amazon's alexa has plenty going for it. developers have trained the virtual assistant with over 10,000 “skills”—apps you talk to instead of tap—to do everything from hailing a lyft to checking your stock portfolio. at home, alexa can control the lights, set timers, play your local npr station, and generally achieve that jarvis-level assistance that feels so much like the future. until now, though, alexa lacked what it needs more than any of those things to secure its success: a fighting chance on smartphones.alexa already lives on android and ios. but you have to go hunting for it like some sort of neanderthal, rather than just conversing as you might with siri or google assistant. even if alexa beats the pants off of other virtual assistants, convenience will always win out.now, though, a single smartphone has put alexa on par with its native competitors. just say “alexa” to the htc u11 flagship, and it’ll appear. it’s a small step, which needs some refinement. but it’s one that amazon needed to take, before the voice revolution it led threatens to leave it behind.rocky startalexa and google assistant are like roommates on the htc u11. you can yell `alexa!` at your phone to enable it, or squeeze the phone's edges to bring the chirpy blue assistant to life. you can also say `hey google” or long-press the home button to summon assistant. both are integra...