Amazon Echo Gets a Developer SDK and $100M USD Alexa Fund; Going to Third Party Devices & More


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Dec 30, 2010
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It looks like Amazon is taking their Echo device to the next level, both figuratively and literally. They just announced their new developer SDK program called Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). It basically allows developers to develop apps for the Amazon Echo, but it goes a step further as well. Developers aren't limited to developing apps only for the Amazon Echo device. Amazon's ASK will let developers port Alexa Voice Service (AVS) activation to other devices and develop her capabilities for them as well. This includes new features and capabilities for Alexa and even lets developers improve her voice recognition engine, text-to-speech, natural language understanding, and/or automatic speech recognition.

That's not all, Amazon also announced a $100 Million dollar program that is designed to help fund development of ASK to get the development of Alexa off the ground. The $100 Million dollars is called the Alexa Fund, and will be earmarked to help compensate developers for coming up with cutting edge innovation with ASK. A number of companies are already on board the program including Scout Alarm (modular home security system), Garageio (garage door controller developer), Toymail (toy company), Orange Chef (countertop smart scale), Mojio (connected car dongle), and more.

Amazon claims that it only requires a few lines of code (along with their cloud service) to add support for third-party services to the Echo itself. They also indicated that as long the device you are developing for includes a microphone, an internet connection, and a speaker you can develop Alexa to work on it with only a minor amount of code.

With the dramatic push that Amazon is making with this technology, we can expect Alexa to show up in more than just a connected home. It's probable we will start seeing the Alexa technology appear in cars, TVs, vending machines and much more, allowing voice activation for a number of different tasks rarely imagined.

As fans of the Amazon Echo her at HQ, we are excited to see just how far Amazon and third party developers can take the impressive voice activation technology. It looks like Google, Apple and Microsoft have a new and very serious competitor in the voice activated assistant world. We now have a race to see which AI will evolve sentience first! :D

Don't forget to drop by our dedicated Amazon Echo section for further discussion: Amazon Echo Android Forum at

Source: Amazon
Now we're talking! If this pans out, it'll be more like what I'd want to see out of the echo device(s). Forget having that nice speaker in one room of the house and nothing else.

Get the right devices in the right rooms and suddenly the idea is more of a concept I can get behind. Alarm clock in the bedroom, "Alexa" in the living room, smart TV in the basement, Fridge/Microwave in the kitchen...