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Amazon is expanding the capabilities of its smart Alexa assistant by letting consumers order meals using just their voice through Alexa-enabled devices.

The internet giant introduced meal deliveries to Seattle back in 2015, before expanding to cover countless U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, and New York. The Amazon Restaurants service expanded internationally in September when it landed in London. In a nutshell, the service lets members of Amazon’s annual $99 Prime subscription order meals for delivery within an hour through a dedicated mobile app.

With Alexa on board, Amazon is now pushing to make it even easier to order food. To action the new skill, those with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or other Alexa-powered device can say “Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants” to have a meal that they’ve ordered previously automatically dispatched. They can say “Alexa, order pizza from Amazon Restaurants,” or they can name a specific restaurant, and Alexa will trawl through previous orders to place a repeat order.

While it is no doubt a cool use-case for Alexa, it would be infinitely better if you could construct an entirely new order from scratch, or fine-tune a historical order to include more side dishes, a bigger main course, or a different beverage.

Amazon is emerging as the preeminent brand in the smart home assistant realm, with a growing number of useful skills. There is plenty of competition, however, such as Google Home and Lenovo’s recently announced Smart Assistant, which is also powered by Alexa. Other devices are also increasingly integrating Alexa, including the Huawei Mate 9, which will be the first phone to ship with Alexa pre-installed.

Last week, Amazon said it sold “millions” of Alexa devices over the holiday season, with Echo sales up nine times year-over-year.


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