Own an Amazon Echo in India? You can now use Alexa to text or call your family

Amazon is rolling out key features to Echo owners in India. You can now use Alexa-to-Alexa calling and messaging to talk to contacts that also own an Echo device. You'll first need to give Alexa access to your contacts, and it'll go through the list and suggest people that have an Echo device linked with their phone numbers. It'll show the list of contacts available to text and call, after which it's as easy as asking Alexa to place a call or send a text message.

The Drop-In feature — which essentially turns the Echo into an intercom — is also going live. The feature allows you to call into an Echo device in another room. If you've got an Echo set up in your living room and another one in your office, you can say, "Alexa, drop in on the office" from your living room and broadcast a message.

You can also set permissions for who gets to drop in on your Echo device. Restricting it to the "Only my household" setting will ensure that only your family members get to use the feature to connect to your Echo devices. The ability to add family members to your Amazon account isn't available in India just yet, but Amazon will likely roll out the feature shortly.

In the three months since it made its debut in India, over 1,000 new localized skills have been added to Alexa. Amazon also announced that it is removing the invite-only limitation for Echo device, and making the Echo family available at over 350 retail outlets across 20 cities in India.

As a refresher, the Echo Dot retails for ₹4,499, the regular Echo is on sale for ₹9,999, and the Echo Plus with built-in smart home hub is available for ₹14,999.

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Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.