What is Alexa for? What can you do?


One of the things that we will remember from the year 2021 that we have just left is the final landing of Amazon Alexa in Spain. And although almost everyone already knows what is Alexa for, it never hurts to remember its countless features. We are always on time to discover a new one that we were completely unaware of and that will undoubtedly surprise us.

But let's start at the beginning by answering the question of what is Alexa. Because the definition of "Smart speaker" that has been given to this device a few times is not entirely correct, since it falls short.

What is Alexa?

Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon, available in multiple languages. This device was launched in 2014 within the Echo virtual speaker line. A design developed from a prototype created in Poland under the name of Ivona.

alexa echodot

What is Alexa for? Discover all its interesting functions

Its operation is similar to that of other virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Siri or Cortana, to cite some of the best known examples. It is activated with a voice commandsimply by pronouncing her name: "Alexa." With this, the device lights up, a signal that indicates that it is already listening to us, ready to give us an answer.

But Alexa is not only capable of interacting with the user through voice. You can also play music, set alarms, make to-do lists, play audiobooks, and provide information of all kinds, among other things. Its operation is possible thanks to technologies such as automatic speech recognition.

In its origins, Alexa was linked only to smart speakers created by Amazon. However, it didn't take long for a decision to open up its SDK so that other vendors and developers could implement new functionality. This is how we have been able to see the assistant integrated in all kinds of electronic devices.

This is how we have come to today, with Alexa turned into the most popular virtual assistant in the world. And for many, we are only at the beginning of a long and successful history.

Alexa compatible devices

echo amazon

Smart speakers from Amazon's Echo range

The list of devices that Alexa can work with is huge. However, it is definitely worth highlighting first the Amazon Echo range of smart speakers. This has led to many of the public sometimes confusing Alexa with the speaker itself, which is actually just one of its supports. These are the most popular models:

  • Amazon echo.
  • EchoPlus.
  • Echo Spot.
  • Amazon EchoDot.
  • Echo Sub.
  • Amazon Smart Plug.00

Of course, Alexa is also integrated into other products of the same company, from Fire TV up to brand appliances AmazonBasics.

But the thing does not end here. In recent times, collaboration agreements have been signed with giant firms in the world of household appliances: Sony, Hisense, Samsung, Whirlpool, LG o Toshiba are some examples.

Also noteworthy is the emergence (it is already a fact) of Alexa in the automotive world at the hands of brands such as Ford, Toyoya or Volkswagen, as well as in that of personal computers. Acer, Asus, HP and Lenovo they are already at it.

What can Alexa do?

lexa skills

What is Alexa for? Their capabilities will depend on the skills we install

The list of functions of this virtual assistant is really extensive. When we ask her questions, Alexa converts the sound waves into text. This allows you collect information from various sources (iMDB, AccuWeather, Yelp, Wikipedia, and many others, depending on the nature of the topic in question). On the other hand, Alexa-compatible devices can stream music from your Alexa accounts. Amazon Music of their owners. Alexa can play music from streaming services like Apple Music and Google Play Music from a phone or tablet.

In addition to performing all these preset functions, Alexa can also perform additional functions through third-party skills that users can eventually enable. A well-known example is the "question of the day."

The features that Alexa incorporates can be expanded as we add new skills, which is how installable add-ons are known.


Alexa can interact with devices from various manufacturers to develop different home automation functions. For example, in September 2018, Amazon announced a microwave oven that can be paired and controlled with an Echo device. There is also a peculiar device called Ring Doorbell Pro that serves to greet the visitors that we receive at the door of the house and that can leave instructions on where to deliver the packages to the delivery men.

Purchases and orders

The integration of Alexa with Amazon allows us to make all kinds of purchases with a simple voice command. In the same way, the device keeps us informed about the status of shipments (a green light warns us that the package we expect will arrive today).

If it's about order food at home, there are some really interesting skills like Domino's Pizza or Burger King. They allow us to order different menus simply by using our voice.


Alexa supports many free streaming services based on Amazon device subscription: Prime Music, Amazon Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Audible, Pandora and Spotify Premium, etc.

alexa music

But Alexa can also stream media and music directly. To do this, the device must be linked to the Amazon account, which allows the access to Amazon Music library, in addition to any audiobooks available in the Audible library. Amazon Prime members have the additional ability to access radio stations, playlists, and more than two million songs for free. Subscribers to Amazon Music Unlimited also have access to a list of millions of songs.

Alexa can play this music and control playback through voice command options.

Personal agenda

When we speak of "virtual assistant" we do not do it in vain. One of the best things Alexa can do is help us organize our day to day, both personally and professionally. A real assistant who can sync our calendars (Not only Google's, but also iCloud and Microsoft).

In the same way, Alex can manage all kinds of reminders or alerts that we want to configure.


One of the great virtues of Alexa: she is a polyglot! Its capacity as a translator is not comparable with that of most payment services of this type, although it has enough quality to get us out of a moment of trouble or to resolve numerous doubts.

Finally, it should be noted that Alexa is also a great instrument to entertain yourself during times of boredom. If you don't believe it, try to find out the funniest secret Alexa commands. In short, there are those who consider this assistant just another inhabitant of the house, someone with whom to "talk" and hang out. Without exaggeration, it has been proven to be a great invention that makes life easier and more enjoyable for many people who live alone.

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