Alexa, the artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant, that powers devices like the Echo has already been made available by Amazon to third-parties. That’s why we saw Alexa in so many different products at the Consumer Electronics Show 2017 back in January. It’s now opening up the technology that’s crucial to its Echo devices. Amazon will provide the Echo’s voice recognition technology to third-party device manufacturers.
Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit will now be available for those third-party OEMs who are interested in making devices which will utilize this technology. Amazon is going to closely review applications from interested parties and is only going to provide access to those who it sees great potential in.
Amazon doesn’t seem to have a plan to charge the third-party OEMs that sign up to take advantage of its voice recognition technology which is a good thing. They won’t have to pay royalties to Amazon and subsequently that cost won’t be passed on to the customers.
Echo’s microphone array is great at picking up voice commands even in crowded rooms with a lot of noise. If that technology makes its way to other devices, it will be easier for them to work with Alexa as it would more or less be the entire Amazon Echo product just packaged in a different way.
It remains to be seen just how many third-party OEMs are granted access to the technology by Amazon.