What is the Alexa App?

This article answers the question “What is the Alexa app?” by showing you the exact intended purpose of the Alexa app, what you can do with it, and how to do it.  To install Alexa on your smartphone, go to the Alexa page on Google Play Store for Android, or the Alexa page on iTunes for Apple devices.

What is the Alexa app?

  • The Alexa app allows you to connect your Echo or Echo Dot to your WiFi network.  Using the Alexa App to connect your Echo or Echo Dot is the main step in setting up Alexa.  This is the primary purpose of the Alexa app and the first answer to the “What is the Alexa App?” question.
  • With the Alexa app, you can control Smart Home devices like Philips Hue smart bulbs and thermostats.
  • Use the Alexa app to sign in to your Pandora (or other Alexa music service) account so you can say “Alexa, play my <Station Name> station on Pandora” to listen to your favorite tunes
  • With the Alexa app you can also Enable Skills, which are Alexa’s version of “apps”.  To Enable a Skill is just like Installing an app from the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.  In the Alexa app, simply press the main menu button, then press Skills.  Once you’re in the Skills menu, you can Search for an Alexa Skill or press Categories to browse.  An example of a skill I love is the Thunderstorm Sounds Alexa skill, which plays a soothing soundtrack with which you can fall asleep.  After you enable the skill, activate it by saying “Alexa, play Thunderstorm Sounds”.
  • The Alexa app allows you to see the history of the voice commands you’ve given her.  So you can see whether she understood you, the words she think you said, and how the Alexa app interpreted your command.
  • You can change the Settings of your Echo Dot using the Alexa app.  For instance, you can change the zip code which Alexa will use for Weather reports, driving directions, and other location-based voice commands.
  • Pair your Alexa with a smart hub such as the Philips Hub (for Philips Hue lighting) or the Wink Hub (to set up Alexa Z-Wave integration and various other smart devices) to control smart home devices.  This includes but is not limited to smart bulbs, smart thermostats like the Nest Thermostat, and smart door locks like the ones manufactured by Schlage.

How Do I Enable Alexa Skills?

  • Open the Alexa app
  • Press the main menu button
  • Go to Skills
  • Search or use the Categories menu to browse for a skill
  • Once you’ve found a skill you’d like to add, press Enable Skill.
  • Some skills require that you sign in to an account online or create an account.  If that’s the case, decide whether the Skill is worth it and either Enable it or go back and pick a different skill.
  • After the Skill has been Enabled, you can then use the Skill’s voice commands.  The voice commands used by an Alexa Skill are specific to that Skill.  For example, the “Thunderstorm Sounds” skill only has a few voice commands, which are all pretty much the same.  So take a good look at the Details for the Skill you enabled to see the voice commands that trigger the Skill.
  • Also check out http://alexa.amazon.com, which is an online web-browser version of the Alexa app.

Wrap Up

If you have questions related to “What is the Alexa app?”, let us know on the KFire YouTube Channel.


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