Understand the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit

The Alexa Gadgets Toolkit enables you to build your own Alexa Gadget. An Alexa Gadget is an Alexa-connected accessory that interacts with compatible Amazon Echo devices over Bluetooth. By using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, your Alexa Gadget can:

  • Receive speechmark data, which enables the gadget to synchronize to Alexa's text-to-speech (TTS) in real time.
  • React to notifications that are sent to the Echo device that the Alexa Gadget is connected to.
  • Be alerted when timers, alarms, and reminders on the Echo device are set or cleared.
  • Be notified when the Echo device detects the wake word from the user.

This topic provides an overview of the interfaces that Alexa Gadgets use to communicate with a compatible Echo device.

We hereafter refer to Alexa Gadgets as simply gadgets.

How Gadgets Interact With Alexa

Instead of communicating with Alexa directly, gadgets interact with Alexa through a compatible Echo device over Bluetooth. Gadgets use the directives and events defined by the Alexa Gadgets interfaces to exchange information with the Echo device. The Echo device handles all communications with Alexa.

The following figure shows how a gadget interacts with an Echo device, and where the Alexa Gadgets interfaces fit in.

Overview of the Alexa Gadgets interfaces

The following steps describe the communication flow between a gadget, an Echo device, the Alexa service, and a skill:

  1. Bluetooth pairing – The gadget and the Echo device connect over Bluetooth as follows:
    • The user puts the gadget in Bluetooth pairing mode, and then activates pairing mode on the Echo device. To activate pairing mode on an Echo device without a screen, the user uses the Alexa app. If the Echo device has a touchscreen, the user initiates pairing by selecting an option on the screen.
    • The Echo device searches for a gadget to pair with. If the pairing is successful, the gadget and the Echo device connect over Bluetooth.
  2. Information flow – From then on, the gadget and the Echo device communicate as follows:
    • Gadget to Echo device – The gadget sends events to the Echo device. The Echo device forwards the events to the Alexa service.
    • Echo device to gadget – The Echo device sends directives from itself or from the Alexa service to the gadget.

Which Echo Devices Support Gadgets

The following Echo devices support gadgets:

  • Echo (1st and 2nd generation)
  • Echo Plus
  • Echo Dot (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generation)
  • Echo Show (1st and 2nd generation)
  • Echo Spot

Before You Get Started

Before you create a gadget, keep the following in mind:

  • Locales – You may only distribute, sell, or market for sale Alexa Gadgets in the following territories:
    • United States
    • United Kingdom
    • Germany
  • Bluetooth connections – The Echo Dot and Echo Spot only support up to three Bluetooth connections. If you encounter challenges when pairing your gadget, ensure that the Echo device has enough Bluetooth connections available.
  • Firmware version – Ensure that your Echo device has the following or higher firmware version:
    • Echo (1st gen), Echo Dot (1st gen) – 618566920
    • Echo (2nd gen), Echo Plus, Echo Dot (2nd gen) – 618571520
    • Echo Dot (3rd gen) – 1761
    • Echo Show (1st and 2nd gen), Echo Spot – 625533420
  • Pairing and connectivity status – To validate whether your gadget is successfully paired to an Echo device, do the following:
    • Echo devices without a screen – Go to Alexa Devices > [Echo device] > Bluetooth Devices in the Alexa app.
    • Echo devices with a screen – Go to Settings > Bluetooth Devices on the screen of the Echo device.

About This Documentation

This documentation covers:

This documentation does not cover:

  • How to create a skill for your gadget – However, you can create a skill for one type of gadget, Echo Buttons, by using the Gadgets Skill API.