The next big function to take off on Amazon's Echo devices will be voice or video calling — which is a way Alexa can reduce the need to have your smartphone on your at all times, the VP and head scientist at Alexa Machine Learning said.
"If you have not played with calling, and the video calls on Echo Show, you should try it because that is revolutionizing how you can communicate," Rohit Prasad said Tuesday in an exclusive interview with CNBC at an Alexa Accelerator event in Seattle. (The event is dedicated to developing new voice-powered technologies.)
"When you can drop in on people who have given you access — so I can drop in and call my mom in her kitchen without her picking any device — it's just awesome." (Amazon added the ability to call mobile numbers and landlines for free onto Echo devices a few weeks ago.)
Amazon doesn't have a smartphone that lets customers bring a digital assistant everywhere — like Apple's Siri and Google's Assistant — and communicating through Alexa devices is one way of reducing the need for a personal handset, Prasad said
"I can easily drop in and talk to my kids," Prasad said. "They don't have a smartphone so that's my easiest way to talk to them. It's yet another area where Alexa is taking the friction away."
Asked whether we'd see a smartphone or smart glasses (which are reportedly in the works) from Amazon, Prasad said he couldn't comment on the future roadmap but he didn't rule it out.
"We do want Alexa to be everywhere, so our customers can do their daily tasks with minimum friction and anywhere they need it," he said.