Amazon is selling the first phones that let you summon Alexa with a physical button

  • Amazon is selling the first phones that can access Alexa by pressing a smartphone's physical buttons. 
  • They offer the easiest way to access Alexa on a smartphone.
  • The Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play is a great device, but the Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play can be easily outdone by spending $80 more on the OnePlus 6.

Amazon announced on Friday that it's adding the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play to its Amazon Prime Exclusive lineup, and they come with a trick that no other smartphone has.

You can double-press the power button to summon Amazon's smart voice assistant, Alexa. 

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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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That's pretty significant for anyone who uses Alexa, and a lot of people do. 

It's estimated that 16% of the US population own a smart speaker as of January 2018, according to NPR and Edison Research. Of that 16%, 11% own an Alexa-powered device, like the Amazon Echo or Sonos One. That's a little over four million people who use Alexa. 

On other smartphones, you could always use Alexa by going into the Alexa app. But the Amazon Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Z3 Play make it easier by letting you double-press the power button when the phone is unlocked. Amazon is essentially reducing the amount of steps to access Alexa on the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Moto Z3 Play. 

Other phones have dedicated buttons for smart voice assistants. Samsung's Galaxy phones controversially have a dedicated button for its Bixby voice assistant, which isn't particularly popular. And the button can't be re-mapped to summon a different assistant, like the superior Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa. The LG G7 has a dedicated button for Google Assistant, too. 

Alexa aside, are these phones any good?

Amazon's Prime Exclusive phones can usually be found outside of Amazon, but the Prime Exclusive models come with a nice little discount in exchange for coming pre-loaded with some Amazon apps, including Prime Music, Prime Video, and Prime Photos. 

The $190 Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play is on the lower-end of the mid-range spectrum in terms of performance and features, but it has some appealing benefits. Combined with a power-efficient processor and display, the Moto G6 Play's 4,000mAh offers a 36-hour battery life, according to Motorola, which is higher than most high-end smartphones. 

The $450 Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play is on the higher-end of the mid-range spectrum, with decently powerful performance and extensive features when combined with Motorola's modules called "Moto Mods." Some modules include a larger battery, a stereo speaker, and even a mini projector.

Both the Prime Exclusive Moto G6 Play and Z3 Play also run a near-stock version of Android that's leaner, cleaner, and simpler than most versions of Android you'd find on other phones.

Motorola make the best mid-range devices we're aware of because they come with good design, performance, and features at a great value. Anyone looking for a good smartphone without the high-end price tag should check out Motorola's latest G6 series smartphones, whether it's the Prime Exclusive model or the regular $200 Motorola model

With that said, both the regular or Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 is a little harder to recommend for its price tag. You can spend $530 — $80 more than the Prime Exclusive Moto Z3 Play — on the OnePlus 6, which offers phenomenal high-end performance, design, near-stock Android, and features that easily competes with phones that cost above $700. 

NOW WATCH: This $530 Android phone is half the price of an iPhone X and just as good

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