Alexa can now be easily built into Bluetooth devices by any manufacturer, Amazon has revealed.
Via a blog post, Amazon announced that all of Alexa’s abilities would be easily implemented by device makers through the use of the Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Kit.
The AMA Kit was first released in January of this year, providing device makers with a simple way to connect a Bluetooth enabled product to the Amazon Alexa app, letting Alexa’s audio and your control signals pass back and forth between the two.
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Some companies have already been figuring out how to work Alexa into their tech. Sony announced in August that its wireless headphones and soundbars would become compatible by winter 2018. Others have already achieved this, such as Bose with its QuietComfort 35 headphones, Jabra’s 65T Elite earbuds, any of Fitbit’s products (providing you have the right skill installed on Alexa), or Bragi-made earbuds, once you’ve done some setting up in Bragi’s own app.
But the extra time workload and costs required to do this alone does not make the custom route an option for all brands, especially if they are small or newly launched. Having Amazon take up the bulk of the work through this kit, therefore reducing development time and costs, will be a welcome reprieve for these kinds of companies wanting to add compatibility. With the help of Qualcomm, Amazon has produced a reference pair of headphones, to aid manufacturers in developing or improving designs to meet the AMA Kit’s specifications.
This applies both initially and in future, as linking it to the Alexa app rather than a custom solution also means that any updates to Alexa are automatically integrated. With less work to do in order to add a feature that will no doubt be popular with a large group of customers, it’s an appealing option to anyone making headphones, smart watches or any other device connecting to a smartphone or tablet.
Users of the device are promised just as easy a time setting up their kit to work with Alexa: download the app, and do a short set-up with the paired device. Now with the potential for full mobility, Alexa can begin to compete more effectively with Apple’s Siri and Google Assistant, who already had these abilities thanks to their creators’ efforts in building the operating systems that contained them.