The Amazon Android app will have Alexa after this week's update, opening up a feature that Amazon had previously made available to iPhone users exclusively. It's not currently known when exactly the feature will appear as the date for the app update release hasn't been mentioned, but it is Thursday so there isn't much time left in the week, which means the update could show up tomorrow or sometime over the weekend. So far, the only word that Amazon has given is that the update was coming this week. It's also possible that some users are already receiving access to it.
According to the details about the feature, once it arrives for Android, users will be able to use Alexa from within the Android app in much the same way that they can from any of Amazon's Alexa-powered products like the Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Show. This means you'll be able to ask Alexa questions and even use Alexa Skills. For those that don't already own an Echo, this will be a good way for them to give Alexa a test run and see if they like the interaction and functionality, and once they're done they'll already be in the app so they can get a little shopping done at the same time.
This might have been part of Amazon's plan in the first place, as adding Alexa into the Amazon mobile app could be seen as a way to draw in users to check it out. Once inside, if any of those users were already considering placing an order for something, and even if they weren't, Amazon would have succeeded in getting people to enter the app, thus giving them a reason to think about shopping. If this was Amazon's goal, then it would be a smart move and it would be similar to many of Amazon's other decisions which all seem to come back to getting people to shop in one way or another. What's also likely is that Amazon was looking for a way to demo Alexa to consumers in hopes of convincing them to pick up a device that's integrated with the software. Having Alexa in the app also gives Amazon a way to inform consumers about the digital assistant and potentially learn more about it. It's worth noting that the Alexa Skills that will be usable from the in-app feature won't be the complete list of skills that you'll get with something like the Echo.