September 27, 2017David Isbitski
Today, Amazon made a series of device and developer tools announcements that greatly expands the opportunities for Alexa skills developers to reach a wider customer base than ever before. We unveiled the next generation of Echo devices: the all-new Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Spot. We also announced Echo Buttons, the first device in a new category of connected products and developer tools called Alexa Gadgets. Alexa Gadgets are powered by a new SDK and APIs that enable developers to create even more engaging Alexa skills.
Finally, we announced the all-new Fire TV featuring 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR), and Alexa Voice Remote. In parallel, we also announced that the Echo Show is coming soon to customers in UK, Germany, and Austria. All of these announcements represent great news for Alexa skills developers. Alexa is available on a broader range of devices than ever before, so your skills can now reach even more customers. Let’s take a look at the new devices and how you can take advantage of these opportunities as an Alexa skills developer.
With an all-new, smaller design, Echo fits easily into any room in the home while still delivering best-in-class far-field technology, room-filling sound, and all the features customers love about Alexa at a lower price.
Echo Plus has a built-in hub that seamlessly connects and controls compatible smart devices like light bulbs, door locks, switches, and plugs. Customers can use Echo Plus to switch on the lamp across the room, turn on the fan or heater, dim the lights from the couch, or lock the front door from their bedroom. Setting up new smart home devices has never been easier. Customers can simply say, “Alexa, find my devices,” and Alexa can control compatible smart home devices immediately.
In parallel with today’s announcement of the Echo Plus, we are releasing an update to the Alexa Smart Home Skill API and our certification processes to enable you to delight your customers with new smart home experiences. Check out our blog post to learn more about the updated Alexa Smart Home Skill API.
Today Amazon announced Echo Spot, the newest addition to the Echo family. Echo Spot delivers everything you love about Alexa in a compact design with the added convenience of a screen so Alexa can show you things. The all-new Echo Spot is available for pre-order and will begin shipping in time for the holidays. Developer tools will be launching soon. Please sign up here to be notified when the tools become available.
Alexa Gadgets, a new category of connected products and developer tools, enhance voice interactions with compatible Echo devices. Alexa Gadgets are powered by the Alexa Gadgets SDK and Gadgets Skill API, which enable developers to build products and experiences that turn a compatible Echo device into a hub for interactive play.
To demonstrate how these new tools can be used to create playful experiences, Amazon also announced the first Alexa Gadgets product: Echo Buttons. Echo Buttons deliver a new way for customers to play games with friends and family. To start, developers can build interactive game skills for Echo Buttons such as multiplayer trivia games, sequence and pattern matching games, and more. Developers in the US, UK, and Germany can sign up to be notified when the tools become available.
Faster and more powerful than the best-selling Fire TV Stick, the all-new Fire TV features a 4K Ultra HD and HDR streaming media experience with a portable form factor that fits behind your TV. Fire TV provides your app with the power it needs to perform its best and truly engage your customers. It’s smooth and responsive because it sports a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor attached to 2GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. Dual-band, 802.11ac Wi-Fi or optional Amazon Ethernet adapter provide your app with the bandwidth to ensure the best possible 4K experience.
Coming soon, Fire TV customers will be able to use their voice to rewind, fast forward, and access in-app content directly from the channels they love and control smart home-enabled lights, thermostats, and other compatible devices. Customers can also ask Alexa to play music, display camera feeds, check the weather, and more. Check out our blog post to learn more about all-new Fire TV.
Last month, we announced plans to enable customers to use their Fire TV to view live video feeds from compatible smart home cameras by simply saying, “Alexa, show my kitchen camera” to their Fire TV remote or paired Echo device. Starting today, the capability is available on all Fire TVs and second generation Fire TV sticks to customers in the US, UK and Germany.
No additional development work is required by developers who already support viewing on Echo Show with a smart home camera skill: customers can use the same skill to view video feeds on both Fire TV and Echo Show. Nevertheless, we encourage all smart home developers to update their skills to take advantage of improvements to the Smart Home Skill API announced today.
For more information on the next generation of Alexa-enabled devices and new features for developers, check out the following resources:
Got skills? Bring your big idea to life with the Alexa Skills Kit and earn perks through our new tiered rewards system. Publish a skill in September, and earn a pair of limited-edition Alexa dev socks. If 100 unique customers use your skill in its first 30 days in the Alexa Skills Store, you can also apply to receive a free Echo Dot featuring a limited-edition developer skin design. Learn more about our promotion and start building today.
Like similar devices at this stage in product development, Echo Buttons have not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. Echo Buttons are not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.