Amazon’s digital assistant is branching out. In a January 5 announcement, Microsoft revealed a new developer kit aimed to help device manufacturers integrate Alexa’s functions into their wearable devices, which will essentially create a new, mobile version of the popular digital assistant.
For years, Amazon seemed to be content in restricting Alexa as s speaker-based digital assistant. It was a smart move then as, obviously, it is a lot easier to interact with the AI via voice command and receive its response in audio as well. However, the tech giant concluded that restricting it to a speaker-based functionality is also limiting its market reach. Thus, Amazon introduced a host of Alexa compatible electronics such as the Amazon Fire TV, Ecobee4 Smart Thermostat, and even the Ecobee Smart Light Switch.
But apparently, even connecting all devices in your home is not enough for the very helpful Alexa. Now, Amazon is targeting a host of devices that people, especially the fit and wellness crowd, usually take with them even when going out just for a stroll—their wearables.
On Friday, Amazon announced a new set of developer tools called the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit. As described by the company, the new kit is “a new way to bring Alexa to portable, on-the-go devices such as wearables, headphones, smart watches, fitness devices, and more.”
— Android on TV (@androidontv) January 8, 2018
Actually, the kit is already being used by a handful of businesses that already have various kinds of partnerships with Amazon. These include Bose, Jabra, iHome, Linkplay, Sugr, Librewireless, Beyerdynamic, Bowers, and Wilkins. With the kit now available to a broader set of device makers and solutions providers, it may hasten the development of new Alexa compatible mobile devices.
Bose, for instance, is already laying down plans to test, design and build solutions which will be powered by Alexa’s AI. According to Bose Director of Product Management Brian Maguire, “Bose is excited to add a remarkable new Alexa experience for our customers. Accessing Alexa’s music, information, and a vast number of skills on our headphones will become easier than ever, and we’re looking forward to bringing our collaboration to life.”
For device manufacturers such as Bose, Amazon’s offer to use Alexa in bringing AI to their devices is indeed an attractive offer. Since Bose does not have a digital assistant division of its own, using Alexa’s features will increase the competitiveness of its Bluetooth speakers against similar AI-powered offerings such as the Apple AirPods and Google Pixel Buds.[Featured image via Pixabay]