Amazon reveals redesigned Alexa app with focus on personalization

in iOS edited July 2020
Amazon on Monday unveiled a revamp of its Alexa app, complete with a redesigned user interface and additional instructions on how best to utilize the virtual assistant.

Rolling out over the coming month on iOS, Android and Fire OS, the updated Alexa app puts a focus on personalization, reports TechCrunch.

Of note, it appears Amazon is no longer pushing Alexa as an all-encompassing platform and instead presents the product as a service. For example, third-party skills have been removed from the home screen. Instead, users find a large Alexa button to trigger the assistant, below which is a list of suggested actions that are curated based on past usage.

Suggestions might also feature frequently accessed controls or management options for currently active devices, like Echo speakers or Echo Buds. Replacing the old Alexa button, which was previously located in the center of a toolbar at the bottom of the screen, is a repositioned control for media playback.

Joining the Play button are quick links to connected devices, Amazon's communications tools, a "Home" button and a "More" category. App features like Reminders, Routines, Skills and Settings are now located in the catchall "More" section.

The redesign speaks to Amazon's evolving Alexa philosophy. Previous versions of the app sought to create a virtual home hub of sorts within iOS, offering immediately relevant information like the date and weather at the top of the page. By removing that information and rearranging feature access -- particularly skills -- the app now caters to actual consumer habits, not an aspirational design forwarding Amazon's strategy to market Alexa as an app platform.

Amazon expects all users to be granted access to the revamped Alexa app by the end of August.


  • Reply 1 of 1
    dewmedewme Posts: 4,841member
    Already using this on my iPhone. It already seems like a cleaner design by virtue of removing things like weather and date-time from the home screen which were kind of redundant. The first time I saw the changed app layout it inspired me to walk through most of the menus and control hierarchy just to get a feel for what is in there and I definitely discovered things I had not noticed before, like some predefined Siri shortcut templates, which struck me as rather cool.

    One thing of note is that even though the Alexa app's primary focus is now around personalized access to Alexa-integrated services, it still retains all of its device management capabilities, i.e., capabilities that Apple places in its Home app. At first glance this may appear as an oddity or a wart, but I think Amazon can easily justify this hosting/placement decision because they have tied up everything that Alexa can do in concert with devices (including Ring devices!) in this app. Moving between personalized services and device oriented services, which are now personalized device oriented services, feels quite natural.

    Amazon's workflows and user experience (UX) in the Alexa app definitely make Apple's Home app feel very flat, somewhat lacking in functionality, and with a much lower level of cohesion for personalized device oriented services (using Siri shortcuts) than what Amazon is presenting. Since I don't have any HomeKit sensor/actuator devices (HomePod and Apple TV only) I can't really do a direct comparison. It would be interesting to do a side by side evaluation of HomeKit+Siri Shortcuts versus Alexa/Ring+Alexa Routines. My gut feel is that Amazon is 1-2 years ahead of Apple in the depth of integration, quality of cohesion, and functional automation only because of their earlier time to market. But I don't really know because the Home app is little more than a device browser and (very limited) device configurator for me. Even there, the Home app doesn't really do anything functional (like firmware updates) with devices like Apple TV. The Alexa app doesn't allow me to do firmware updates to Ring devices either, but it does allow me to create Routines that trigger from Ring devices and even surface notifications from WiFi connected network printers. Maybe Apple being 1-2 years behind was optimistic.

Sign In or Register to comment.