Amazon Debuts Voice Service Device SDK For Alexa

August 17, 2017 - Written By Daniel Fuller

Amazon announced that it has created a new software development kit that helps device makers integrate Alexa into their system software. The new SDK makes Alexa integration simpler than ever, allowing device makers to get products with Alexa out to market faster and on a tighter budget. The SDK includes core libraries for Alexa compatibility, crafted in the popular and easy-to-port C++ language, along with code for accessing all of Alexa’s core functionalities such as voice recognition, speech output, and hooking into the cloud AI that powers the assistant. The SDK is available for free on GitHub, and even includes a sample application built for the Raspberry Pi which should be fairly easy to port to any ARM device, or into other architectures, with just a bit more work. Amazon even has a tutorial available to help developers get the SDK up and running on their test devices or virtual environments.

Amazon offered a developer preview during the SDK’s development cycle and worked closely with over 50 device makers who used the SDK in their consumer-facing product development during that time. The list included companies running the gamut from small startups all the way to bigger, more established names like Technicolor. Companies that used the SDK while it was in development generally praised its flexibility and ease of use, Amazon claims.

Amazon has been increasing its efforts to attract more developers to Alexa in recent times. This effort comes on the heels of an expansion of a program that allows Alexa Skill developers whose creations are popular among users to get some bonus cash from Amazon and even save on hosting through Amazon Web Services. Alexa began as an AI assistant but has morphed over time into a fully fledged platform. Amazon’s efforts to educate, attract, and retain developers of late reflects the company’s commitment to making Alexa a full-featured computing platform centered around cohesive voice controls and an intuitive interface. A key part of Amazon’s training for developers centers around creating an optimal experience with voice input and output, with particular emphasis on responsiveness, fresh content, utility, and engagement in customer-facing voice applications. What all of this essentially boils down to is that consumers can expect to see far more devices with Alexa integration in the near future, and those offerings will likely feature better voice-based software than those that came before them.