Amazon has expanded a program that rewards developers for creating top apps for its Alexa voice assistant to Spain, Italy and France, in a push to give people in those countries access to high-quality content from Alexa-enabled devices.
The initiative, called the Alexa Developer Rewards program, was started in 2017 in the United States, according to reports, and was expanded to European countries like Germany and the U.K., as well as Japan and India.
The categories eligible for rewards are education and reference, food and drink, games, trivia, kids, lifestyle, among others. Amazon is making an effort to incentive app creation, and right now, the main monetization avenues for app makers are in-skill purchases or one-time purchases, and sales of goods.
However, that might not be enough for consistent income for some developers, so direct support from Amazon is there to encourage app makers.
The program has been successful so far, and the Alexa skill store is the largest of all the third-party voice app stores, with upwards of 80,000 skills. And it’s grown fast, doubling in size since last year.
The most popular apps are voice versions of music, meditation and game mobile apps. Amazon wants to make sure this particular segment keeps growing and that’s why it’s bringing the program to new markets, and where Google could have an advantage because of its advanced language and translation capabilities.
Developers don’t need to sign up for the program, as Amazon emails qualifying candidates. The company said it has paid out millions of dollars to developers in upwards of 20 countries since 2017.
In January, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services David Limp said more than 100 million devices with Alexa integrated into them have been sold so far.
According to a report in The Verge, Limp also said without providing more details that Amazon is sold out of Echo Dots through January — and that’s with the company “pushing pallets of Echo Dots onto 747s and getting them from Hong Kong to here as quickly as we possibly could.”