An Amazon patent surfaced very recently and it hints at the company's interest in turning Alexa-enabled devices into phones. The said patent, titled "Phone communication via a voice-controlled device" was published on May 2.
The patent basically allows users to attach their smartphones to Alexa-enabled devices such as Echo, Echo Dot, and Echo Tap. Doing so will enable the said Amazon devices to answer or make calls with the help of the company's smart voice assistant Alexa. The users do not need a new number as their current phone numbers will be utilized. The patent also indicated that Alexa will only recognize authorized users through their voices. In other words, the Alexa-powered device will not take or make calls if the voice is unfamiliar.
Once a call is completed, the data will be routed as voice over Internet Protocol (IP) or voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP). In other words, calls are sent by the Amazon device to the carrier through VOIP. This is similar to how Skype handles calls. GeekWire noted that this idea has been around for over four years.
This is not the first time that the online retail giant is entering the wireless phone market. As The Motley Fool noted, Amazon previously released the Fire Phone which was a huge failure simply because no one had any real use for it plus it sold for a high price. Despite its initial failure, now seems to be the right time for Amazon to venture back into the field. This time, however, Amazon is focusing on integrating its popular digital assistant into existing phones instead of developing an entirely new smartphone. As such, the Alexa device will not take the brunt of the process. Instead, almost everything will take place in the cloud and will be handled by the carriers.
Amazon's new patent shows that the company is taking advantage of the success of its smart speakers and digital assistant to develop this new endeavor. The company has also recently unveiled a couple of new products that makes use of Alexa - the Amazon Echo Look and a rumored smart speaker with a touchscreen.