Wishful thinking: Alexa fan fiction


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Hey, it’s the weekend! Who’s up for a some domination?

Writing for Wired, Brian Barrett and David Pierce think Amazon is.

“The first Alexa Phone gets Amazon even closer to total domination.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Nick Sayer.)

There is… an Alexa Phone?

That doesn’t seem possible because the Macalope feels sure there would have been nothing shy of 9 bazillion breathless pieces written about it if were even rumored let alone announced. Five of which might mention the Fire Phone in one sentence about two-thirds of the way through. Much like this piece does.

But this isn’t a phone from Amazon.

…a single smartphone has put Alexa on par with its native competitors.

It’s just as good as Siri or Google Assistant.



OK, it’s not. At all. But… wow. Alexa. On a phone. Pretty cool. Looks like the virtual assistant wars are over.

Just say “Alexa” to the HTC U11 flagship, and it’ll appear.

Yes, congratulations to all five owners of the HTC U11! You are the first wave in the Alexa Total Domination. Your spot on Jeff Bezos’s giant space ark that will take us to Planet Echo is assured. No, Planet Echo doesn’t sound all that utopian but it’s a lot better than Planet Fire, which is where the unbelievers will be sent.

Anyway, everything is going super well with dominationing.

…in use, it's obvious that Alexa isn't native to the phone. It takes three or more seconds for Alexa to show up after you squeeze the edge or speak the wake word. By then, you've tried to activate Alexa again, which makes Alexa stop listening, so you have to activate Alexa again, and round and round you go.

OMG want it so baaaaaaad.

You can't use Alexa if your phone is locked, and not having the Alexa app downloaded hampers the experience.

Staaahp, you had the Macalope at trying several times to activate it.

You can't play music from any service other than Amazon, set timers, or hook into Amazon's new Echo messaging service. And there's no indication, ever, that Alexa knows it's on a screen.

If you’re not already in the car driving around trying to figure out where you would actually go to buy an HTC phone, are you even alive?

If you search the page for “privacy”, it does appear twice. Unfortunately, they’re both in the footer and are in reference to Wired’s privacy policy, not Amazon’s. Talking about such mundane concerns as privacy is incredibly gauche when we’re trying to show how awesome the Echo is. Please.

“Amazon may give app developers access to Alexa audio recordings.”

PLEASE. Do not try to harsh this, the chillest of buzzes, with your jejune concerns about things you say inside and now outside your home maybe being handed out like candy to third parties. Why would you even try to do that? Would you prefer we go back to stone tablets? WOULD YOU? Because that is the choice: hand over your personal information or go back to stone tablets!

Alexa on the HTC U11 may feel like a half-measure, but that beats no measure at all.

Totally on par with the competition.

It also won’t turn Amazon into a mobile player overnight, since HTC only holds 1 percent marketshare in North America.

Now, technically, golf does have handicaps, so “on par” might somehow still be appropriate here. The Macalope was not told there would be math in this Amazon fan fiction.

Will this lead to more? Almost certainly. But this is more the Motorola Rokr than the iPhone 1 of total domination.

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