Popular Amazon Alexa smartphone feature cancelled
In July 2020, Amazon introduced Alexa hands-free functionality for smartphones. As its name suggests, the feature simplified the way in which Amazon's voice assistant could be accessed, with voice commands able to control smart home devices or create shopping lists, among other uses. Like 'Hey Google' or 'Hey Siri', saying 'Alexa' near some Motorola, OnePlus, Oppo or Xiaomi smartphones could trigger Amazon's pre-installed voice assistant without actually looking at your phone.
Unfortunately, Amazon is pulling that feature as of March 31, 2023. While native hands-free support can be used until then, OEMs may push an update disabling it when April rolls around. Amazon advises people who would like to continue using Alexa hands-free to download the Alexa app instead. In other words, Alexa will lose a feature that has become a mainstay with Apple and Google's voice assistants.
Also, the state of Amazon Alexa on Fossil Group smartwatches running Wear OS 3 remains to be seen too, such as the Gen 6 Wellness Edition. Google has not released Google Assistant to any of these smartwatches, so Amazon Alexa may need triggering manually in future. Unfortunately, Amazon does not provide any further explanation on its website either, other than to use to Alexa app.