Alexa could live in headphones, wearables thanks to new developer kit
The next frontier for Amazon's Alexa may be the devices you keep on your person most of the time. Amazon announced the new Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit today, which will allow manufacturers to more easily integrate the company's voice assistant into headphones, smartwatches, fitness trackers, and other small devices. The kit is currently in developer preview and partner companies including Bose, Jabra, and iHome are already testing it out.
The developer kit lessens the development load that manufacturers have to take on when making an Alexa-friendly accessory. Instead of using all of the code necessary to build Alexa into a device like a home speaker, manufacturers rely on only some of the code as well as Bluetooth connectivity to the Alexa mobile app. Headphones, wearables, and other Bluetooth-audio capable devices made with the Mobile Accessory Kit can connect to the Alexa mobile app on the device with which they are paired and access the Alexa Voice Service from the app.
That means users can speak to these accessories, asking Alexa to perform various tasks like stream media, control smart home devices, and provide news and weather updates. Amazon also claims users can call upon Alexa "without worrying about Wi-Fi connectivity," but Alexa will require connection to access certain skills and pieces of information. In those cases, the Alexa app would use the device's LTE data.