Announcing New Alexa Skills Kit Developer Tools to Help You Deliver Visuals on the Latest Echo Devices, More Languages, and Personalization
Leo Ohannesian Sep 25, 2019
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Today, we are excited to announce a brand new line-up of Alexa devices and new developer tools to accompany them. Now you can deliver skills in more places, build experiences for existing and new audiences, and reach more customers in their preferred languages. We continue to be amazed by the Alexa skill builder community – together, you have now published more than 100,000 skills that help customers engage with Alexa in new and exciting ways. Customer engagement with Alexa Skills is up more than 100% year over year, with triple-digit growth in categories like Productivity, Education & Reference, and Kids. We can’t wait to see what you build with these new devices and tools!

Our new Echo devices bring Alexa to new screens, into more rooms, and on the go, making it easier to offer Alexa skills to your customers wherever they are. Today's announcements include devices like:

  • Echo Show 8, the latest addition to the Echo Show family with a versatile 8 inch display, crisp sound, and HD camera
  • Echo Dot with clock, a new option for Echo Dot that includes an LED display that shows the time, outdoor temperature, timers and alarms
  • Echo Buds, wireless earbuds with Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology and handsfree access to Alexa for people on the go

Build Games with Web Technologies

Today, we’re announcing a new developer preview for Alexa Web API for Games. The Alexa Web API for Games (Preview) introduces new web technologies and tools to create visually rich and interactive voice-controlled game experiences. You’ll be able to build for multimodal devices using HTML and web technologies like Canvas 2D, WebAudio, WebGL, JavaScript, and CSS, starting with Echo Show devices and Fire TVs. Apply for the preview here.

Create New Multimodal Experiences That Reach More Customers

The Alexa Presentation Language (APL) is now generally available to visually enhance your skills on all existing and newly announced Amazon Echo devices. APL responsive components and templates make it easier to create visually appealing skills that can engage more customers. Now you can delight your customers with rich visuals made possible through animations and vector graphics. Using APL is easier than ever with drag and drop support in the authoring tool, enhanced templating, and support for the Alexa design system. See APL in action with published skills today: set a location and say "Alexa, ask Big Sky if it will rain in Seattle," then watch the animated icon on an Echo Show, background animation on a Fire TV, or see animated forecast information. You can also get ready for more APL features coming later this year including shadow effects, noise filters, and play and pause buttons on TV devices. Learn more about APL here.

Deliver Skills to More Customers and in Their Native Languages

Developers will be able to offer skills to more members of more households though expanded language support. In April, we announced that you could start building skills for Spanish-speaking customers in the US. We're excited to announce that starting in the coming weeks, Spanish skills can be published to the US Skills Store and made available to customers. You can use in-skill purchasing (ISP) capabilities with Spanish skills in the US and they are eligible to earn Alexa Developer Rewards.

In addition, in the coming weeks customers in multilingual households in Canada, US and India will be able to use Multilingual Mode to switch naturally between English/Spanish, English/French, and English/Hindi respectively. Alexa will respond with content and skills based on the customer’s invocation language, which means you can reach new customers by publishing your skills in these locales. Find out how to update your skills to support US Spanish, Hindi and Canadian French.

Personalize Your Alexa Experiences

Today, you can apply for a new developer preview of Alexa skills personalization, helping your skill incorporate Alexa voice profiles to provide a more individual experience on any Echo device without switching between accounts. For example, you could personalize a game based on who is playing, offer a customized exercise routine related to individual fitness goals, or provide relevant directions for a work commute. Customers can create voice profiles in the “Your Voice” section of the Alexa companion app. You can also combine this with the app-to-app account linking capability to help customers discover skills, link Alexa accounts, and deliver experiences unique to each voice. For example, an interactive fiction mobile app could easily connect to an Alexa account and then provide content unique to each requestor. A customer could search for a recipe on a mobile app, connect the app to their Alexa account, and then display pancake or soufflé recipes based on the breakfast cook’s preferences. Personalization can also cue your customers about who Alexa is speaking to. Learn more and apply for the preview here.

Related Content and Getting Started

For more resources and related recent releases please see the links below. We can’t wait to see what you build!