Amazon Opens Alexa To All Bluetooth Headphones
Amazon has announced that they are opening up their voice assistant, Alexa, to all manufacturers of Bluetooth headphones, smartwatches, and other devices, according to a company blog post.
In the blog post, Amazon announces that it has made the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit tool widely available to developers, this software development kit was announced back in January, and companies including Bose, Jabra and iHome have already committed to using it in their devices.
Now, this tool will be open to not only other headphones, but it will support smartwatches, portable Bluetooth speakers, and more traditional headsets.
Qualcomm also released a smart headset with an Alexa reference design to help developers get started.
The tool enables devices to communicate with a phone’s Alexa app without requiring the device makers to build an app or Alexa skill of their own to help this happen.
By providing this easier way to include a voice assistant in devices, Amazon is attempting to one-up voice assistant rivals like Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google Assistant and in addition, put Alexa everywhere — including microwaves.
“For device makers, there is no need to develop and maintain a custom Alexa app. By leveraging the Amazon Alexa App that is readily available for Android and iOS, device makers accelerate product development, software integration, and testing time, while reducing product support costs,” explains Alfred Woo, a principal product manager for Alexa Voice Services.
“After launch, their products are automatically updated to include new Alexa features and functionality when they arrive in the Amazon Alexa App.”
Developers can acquire Qualcomm’s US$299 reference design prototype to begin experimenting with the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit now.
It will most likely be a while before we see products integrated with Alexa in this way, but with CES 2019 coming up, we should expect many more Bluetooth devices with Alexa support at launch or in the future.