Alexa has become an increasingly natural part of our daily routines. The voice service makes customers’ lives more convenient, more productive, and more entertaining. This is especially true in the home, where Alexa got her start through integrations with speakers, appliances, TVs, and other smart devices. We also want to make Alexa available to customers who are on the move, so we’re making it easier for device makers to build Alexa into the devices made for on-the-go experiences.
Today, Amazon announced the general availability of the Alexa Mobile Accessory (AMA) Kit. The AMA protocol is the key technology that powers on-the-go Alexa experiences on headphones, headsets, and other Bluetooth (BT) devices. With Alexa integrated into their BT device, customers can enjoy convenient access to their favorite Alexa features and capabilities on the go: music, news and information, smart home controls, and tens of thousands of Alexa Skills.
The Benefits of AMA
AMA defines a custom protocol for transmitting Alexa audio data and control signals over BT and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), and enables the BT device to communicate with the Amazon Alexa App on an Android or iOS smartphone. AMA provides a standard for communicating with the Amazon Alexa App, enabling device makers to build Alexa into Bluetooth accessories connected to Android and iOS devices by seamlessly pairing with the Amazon Alexa App.
The AMA protocol offers important advantages for both device makers and their customers.
For device makers, there is no need to develop and maintain a custom Alexa app. By leveraging the Amazon Alexa App that is readily available for Android and iOS, device makers accelerate product development, software integration, and testing time, while reducing product support costs. After launch, their products are automatically updated to include new Alexa features and functionality when they arrive in the Amazon Alexa App.
For customers, AMA simplifies and expands the Alexa experience on portable BT devices. To get started with Alexa on a compatible device, all they need to do is pair the device, install the Amazon Alexa App for Android or iOS, and perform a quick one-time setup. This ensures a consistent experience across AMA-enabled BT accessories.
How AMA Works
Three primary components in the AMA system architecture work together to deliver a seamless Alexa experience:
- OEM Bluetooth Accessory: The AMA-enabled accessory serves as the audio input and output interface for the user, performs the audio signal processing and encoding/decoding, manages the BT connection to the smartphone, and transmits Alexa audio and control messages with the Amazon Alexa App.
- Amazon Alexa App: In addition to interfacing with the BT accessory, the Amazon Alexa App on an iOS or Android device establishes communication with the Alexa Voice Service, sends and receives audio and directives, and handles events.
- OEM Companion App: The Companion App is provided by the OEM and is used for the first-time BLE pairing between the accessory and the user’s smart phone. The app is also responsible for maintaining profiles if necessary, managing any device-specific settings, and managing Over-the-Air (OTA) updates of the accessory firmware.
Start Developing with the AMA Kit
To start developing with AMA, visit the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit Overview page on the Amazon Developer Portal. You’ll find information on system requirements, user experience and functional guidelines, and pointers on how to access the technical documentation and development tools.
Introducing the Qualcomm Smart Headset Reference Design for Amazon AVS
For developers designing new Alexa-enabled accessories, the AMA protocol is supported by Qualcomm, in their Smart Headset Reference Design for Amazon AVS, the first reference design qualified by Amazon specifically for headset devices. The Qualcomm Smart Headset Reference Design and the associated Smart Headset Development Kit deliver a production-ready implementation of AMA in a comprehensive hardware and software toolset, supporting the device maker from initial evaluation, to product design, and through development.
Read more about the Qualcomm Smart Headset Reference Design for Amazon AVS on our Developer Portal.
“The Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit enables device makers to build Alexa into new form factors with minimum investment in hardware or integration effort,” said Priya Abani, director, Amazon Alexa. “This solution is made even more robust with the support for AMA through Qualcomm’s reference designs, as well as multiple systems integrators with AMA solutions already qualified by Amazon. Bose and Sony have used AMA to create incredible products with Alexa built-in, and we can’t wait to see more delightful Alexa experiences enabled by AMA.”
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