Amazon announced on Tuesday (Sept. 18) the launch of a new API, dubbed Alexa Gadget Toolkit, which is aimed at creating more functions for the Alexa Gadgets.
According to Amazon, Alexa Gadgets are accessories that pair to compatible Echo devices via Bluetooth and extend Alexa’s abilities with motors, lights and sound chips, among other things. The toolkit offers developers self-service APIs, including Gadget Interfaces, which provide the metadata of Alexa capabilities on compatible Echo devices. The toolkits also include technical documentation and sample code that enables direct pairing and connectivity, communication and over-the-air updates between the gadget and the paired Echo device. Amazon noted that building on Alexa Gadget doesn’t require advanced processors, microphones or audio processing.
News of the toolkit comes as Amazon is reportedly gearing up to reveal later this month at least eight new voice-controlled hardware devices that the company plans to release by the end of this year. According to sources who shared information with CNBC, the devices include a microwave oven, an amplifier, a receiver, a subwoofer and an in-car gadget. All of the devices will be Alexa-enabled, while some will also have the voice assistant built in.
Amazon declined to comment on the report, but in a statement in July, Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said, “We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are. There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year.”
The move into home appliances will see Amazon taking on companies like Sonos and GE. The eCommerce giant has made plenty of recent progress in the connected home, including acquiring smart doorbell maker Ring for $1 billion in February. A few months later, it rolled out a home security service offering that includes a consultant who will help with the installation of the smart home equipment Amazon is selling.