The high-performance far-field microphones found in Amazon Echo products may soon find their way to other hardware companies as Amazon has announced that the technology will be available to those who want to integrate into the Alexa Experience.
Amazon’s Alexa recently made its way over to the official Amazon app for iOS in a recent update. Bringing the assistant to mobile devices meant being able to order products using your voice or playing content purchased from Amazon’s catalog. Though Amazon’s assistant is stuck within the Amazon iOS app for now, it could mean that hardware makers will find a way to integrate it with software in the future. Imagine third-party hardware companies making third-party iOS apps that integrate further with Apple’s ecosystem.
According to Priya Abani, Director at Amazon Alexa, “With this new reference solution, developers can design products with the same unique 7-mic circular array, beamforming technology, and voice processing software that have made Amazon Echo so popular with customers. It’s never been easier for device makers to integrate Alexa and offer their customers world-class voice experiences.”
The new reference solution will be supported by chipset providers and will include:
- The same 7-microphone array found in Amazon Echo
- Amazon’s proprietary software for wake word recognition, beamforming, noise reduction, and echo cancellation
- Reference client software for local device control and communication with the Alexa Voice Service
The move to open the development kit comes ahead of rumors that Apple is working on its own Siri-speaker device. By using an invite-only program, Amazon can control the manufacturing partners they work with to better highlight Alexa’s advantages. This puts them at a competitive pace compared to Apple’s own Siri, which gained a limited SDK at WWDC 2016.
Commercial device manufacturers looking to get in on the Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit will have to go through the invite-only program.