Best answer: No! OnePlus worked closely with Amazon and Qualcomm to integrate the Alexa built-in feature at the app level rather than at the OS level so that it could be updated independently from the OS. As a bonus, you don't have to buy a OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro from Amazon to get these Alexa features.
- Flagship killer: OnePlus 8 Pro with Alexa Built-In ($899 at OnePlus)
- Sub-Flagship killer: OnePlus 8 with Alexa Built-In ($699 at OnePlus)
What does it mean to have a phone with Alexa Built-in?
While Android and iOS users can both access Alexa at the push of a button from within the Amazon Alexa app, as well as other Amazon apps like shopping and music, only Android users can set Alexa as their primary or default voice assistant on their phones.
For several years, Amazon has offered "exclusives" with different Android OEMs. In this program, Amazon would sell a variant of a phone pre-loaded with Alexa set as the default assistant, either hands-free or at the press of a button, as well as a handful of other Amazon apps like Kindle, Amazon Music, and Audible.
The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro phones are the first devices from OnePlus to be available for purchase on Amazon.com, and they are the first from the company (and arguably the most premium) to be part of the Alexa Built-in program.
Are you going to get slower Android or Oxygen OS updates?
Absolutely not! OnePlus is already one of the best Android OEMs in terms of delivering timely and consistent updates, both in terms of Android platform updates and its own Oxygen OS skin. The company has no plans to change this strategy or cadence.
According to a statement from OnePlus, the Alexa Built-in integration is achieved through setting up the Amazon Alexa and Qualcomm Voice Assist apps and enabling the feature. From that point, users can easily switch between hands-free activation of Alexa or the Google Assistant on their OnePlus 8 phones. How convenient!
How do you enable the Alexa Built-In Features on a OnePlus 8/8 Pro?
Regardless of whether you purchased your OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro directly from Amazon, OnePlus, or a carrier, you can enable hands-free Alexa access. Here's how you do it:
- If it's not already on your OnePlus 8/8Pro, download and setup the Amazon Alexa app.
- Download and/or check for updates to the Qualcomm Voice Assist app in the Google Play Store.
- Open the Alexa app on your phone.
- Sign in to your Amazon account.
- Follow the steps in the app to complete your Alexa Hands-Free setup.
That's it! Now you can summon Alexa on your OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro whenever you want, without forgoing access to the Google Assistant.
OnePlus goes full flagship
The OnePlus 8 Pro marks a significant shift in OnePlus as a company. While every device before this has cut some corner or feature, the 8 Pro does none of that. In addition to the beastly processor and RAM you've come to expect from OnePlus devices, the 8 Pro also delivers a stunning 120Hz AMOLED display, a 4,510 mAh battery, 30W wireless charging, an IP68 dust/water resistance rating, 5G connectivity, and built-in Alexa support. Yes, it's expensive, but it's also one of the most fully-featured flagships on the market.
A 7T with a few extra specs
The OnePlus 8 is a 7T with a few new specs, 5G and a larger battery for a $100 price bump. Oh, and it has Alexa built-in support! Even at the higher price, it still represents incredible value thanks to all of the core tenets of OnePlus phones: good hardware, great software, excellent specs, and strong battery life.
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Jeramy was the Editor-in-Chief of Android Central. He is proud to help *Keep Austin Weird* and loves hiking in the hill country of central Texas with a breakfast taco in each hand.