As 2019 drew to a close, Amazon decided to divulge the most popular Alexa skills for the year. Entertainment, education, and relaxation… you’ll find it all here. When it was released in the UK in 2016, the Amazon Echo was a small revolution in millions of households, and so it remained through to the end of 2019 and beyond. Sure, it’s been something of a rocky road along the way, with a few privacy concerns and Alexa's occasional creepy laugh, but the Echo just keeps getting stronger, faster, and better.
Alexa skills have allowed users to customise the Echo as they see fit, and it’s even possible to create Alexa skills yourself in order to make the smart speaker match your lifestyle and interests. That said, we still rely on developers to make sweet and savvy skills for us to enjoy. Below, we’ll list the most-downloaded skills for the Echo in 2019.
Animal Workout by Jack and Jill
It’s a nice idea to provide kids with a bit of entertainment that isn’t on the TV, phone, or iPad! Kids (and parents) can follow the simple instructions to keep fit and have some fun. You can pretend to be certain animals and bop around to some music as well. Besides, who doesn’t love to be a crab on a Sunday morning?
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? by Nickelodeon
It’s the question we all want to know the answer to (or dread finding out!). A great family quiz or even a solo test when you’re in the mood for a bit of trivia, this is perfect for testing your knowledge, helping kids learn new facts, and even helping parents recall things from many years ago!
Common Knowledge by Game Show Network
Another quiz skill with a bit more of a game show feel. Host Joey Fatone will ask a bunch of common quiz questions in typical categories like geography, history, entertainment, sports, etc. For a solid, well-rounded quiz to distract you for a while and help you learn, Common Knowledge is a must.
Escape the Room by Stoked Skills
Escape rooms have exploded in popularity in the last five years, so it should come as no surprise that there’s also an Alexa skills version. Escape rooms typically need a visual element, like allowing you to see characters or interact with tools, but Escape the Room does a pretty decent job of transferring this idea to the Echo. You have to solve puzzles, find clues, and work out how to escape areas with the info and items you have. More rooms are being added, so it’s a nice bit of distraction for a while.
Guided Meditation by Stop, Breathe & Think
Much like the really popular app, Headspace, guided mediation works great on the Echo. The robotic voice of Alexa is perhaps less soothing than a real, human voice, but for a quick bit of escapism, this is perfect to help you get into the routine of meditation, mind exercises, and the chance to reduce anxiety and stress after a hard day’s work.
Song Quiz by Volley
Song Quiz is pretty much what it says on the tin: guessing the right title and artist of a popular song from the last decades. It’s a fun way to test your musical knowledge and maybe even find out some great tunes you’ve never heard before! A good idea is to find teammates from different generations, as some younger people might not know the 80s stuff, and older people likely aren’t too familiar with the latest from Katy Perry! You can also challenge friends and family members, and even compete against others in the UK.
Spotify by Spotify
By now, it seems like everyone has a Spotify account. This music-streaming app has changed the way we listen to and discover new music. With basically every song you could ever want (and more being added all the time), Spotify lets you listen to music the way you want. Personalising radio stations and finding out new bands and artists is so simple with Spotify.
Star Wars: Choose Your Destiny by Disney
People of all ages still love Star Wars, and when you’re finished with the movies or even the video games, you can jump back into space with this Alexa skill. You can hear fun adventures with all the classic characters, like Luke, Leia, Han, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and of course Chewbacca.
TED Talks by TED Conferences
TED Talks have become one of the most important ways to get inspired and learn new things about the world. Some of the best speakers on the planet get up on stage and talk about topics near to their hearts. You can find new TED Talks or search for specific topics you’re already interested in.
Wait Wait Quiz by NPR
More quizzes… Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me! from NPR makes its way onto the Amazon Echo. An interactive version lets you join in by answering fill-in-the-blank questions all from the news of the week. Hosts Peter Sagal and Bill Kurtis do a great job of bringing the show to life and you can sometimes get your own name mentioned on the show!
Don’t forget to read our Echo Spot review if you’re after a new gift for yourself or someone else!