17 hidden secrets of the Amazon Echo

Amazon’s voice assistant can do a lot more than just play music and tell you the weather.

Make phone calls with Alexa

Setting up phone-call capabilities is only slightly more involved than setting up the Drop In function. First, open the Alexa app on your phone and tap the speech bubble on the toolbar. When you originally set up the app you'll have been asked for your phone number, and for authorisation to pull in your contacts from your address book - and now you should see them here.

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To call or text one of these contacts, tap the person icon at the top of the screen, then tap their name. You'll see options to send a text or call. A texts will be read out by the recipient's Echo device, as well as appearing on their phone, while a phone call make their device ring so you can speak hands-free.

What if you don't want to be disturbed? Tap a name and use the "Allow Drop In" switch to enable or disable their access. Scroll to the bottom of their card and there's a link to block them if you need.

Make Skype calls with Alexa

If you're a business user that relies on Skype rather than traditional phone calls, don't worry - Alexa's got you covered. In the Alexa app, open up the settings and tap 'communication'. Tap on 'Skype' and then click the link to sign in to your Skype account.

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Once your account is linked and authenticated, you can simply say "Alexa, call Frankie on Skype", and Alexa will initiate the call. If you've got an Echo device with a screen - i.e. the Echo Show, Echo Spot or a Kindle Fire tablet with Show Mode - you can even use it to make Skype video calls.

Find out how to customise your morning briefing on the next page...

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