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Amazon Alexa adds ability to send SMS messages by voice

Alexa is still missing iOS support and the ability to read messages to users.

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CNET/CBS Interactive

Amazon on Tuesday updated its Alexa service with support for sending SMS text messages by voice.

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Users can now ask Alexa to send a message to their smartphone contact, and it can be routed through SMS or Alexa's messaging platform.

The feature is now available for US Android users. To enable the feature, open the Alexa app and go to the "Conversations" tab. Then select "Contacts," followed by "My Profile" and enable the "Send SMS" toggle.

An Amazon spokesperson told ZDNet there are currently no plans to add the feature to iOS, because Apple doesn't offer their messaging API to third parties.

Last year, Amazon introduced the ability to make and receive phone calls and send messages through Alexa. The messaging feature was closed to Amazon's ecosystem and couldn't send to other devices.

The new SMS features Tuesday will bring Alexa closer to Siri and Google Assistant in the voice messaging department. However, Alexa still can't read messages to users.

Earlier this month, Amazon introduced voice control capabilities to its Alexa app on Android. Previously, the app only linked hardware like the Echo and allowed users to manage Alexa skills.