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Amazon Redesigns Alexa App For Smart Homes

Amazon has recently updated its Alexa app after three years, which will completely roll out to iOS and Android devices this week.

Some small changes are already appearing; however, the end result is set to be a more streamlined app, tailored to smart home control. It’s expected to be more intuitive and easier to use.

Amazon’s Director of Smart Home, Charlie French said the redesign’s main focus is to put smart home controls front and center.

“We’ve seen great momentum with smart home. We now have millions of customers with over 20 devices connected. So, this is about making it as easy as possible to access their devices.”

The new app appears less cluttered, with fewer Amazon illustrations, and looks more like a dedicated smart home app, rather than a personal assistant.

The Home tab has clear organisation now, whereas before it had random “most relevant” and “recently used” items. It’s also newly customisable, allowing users to choose what they want to see and use.

Additionally, there are three distinct sections for smart home / Alexa control, which can be edited by the user.

The Home tab’s top row has been redesigned into a sideways scrollable list of shortcut buttons for tools including, Music, Shopping Lists, and Drop In. These can be edited, and the user can choose from around 17 different shortcuts.

Shortcuts such as Lights, Locks and Climate will take the user to a list of the devices they have in that category, where they can be controlled.

The shortcut will also show a device’s status, including how many lights are on, and the current temperature. Charlie French has said the information is currently limited to users with less than 20 devices, however, it will soon come to “the power users.”

Next is the Activity tab, which now shows time sensitive cards for information including smart home alerts, timers, alarms, and any reminders set. The section can be expanded; however, it takes less space by default. The cards can also be dismissed, and the whole section will disappear when it’s empty.

‘Favorites’ has been moved from the Device tab, and is now on the Home tab, allowing users to instantly control devices including lights and locks with one tap, as soon as the app is opened.

Tapping devices including thermostats and cameras, will pull up a bottom sheet that allows the users to adjust the temperature of the thermostat, or see a live view.

French says the user can have up to 200 devices in ‘Favorites.’ In 2024, it will also be able to include snapshots from up to six Ring cameras, with a Ring Protect Plan.

Underneath ‘Favorites’ is a list of ads for Amazon’s services and products. However, they appear to be smaller and less intrusive.

The bottom menu bar has been streamlined to only three icons, Home, Devices, and More. More is where the user will find Settings, Activity History, Routines, Music, Skills, Automotive, Emergency Assist, etc.

The Home tab Alexa bubble now allows users to type a text command to the assistant, as well as talking to it.

Another big revamp is the Devices screen, which is now more of a settings page. French said “It’s somewhere you go to do more involved things.”

Groups are now in a sideways scrolling line at the top, with a list view of connected devices taking up the rest of the screen.

Devices can also be searched by name, and be sorted alphabetically, by date added, or by device type, including “other.”

The alternative is the new Map View feature, which replaces the Groups function for controlling the home. Users can access this by tapping the map icon in the top right. Then, they can interact directly with devices on a floor plan.

Map View is currently in a closed preview, and is only available on iOS devices. Additionally, it requires an iPhone 12 Pro or Max or newer, or a 4th Gen iPad Pro or newer to set up. Echo Hub is set to receive it upon launch.

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