The Eufy Genie is a popular third-party Alexa-enabled smart speaker from Anker that can usually be picked up for as little as $30, making it a good alternative to the Echo Dot. It hasn't always been as capable as Amazon's own hardware, though, with the omission of calling and messaging being a prime example. The Genie is now finally getting those very features.
As previously reported by Tom's Guide, support for voice calls on third-party Alexa speakers has been planned for a few months. It's now live for the Eufy Genie, along with messaging, an intercom-like 'Drop In' feature, plus announcement broadcasting.
Calls to most phone numbers in the US, Canada, and Mexico will be free of charge — simply ask Alexa to call one of your contacts, or say a number in full. Broadcasts and 'Drop In' can be used to talk to one or more other Alexa devices in your house, and you can also send voice or text messages to anyone who has an Alexa-enabled device or the Alexa app installed on their phone.
To get all of these features, make sure you have the latest version of the EufyHome app, then navigate to your Genie in the devices list to update its firmware. It's unclear whether the same update will be coming to the Zolo Halo (also from Anker), but we've reached out to ask and we'll update this post when we hear back.