Amazon is determined to get its Alexa voice assistant onto as many devices as possible.
Only one day after it announced that it had released tools for developers who want to add Alexa support to ovens and microwaves, Amazon has today announced (opens in new tab) that's it's working on a development kit aimed at bringing Alexa to "mobile accessories."
Sound familiar? We've already seen Alexa-powered wearables in the form of devices like the CoWatch, but this effort marks the first time that Amazon itself is handling the bulk of the code necessary for bringing the voice service to smaller devices. As such (or so we should hope), the service should be more stable than what we'd see from a third-party developer.
In some ways, though, Amazon's kit isn't quite as ambitious as what we saw in the CoWatch, considering that you'll need to have your device tethered to a smartphone in order for Alexa to work. The idea behind the kit is thus a little like what we see in the first generations of the Apple Watch, which need to be tethered to an iPhone.
You lose some convenience in the process, but it gets rid of a ton of technical hurdles and so frees developers to bring Alexa to comparatively inexpensive and lightweight devices.
In essence, all the watch, headphone set or fitness tracker would need to do is connect to the Alexa app on iOS or Android over a Bluetooth connection.
Unlike the oven and microwave kit — which is already available — Amazon's "mobile accessory" kit won't be open to a wide pool of developers until sometime later this year.
Even so, companies like Bose, Beyerdynamic, Jambra and iHome are reportedly already working on devices that will be compatible with the kit, so it's possible we'll see one of the resulting devices before 2019 rolls around.
- Check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which uses Google Assistant. It'll give you an idea of what's in store.