Amazon and Microsoft are joining forces to bring a better video calling experience to Alexa devices: Starting today, you can now use Skype on both audio-only Alexa devices like the Amazon Echo Dot, Amazon Echo and Amazon Echo Plus, as well as Alexa video devices like the Amazon Echo Show and Amazon Echo Spot.
Like Alexa’s built-in voice calling feature, the Skype skill will only be offered in just a handful of countries at launch – but, thankfully, the US, UK, India, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada are all on the list.
To setup Skype calling on Alexa, you’ll need to open the Alexa app and go to Menu > Settings > Communication. Select “Add a Skype account” and sign in with an existing account. To start a call, just say, “Alexa, call Jimmy on Skype” … or whichever friend you had in mind. Don’t bother Jimmy, he’s busy.
To incentivize linking your account, Microsoft is offering users 100 free minutes a month for two months after linking your account. You can use that credit to make international calls or reach people who aren’t on Skype … if you’re opposed to using Alexa’s built-in calling feature that does it for free.
So who can you call for free with Skype? At last count, Skype had around 300 million monthly active users – a fairly substantial number. That number has shrunk some with the advent of Facebook video calling and Google Duo, but hey, that’s 300 million more than you’d expect a service that debuted in the Myspace era to have.
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