Just yesterday, Amazon announced that the Amazon Echo is now available to all, for $179. Since it was unveiled, we've heard a ton of great things about the Amazon Echo. It's basically a Bluetooth speaker that is mixed with Google Now. You can ask the Echo for sports scores, news, weather, and just about anything. The voice inside is what's called 'Alexa', and today Amazon has taken Alexa out and made it available to third-parties to use in their products, via the API.
"When we launched Amazon Echo we immediately heard from developers about the innovative voice experiences they would create if they had access to an SDK," said Greg Hart, Vice President, Amazon Echo and Alexa Voice Services. "Today, we're making the Alexa Skills Kit available to any developer, maker, or general hobbyist that wants to invent on behalf of customers, creating new skills and capabilities. We can't wait to see what developers are going to invent with this technology."
The Alexa Skills Kit (or ASK) is basically an SDK for developers to use Alexa in third-party products. There is also the Alexa Voice Service, which allows hardware developers to add Alexa to their Internet-of-Things devices, like Belkin's long line of WeMo devices. One of the cool examples that Amazon uses for using Alexa's Voice Service is a WiFi alarm clock that allows you to talk to Alexa. For example, you can ask how the weather is, or what was the score of last night's game, in case you missed it. Some pretty interesting ideas from Amazon.
The third announcement that Amazon made today was about the Alexa Fund. Which is "up to $100 million in investments to support developers, manufacturers, and start-ups of all sizes who are passionate about creating new experiences designed around the human voice." So as you can see, Amazon is really pushing Alexa and the Echo now, and we could easily see it in a ton of other products that are not made by Amazon, but likely sold on Amazon's site. You can check out all three full press releases from hitting the source link below. It's going to be a very interesting feature for the Amazon Echo and Alexa.