Amazon Echo Skill App vs Amazon Alexa App?

Can someone tell me the difference between these two? I just noticed the new Amazon Echo Skill app today.


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The old Amazon Alexa App was our very early method of providing some Alexa functionality. It only supported dimmers and switches by emulating a Hue Bridge. There were many shortcomings to this approach.

The Amazon Alexa Skill is our new and improved app, involving the installation of a skill via the Alexa smartphone (or web) app. This has much improved functionality, and supports a broader range of devices. This will be our main integration going forward.

When we first introduced the Alexa Skill, there were problems getting it to work in the UK. We have been attempting to correct this. Yesterday we pushed out a build that actually broke the skill installation, and did not help the UK problem. We plan to release a hot fix today to correct that bug. We brought back the old app to allow the UK users to continue to have Alexa functionality while we resolve the issues in the UK.

You can only have one or the other installed. You cannot install the Skill if the old app is installed. It needs to be removed before you install the skill. Were you to install both, it would mess up Alexa's device discovery and would probably not work at all for either app.


One nice feature of the old app is that it didn't silently hide devices (in particular Hue lights) from Alexa. Are there any plans to update the new app to pass through all devices the user has selected instead of dropping some of them?

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Is there any knack to getting things discovered using the added App? I'm in the UK, adding the App, added some switches, and Alexa is finding nothing.


Im still having issues getting my devices discovered, also in the UK. Anyone got it working okay?

Edit: Also i searched for a 'Hubitat skill' on the Alexa app, nothing.

Also in the UK and experienced some lag before devices were discovered but it did work eventually.

I tried many times prior to it working, but leaving it alone for a couple of hour seemed to do the trick. I had validated that I could see the Hubitat as a Hue Bridge from ST and also resorted to using the app rather than voice commands.

I do not install any skill, just using the Alexa app and relying on it to emulate Hue bridge. If there was a device in Alexa using the same name (from ST) it would not replace it until I deleted it.

I love the Alexa skill over the older Alexa app.


  • select devices for Alexa and the Alexa app confirms she has new devices added instantly
  • Groups are much easier to control through HE and then make available in Alexa. Such as Alll Downstairs Lights.
  • when you delete a device it is removed from Alexa. No more phantom devices that will cause conflict. #1 irritation of mine with ST.
  • the new skills with HE reporting type of device automatically becomes supported as Alexa ventures more into garage doors, locks and motion sensors. Aka Turn Fan on High. Lock garage door. Etc.

Couldn’t do any of this in ST or the old Alexa app. Love it!

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Just for clarity, we have to use the Alexa app in the UK as the skill is not yet available.

In the interim, I signed up with amazon US and also managed to get out of todays outage. Totally worth it.

I have paid music subscription so somewhat tied to uk account.

Had to endure this morning outage - did wonder what was going on, Surely they could provide a better message than 'I am having trouble understanding right now' and redirect to a service to provide current status?

Sorry to hear, not nice. I knew nothing about that until I checked FB. At least you wouldn't have to transfer all Alexa Devices, just the one you want to execute the commands from. Not helpful maybe, but maybe there's a way you can work it? Yeah, I've lost my Prime so I took Spottily up on their offer of a free month, although I may stick with it.

Agree on the error, they must be able to work in some response code or something to help end users,.

Any update on the UK Skill?

The new Alexa app/skill doesn't hide anything either unless you uncheck that device, which it does provide a way to do for Hue lights by default (under the assumption that they are paired to a Hue bridge that not only integrates directly with Alexa itself but also provides greater functionality, like setting color by voice, which Hubitat currently does not).

If you want the Hue devices, don't check the box to disable their checking. :slight_smile: (Or go and manually select them all.) I definitely like not having all Hubitat devices passed to Alexa by default like the old app did--there are many I don't want because they "sound" similar to other devices and confuse Alexa, to say nothing of the fact that emulating a Hue bridge caused overly-curious other apps like Home Assistant and even ST to discover my Hubitat hub as a Hue bridge and offer to (or just do...) add my "lights."

EDIT: Wait. It ignores Hue devices even if you tell it not to?

As @cstory777 pointed out when the skill was originally released, the new Alexa Skill does (or did) specifically hide Hue devices. They're still shown in the device list in Habitat, and you can check or uncheck them, but they're silently ignored when presenting the device list to Alexa. As the skill says,

If you include a device that isn't compatible with Alexa it will just be ignored and not sent to Alexa.

As far as I can tell, having once again checked some Hue devices and asked Alexa to discover devices, this still seems to be the case.

I agree it's nice to be able to pick and choose devices to send to Alexa, but I wish the skill would actually present all the devices I select to Alexa, and not silently discard some of them. I would prefer to have Alexa control my Hues through Hubitat rather than by talking directly to the Hue bridge because it improves the responsiveness of Hubitat rules that listen to Hue light states.

I didn't realize it silently ignored Hue lights even if you specifically chose them. I got the impression from a previous conversation that this was not intended behavior. Have you confirmed that it's not a bug with Hubitat?

For the responsiveness, that's a good reason. I don't know what ST did, but it seems to respond to changes in Hue lights much faster than Hubitat, which as far as I can see seems to just check in once a minute. I have some custom lighting apps based on motion that dim when motion stops after saving light states and restores them if motion resumes before the lights turn off (after a timer), and unlike ST I notice that sometimes Hubitat doesn't save the correct light states if I have a relatively short period before dimming. (I can work around this by increasing that timeout, but if you have something on Hubitat that subscribes to a Hue light changing and it needs to be fast, that's obviously even more different.)

Yes, it's intentional. I think the logic was that users probably already had Alexa hooked up to Hue directly, so if Hubitat passed through Hue devices you'd end up with a bunch of duplicates. I still would have preferred the option, though. Just before they came out with the new skill, I had disassociated my Alexa from Hue and was only using Hue devices from Hubitat. When the new skill came out, suddenly Alexa couldn't talk to my Hues anymore (because Hubitat was no longer making them available).

I believe ST does what the Hue iOS app does, and just polls the hub very frequently (the Hue app polls once every 2 seconds). You can get the same effect on Hubitat by setting up a RM rule that polls any Hue light every few seconds. (Polling any single light will update the state of all your Hues in Hubitat.)

If you want the Hubitat to control your Hue devices directly then that's a simple fix. Remove them from your Hue hub, power down your Hue Hub, remove the Hue hub and Hue App from Hubitat and then connect your Hue devices directly to Hubitat without going through your Hue Hub.

I'd rather leave the Hues on the bridge. Having Hubitat control them through the Hue bridge works fine, and keeping the bulbs connected to it allows me to keep their firmwares updated.

What I would prefer is for everything else that interacts with Hues (like Alexa) to do it through Hubitat rather than by talking directly to the Hue bridge. That used to work fine with the previous Alexa app on Hubitat, and there doesn't seem to be any technical reason why it wouldn't work with the current skill; it's just an odd design choice on the part of the Hubitat developers.

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@Patrick Is there any chance of allowing Hues to pass through the Alexa skill (i.e., treat them like any other device)? It would be great to be able to use Hubitat to control access to the Hues again so Alexa wouldn't get cluttered up with all the Hue groups and scenes. :slight_smile: