Amazon Bringing Alexa To Smartwatches & Headphones In 2018

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Amazon is planning to bring Alexa to smartwatches, fitness trackers, headphones, and many other wearables over the course of this year, the tech giant said Friday. The company's artificial intelligence companion will be integrated into more portable products with the help of the newly announced Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit that should facilitate the process of creating Alexa-enabled wearables. Developers who opt to use Amazon's new tools will be able to implement its digital helper into their offerings and allow them to directly communicate with the Alexa Voice Service through the AI assistant's mobile app for Android and iOS devices. While the development kit doesn't introduce any new features, the fact that it streamlines the creation of Alexa-compatible hardware should help the service expand to many more products in the coming months, or at least that's what Amazon is hoping will happen.

The main requirement for devices seeking to take advantage of the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit is that they have both Bluetooth and audio capabilities, Amazon said, suggesting the newly introduced tools are primarily focused on hands-free experiences. Developers interested in adopting the kit are able to sign up for notifications about the service by referring to the banner below. No specific availability windows have yet been provided by the Seattle, Washington-based firm, though more details on the matter may follow in late winter when MWC 2018 is scheduled to take place. The arrival of yet another set of Alexa-focused dev tools doesn't affect similar solutions like the AVS Device SDK which Amazon already debuted last year and developers interested in creating products and services compatible with the assistant are still able to do so using all means the company previously provided to them.

The new announcement is part of Amazon's wider push to expand Alexa's presence going forward, with its efforts to do so being aggressive to the point that it actually willingly lost money on Echo speaker sales over the last holiday period, according to some estimates. Despite the fact that Alexa is already the leading consumer-facing AI companion in the United States, Amazon is still in the early stages of its development and remains dedicated to growing the ecosystem at the expense of profits. While the company was recently reported to be considering introducing more advertising to Alexa's shopping-related searches in 2018, it already denied such reports and doesn't appear to be preparing for any major monetization attempts in the near term.

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