Amazon’s voice-based personal digital assistant, Alexa, has just added yet another skill to its growing repertoire. According to an announcement earlier today by the Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant, Prime members will now be able to order meals from Amazon Restaurants on their Alexa-enabled devices. The service will be available in more than 20 cities around the U.S. and users will have to activate the feature by saying “Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants”. Once an order is placed, the delivery will reach the destination within an hour or less – all free of charge, of course. Prime members can enter their ZIP codes in the Amazon or Prime Now mobile apps or visit the Prime Now website to see if the service is available in their location.
While all this sounds pretty interesting, it is important to note that there is a little catch to the whole deal. According to Amazon, Alexa will only be able to order dishes that have already been ordered before. So unless you’re looking to reorder something that you’ve already had previously, this feature isn’t going to be of much use to you. However, in case you’re looking to stick to a tried-and-tested dish, just mentioning the cuisine type will present you with a number of options that are available for reorder. Just selecting any one of the options will then get it delivered to the default address within the stipulated time-frame.
While Alexa made its debut with the Amazon Echo back in 2014, the software is no longer limited to Amazon hardware. The increasingly-popular voice-activated personal digital assistant is now available on a number of third-party gadgets, including the likes of Martian mVoice smartwatch, C by GE smart LED lights, the Neato Botvac Connected vacuum cleaner, the Lenovo Smart Assistant wireless speaker and the Lynx dancing robot. In fact, LG even showcased an Alexa-powered refrigerator at its CES press event yesterday. These devices, of course, are just some of the instances where third-party hardware has expanded the scope of Alexa beyond what Amazon had been offering with its Echo lineup. With new production-ready AI-powered devices such as the Emotech Olly expected to launch later this year, it will be interesting to see how much pressure these new entrants can put on incumbents like, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft Cortana.