Skype has just announced that you can make calls using its service on Amazon’s Echo hardware. It’s quite easy to set up, but there are a couple of gotchas to beware of. Here’s how to make Skype calls on Amazon Echo devices.
Connect Alexa to your Skype account
The first step is to activate the feature on your Echo. Head to the Alexa app on your phone (or visit alexa.amazon.com) and click on Menu. Choose Settings then Communication.
Right now, there’s probably just one link there: to add a Skype account.
Click on this and you’ll see a page like the one above appear. If your username and password are saved in the phone, you just need to press Accept to show you’re willing to accept the many conditions.
Once you’ve done that, you’re all set up.
How to make Skype calls on an Echo device
There are two main ways to make a call on your Echo device.
The first is to say, “Alexa, call Barry Collins on Skype”. So long as Barry is in your Skype contacts list, it will contact him on whatever device he’s using.
Or you might prefer to say, “Alexa, Skype Barry Collins”. Both work.
If your contact isn’t on Skype, then you need to read out the number. In the UK, though, you won’t get anywhere by saying “Alexa, call 020 7907 6000”. Instead, you must say, “Alexa, call 20 7907 6000”.
How to pick up and end Skype calls on an Echo device
If you get a call on your Echo, you should say, “Alexa, pick up”.
And when it’s time to end a call, say “Alexa, end call”. And yes, that is clumsy, especially if you’re leaving a message on an answerphone.
What’s free, what’s not
As soon as you sign up, you’ll be given 200 free minutes of calls to landlines and mobiles – 100 minutes per month for the first two months.
Beyond the two months, Skype is rather hoping you’ll sign up to one of its subscription deals. For example, a world subscription costs £12 for unlimited calls to 63 destinations, while the UK subscription provides 400 minutes of calls for £6 per month.
Alternatively, you can “pay as you go” using Skype Credit. The minimum you can pay is £10, with the option of auto-renewing when funds run low.
It’s worth noting a Google Home device will let you make unlimited calls to UK landlines and mobiles for free.
Read next: How do I create an Alexa shopping list?