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Amazon's Alexa just conquered another phone


Courtesy of Huawei

The battle over voice assistants is heating up. For the first time, Amazon's digital assistant Alexa will come preinstalled on a smartphone, challenging Apple's Siri and Google Assistant on the turf they've carved out. What's more, it'll come on an Android phone.

Today, China's biggest smartphone maker, Huawei, will deliver an over-the-air update, pushing the Huawei Alexa app to Mate 9 customers in the United States, as promised at this year's Consumer Electronics Show in January.

The large screen Android Mate 9 has been well reviewed, but hasn't really cracked the U.S. market, as none of the big U.S. carriers are selling it yet.

Still, it's a significant move for Amazon as Alexa moves beyond the home and into mobile. Earlier this week, its virtual assistant became available on Apple's iPhone through the Amazon app. Amazon is also in negotiations to integrate Alexa in some Motorola smartphones.

Amazon isn't the only one pushing its digital assistant -- Google recently started pushing its Google Assistant to millions of Android phones running recent operating systems (Marshmallow and Nougat), and Samsung is launching its own assistant, Bixby, on its next flagship smartphone later this month (also an Android).

While Huawei doesn't have much of a presence in the US yet (according to The Information, that could change soon), the Chinese company is the world's third largest smartphone maker. This partnership could give Alexa a foothold in China, a market that Amazon is moving deeper into with its launch of a version of its Prime membership last year.

The software update rolls out on the Mate 9 today at noon PT.