Everyone’s going gaga over the always plugged in Amazon Echo and its surprisingly reliant voice assistant – Alexa. If you want to see what the fuss is all about, you need to spend $180 to buy Amazon Echo. But what if you don’t? Or what if you don’t live in the US? What if you have an idea for a voice assistant integration that you want to make and test out without actually buying Echo? Buy this $4.99 app instead.
Lexi is a third party iPhone app that lets you use a lot of (although not all) Echo features right from the iPhone. So you can do things like order stuff from Amazon, ask for the weather, and when the next baseball game is. To do any of it, you’ll need to tap and hold on the screen when you speak.
Lexi requires you to sign in with your Amazon account (I was able to login with my Amazon India account). You then need to authenticate from the account and it adds Lexi as a “device” that supports Amazon Alexa. I played around with the app a bit and was surprised to find that it was able to pick up almost everything I said (even though I don’t live in the US and I have an Indian accent).
If you want to customize it, or want to try a third party integration, you’ll need to set it up using the Alexa app. I had to switch to the US App Store to download it. And I have to warn you, the app is pretty bad. It kept crashing on me. And it’s basically just web pages loading in a wrapper.
But using the Alexa app you can add integrations like Spotify and more.
Lexi, of course, isn’t going to replace Siri – because you need to launch an app to use it and even then it can’t perform any of the OS level functions.
But once you’ve set up the integrations using the Alexa app, there’s a lot of stuff you can do with Lexi using third party integrations. Stuff like asking for news (Flash Briefing), updates on sports, and more.
Lexi is also a cheaper way to test Alexa before deciding to buy an Echo. And I suspect this will be a great way for developers to test their integrations right from their iPhones.
If you don’t want to download the app and just want to test it on the web, visit this website.
Download: Lexi ($4.99)