One of the key selling points for Amazon Echo is Alexa, a cloud-based digital assistant that can do everything from checking the weather to looking up a fact on Wikipedia with a simple voice command. Until now she’s been confined to the device itself, but that’s about to change.
Amazon announced a new program called Alexa Voice Service (AVS) on Thursday, opening up its software to third-party devices. That means any gadget with a microphone could come with Alexa pre-installed and ready to carry out your commands, so long as the device makers take advantage of the tools.
AVS already has two hardware partners lined up at launch. There’s Wink, a smart home hub, along with a connected home security system from Scout Alarm. Amazon also set up a $100 million fund to support interested developers, manufacturers and startups.
Moving forward we could see Alexa showing up almost anywhere. For example, imagine if your fridge could take commands and even offer a direct line to Amazon’s online store. Of course, as Amazon expands into the smart home market it will run into competition from Google, Apple and others, but the retail giant has plenty of money to back up its latest efforts.