Amazon’s Alexa skills have reportedly surpassed the 25,000 mark in the U.S., after the company has been touting the milestone for several weeks.
According to voicebot.ai, the voice web news site, Amazon has been promoting the availability of 25,000 Alexa skills in the U.S., but is only now able to surpass that mark thanks to Cumulus, which announced 300 new Alexa skills this week. According to its data, Alexa’s skill count growth had been increasing until it hit 20,000, at which point it slowed down and took longer to hit the next 5,000 threshold. The growth rate increased from November of 2016 to September 2017, but then slowed during the last three months.
According to the report, the slowdown shouldn’t last long, and Amazon’s recent move to offer monetization options to developers should drive more interest in Alexa skills. Local businesses, brands and business applications – all segments that haven’t yet been tapped – were all identified as opportunities for Amazon to accelerate skills growth and dominate the market. The company’s announcement of Alexa for Business should boost the rate of app development over the next two quarters, voicebot.ai predicted.
Late last month, Amazon announced that Amazon Pay is coming soon to apps developed for Amazon Alexa by third-party developers. Starting out, Alexa’s payment-embedded skills will fall into the categories of donations, restaurants and event ticketing, and will expand more dramatically in 2018.
That change will roll out with a public beta for the Gadgets API, enabling developers to start making games that interact with the Echo buttons for multi-person gameplay. Those will be in stores starting next month, according to reports.
Native payments for Alexa and Echo devices will allow Amazon to offer its 20+ thousand-member developer base a chance to monetize their app creations. Previously, doing so on the platform has been difficult, as ads are mostly forbidden – with the exceptions of flash briefings and streaming audio, which are able to run ads.