Amazon’s Alexa app gets new interface to simplify use, control more devices

Amazon is rolling out a new design for the Alexa app to help users manage smart home devices in multiple rooms. The new app has a more colorful design and should make it easier for users to configure and access their Alexa-compatible devices, Tech Crunch reported.

The app redesign is better described as a “rollout-in-process” because Amazon is releasing a series of Alexa App improvements, according to Amazon’s Help and Customer Service page.  The company hasn’t officially announced the new app yet, possibly because they’ll wait until the majority of new app features and versions for both major mobile operating systems are ready.

amazon updates alexa app for ios

The new app follows Amazon’s recent Alexa hardware launch where the company introduced new Echo, Dot, and Show devices plus Alexa-compatible audio components, power outlets, a clock, auto dashboard devices, a camera, and even a microwave oven.

Switching from the Alexa app’s now-familiar blue or white text on a black screen, the new app makes greater use of color as a means of managing individual devices, device categories, and all the devices in a single room or grouping.

For example, in the app screenshots above,  you can see a row of device type icons blocks across the top of the screen. There are separate icon blocks for Echo & Alexa, Lights, Audio, and Plugs. If you want to add a device, rather than work down through two levels as in the previous app, with the new design you can tap on a “+” sign in the upper right corner.

Each room or grouping has a rectangular color block in the body of the screen, with icons in the block that represent each device or device group in the room. So there should be much less moving between screens and pulling up menus with the new app.

The app’s new communications screen simplifies contacting others. Following the design concept for the device’s screen, you can choose from icons to call, message, or Drop-In on other people or parts of the house, using Alexa Echo devices like an in-home intercom. The Alexa app also supports Bluetooth speakers in multiple rooms, so you can set up and select music groups that consist of one or more rooms.

It’s doubtful this will be the last Alexa app upgrade and, judging from the statement on Amazon’s help page, there may be additional features in this release that are yet to be rolled out.

Product Review

You won't buy Microsoft's Surface Hub 2S, but it could still change your life

The Microsoft Surface Hub 2S wants to change the way you collaborate at work. That’s a lofty goal most devices fail to achieve, but the unique Hub 2S could be an exception. And trust us – you’re going to want it.
Smart Home

Echo Plus (1st-gen) vs. Echo Plus (2nd-gen): How exactly do they compare?

Which Echo Plus should you buy? This guide compares the first-generation Echo Plus its latest successor, allowing you to get a better idea regarding the ins and outs of each device.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Gaming

Hook up your stream setup at a great price with these Stream Deck alternatives

The original Elgato Stream Deck is a great device for managing your content while you stream games on Twitch, but there are plenty of Stream Deck alternatives that can do the job, as well.
Deals

Amazon drops a killer Instant Pot deal, with prices under $60

Instant Pots are the popular kitchen device known for making cooking easier and faster. Thinking of finally getting yourself one? Amazon dropped the price of the Instant Pot Duo Mini. Prepare delicious meals this Easter Sunday with this…
Smart Home

I have seen the future, and it’s full of salad-making robots

Think that robots bussing tables, tossing salads and baking bread is a futuristic concept? It's actually not as far away as you might think. Robots took center stage at a food robotics summit in San Francisco this week, where they showed…
Product Review

4K in home security is finally here, thanks to Arlo’s Ultra UHD smart cam

The 4K home security camera is finally here! Class-leading image clarity and a super-wide field of vision makes Arlo Ultra an early contender for the year’s best smart cam. While there are definite quirks to the device, the device…
Smart Home

Ecobee leverages humor in a heated discussion with climate change skeptics

Ecobee cranked up the heat on climate change doubters. In observance of Earth Day, Ecobee and ad agency DCX released video of a social experiment that tested the effectiveness of humor in easing tension during discussions with skeptics.
Smart Home

Miele stuns with wireless probe, self-descaling java pot, and other new products

Miele rocked KBIS 2019 with waves of new appliances and features. The annual Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show is all about product launches and Miele's appliance reveal was like New York Fashion Week with a single designer.
Deals

Shark, Ecovacs, and Roomba robot vacuums get price cuts for spring

The weather's getting nice again, and we're all emerging from our winter-long hibernation. So it's time once again to also start on that spring cleaning you've been putting off. But who really wants to clean when you'd rather be outside? We…
Smart Home

Making hard-boiled eggs isn’t hard — here’s how to do it perfectly every time

With the help of science or some kitchen gadgets, making hard-boiled eggs can be a little easier. It may not be the hardest task in the world, but a few of these methods are foolproof.
Deals

Amazon and Best Buy smash prices on August smart home security locks

Amazon and Best Buy have the lowest prices for two August smart home door locks during a limited time sale. August was one of the first smart door lock companies designed specifically for smart home convenience and security.
Deals

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Everything you need to know

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is still a few months off, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.
Smart Home

Get baked while you bake with these clever cannabis cooking gadgets

Ready to step up your edibles game? Here are the best cannabis cooking gadgets for your kitchen, from an "Instant Pot" for your cannabutter to the best grinders and decarbing devices on the market. Check out the full list for more.