How to Download Apps on the Amazon Echo Show
The first time you try out your Echo Show device you’ll notice that it has various apps similar to any other platform. You can watch YouTube, browse the internet, and even play music.
However, you’ll be out of luck if you want to download more apps – there’s no app store or any other similar alternative integrated into the device. Don’t worry. You can use your Alexa app to get third-party apps for your Echo Show.
These apps are called ‘skills’ and they work similarly to smartphone apps. Let’s learn more about them.
What Are Alexa Skills?
Alexa’s “skills” are essentially third-party apps that you can install so the device can obey new commands. These commands can be anything from reading (or watching) daily news reports, playing games, displaying cooking recipes, and a wide range of other interesting features. Currently, there are over 100,000 Alexa skills, and more are appearing every day.
The Echo Show has a bunch of pre-installed skills that enhance the user experience. For example, you can watch any YouTube video by saying: “Alexa, play (desired video) on YouTube”. If you want to see the weather forecast for the day or the following month, just say: “Alexa, show me today’s (or this week’s/month’s) weather”.
There are various built-in skills that require subscription to work. For example, if you’re subscribed to Amazon Music, you can play over 2 million songs with displayed information about the artist and even the lyrics. Similarly, if you’re subscribed to Amazon Video, you can look for any movie or TV show by saying the name of the titles, actors, genres, and plenty of other keywords.
How to Set Up Skills?
The Alexa platform is similar to iOS and Android. Unlike some home assistants that come with an integrated set of apps that you can’t change, most of Alexa’s skills require additional set up. This allows you to personalize your Echo Show device by choosing skills according to your needs and preferences.
You can set up new skills in two different ways. The first way is by saying: “Alexa, enable (skill name) skill”. However, this method requires you to know which skill you want to enable. Additionally, skill availability depends on your location, so you may not have access to them.
Another way to set up a skill is from the Alexa app. Of course, this requires you to install the Alexa app on your smartphone before you proceed. You can download the app from the App Store (for iOS device) or Play Store (for Android). Then do the following:
- Launch the Alex app on your phone.
- Tap the ‘menu’ icon (hamburger icon) at the top-left of the screen.
- Choose ‘Skills & Games’ from the menu.
- Find a skill that you want to use from the list or use the search bar to locate a particular one.
- Tap the skill to open the skill description and menu.
- Tap ‘Enable skill.’
Keep in mind that a lot of skills may already be pre-installed, integrated with the device but require you to know how launch them. Before you venture into the entire process of downloading and setting up a particular skill, you might as well check if you already have it. It may save you a lot of time.
How to Disable Skills?
If you want certain apps to disappear from Alexa’s skill set, you can disable them from the skill’s menu. Just use the steps 1-5 from above to access the menu and find the skill that you want to disable. Then, tap ‘Disable’ skill, and Alexa will stop recognizing your commands.
You can customize other settings from the same skill menu. For example, you can only toggle the notifications off instead of disabling the whole thing. Additionally, you can manage parental permissions if you add kid skills to the device.
Some Useful Skills You Can Get
As the skill database grows over time it will get harder and harder to choose between certain skills. Some of the most popular skills will appear in your ‘Skills & Games’ menu, and you can figure out their usefulness and quality by checking out their user ratings.
Here are some skills Echo Show users find convenient:
- Uber: If you use Uber’s services and have an account it’s easy to arrange a ride via Echo Show. Enable the skill and say: “Alexa, request a ride on Uber”, and the app will appear on the display. From then on you can follow the instructions and use voice commands to finalize the arrangement.
- Allrecipes: This huge recipe database will help you in many ways. If you’re unsure what to cook, you can ask Allrecipes to recommend a meal. Have only a few ingredients at home? You can find recipes based on that. Moreover, the skill can send a list of necessary ingredients to your phone so you know what to look for in a supermarket, and on top of that, both your hands will be fully focused on the meal. You can read the instructions and ‘turn the pages’ by using only your voice.
- Audible: If you’re passionate about books, you can purchase a book via Audible and then let Echo Show display and read the book in the background. This way you can do your business around the home while getting your daily piece of literature.
Of course, there are various niche apps such as Web Analytics for those who monitor their traffic, Tweet Reader that reads your twitter timeline, CryptoCoin that tracks and notifies you about the value of BitCoin, and an abundance of other apps.
Make Echo Show Your Perfect Assistant
Currently, Amazon Alexa is probably the best digital assistant. It’s compatible with an abundance of other devices and has various third-party connectivity options.
It has a version of third party-apps in ‘skills’ (something that neither Ciri nor Cortana have), that you can use to make Alexa a unique personal assistant. If you customize its skill set to fit your needs, you can make your life much more convenient.
What are your favorite Alexa skills? For what do you use them? Share your opinions in the comments section below.