Amazon has rolled out a new Alexa developer kit for on-the-go devices, making it easier for manufacturers to integrate the wildly popular voice assistant into their products, the company announced in a blog post.
With the release of the kit, makers of mobile devices will be able to integrate the Alexa technology into their products while investing less in hardware and integration efforts. The kit can be used for technology such as wearables, headphones, smart watches and fitness devices.
Several device makers — such as Bose, Jabra, iHome and Beyerdynamic — have already begun developing mobile accessories that include Alexa. But, using the new lightweight kit, these manufacturers and others will be able integrate Alexa into their products without doing the bulk of the coding.
According to Amazon, Bluetooth audio-capable devices built with the new kit can connect directly to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) via the Alexa mobile app. Once Alexa is on a product, users can access streaming media, smart home capabilities, thousands of skills, calendar management and weather updates.
Amazon’s announcement comes on the heels of news that Alexa jumped to the top spot in the App Store at the end of 2017, rising from a rank of between 60 and 90 in the earlier part of Q4. Adding to Amazon’s success, the Alexa-powered Echo Dot was Amazon’s top seller during the 2017 holiday season.
As Alexa’s popularity continues to surge, Amazon is talking to consumer companies, including Procter & Gamble and Clorox about advertising on Echo devices. CNBC noted that some of those early conversations were focused on whether or not companies would pay to be placed higher in searches on the Echo — similar to the listing preference used with Google searches.
Advertising aside, the company will reap the benefits of having an engaged customer base. Amazon Echo owners are among the eCommerce giant’s most loyal customers — and the most frequent of its shoppers.