AMAZON HAS announced a whole series of developer tools to make it easier to add its voice assistant Alexa into consumer products.
Amazon has always seen the Echo range as a flagship product, not a be all and end all to the Alexa ecosystem, and as we've already seen this week, many manufacturers are starting to take up the challenge.
The Alexa Voice Service Device Software Development Kit (SDK) is already being used by over 50 companies and is now open to all and is even posted to GitHub.
In a blog post, the company explains: "The AVS Device SDK provides C++-based libraries that enable your device to process audio inputs and triggers, establish persistent connections with AVS, and handle all Alexa interactions.
"The SDK also includes the capability agents that leverage the AVS API to handle core Alexa functionality, including speech recognition and synthesis, and other capabilities such as streaming media, timers and alarms, notifications, weather reports, and thousands of custom skills."
There are tutorials and a prototype app for Raspberry Pi available so you can build proof-of-concept for how to incorporate the chatty cloud companion into your gadgets.
"We are excited to bring the AVS Device SDK to developers to make it easier to add voice to their products and get to market faster," said Priya Abani, director Amazon Alexa. "As we continue to open up new tools and resources to help commercial developers build more Alexa-enabled devices, we're offering customers more choice around where to access Alexa."
Amazon's strategy is smart, to say the least. The company knows that by making Alexa a cornerstone of people's lives, they will make money through other parts of the business - shopping, streaming, advertising and of course Amazon Web Services (AWS) which remains the only profitable arm of the business according to recent figures.
Similarly, it's Amazon Fire tablet range locks customers into the Amazon ecosystem and these two in combination are where Amazon hopes, quite reasonably, will be the key to furthering its dominance of its markets.
Alexa is leaps and bounds ahead of its nearest rival Google Assistant at present, but with Apple planning to up its Siri game along with the launch of the iPhone 8, we can expect to see these missing features like multi-account and multi room music added quite soon.
Still no launch date for the Linglong Dingdong, though. µ
C3-PO, R2-D2, BB-8 and other Androids
Helpful cyber vigilante gets short changed by customer services
...you know, now it's less confusing...
Firm will no longer provide updates for its first Android mobe