, as well as make voice calls, but this adds a whole new dimension. You require an Android phone (5.0 Lollipop or higher) with the Alexa app installed. Then follow these instructions to get it set up:

  1. Sign up for Alexa Calling & Messaging in the Alexa app.
  2. Tap the Conversations icon.
  3. Select Contacts.
  4. Select My Profile.
  5. Enable "Send an SMS" and accept the Android OS permission.

Now you should be ready to send a text with Alexa. Simply ask your Echo to "Send an SMS to [insert contact name]" to start the process. A few things aren't currently supported, such as group messaging, MMS, and text-to-911. To disable the feature go back to the Alexa app on your phone and turn it off.

It is possible to send SMS messages through Google Home, albeit only with an IFTTT workaround, so this is another win for Amazon. iOS doesn't support third-party messaging, at present, so this won't be possible if you own an iPhone.