You can already get Alexa in phones, speakers, and a few accessories. Amazon wants more, though. The handful of Alexa-powered accessories on the market were developed with standalone smart features, but that’s tough to do. Now, Amazon is looking to strengthen Alexa’s position by making it easier to get the virtual assistant integrated with accessories like headphones, smartwatches, and more. These devices will, however, require a phone connection.
The Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit allows OEMs to plug Alexa into smart devices that connect over Bluetooth—for example, a fitness tracker or wireless headphones. These devices pair with the Alexa app on the phone to take advantage of Alexa Voice Service, so the accessory itself isn’t running Alexa. This is an alternative to the AVS Device SDK that Amazon released last year. That SDK required the accessories to run the Alexa Voice Service natively, but the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit is an easier, more lightweight solution.
Connecting an accessory via the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit gives you access to all the standard Alexa features and skills. You can ask general questions, control smart home devices, stream music, and so on. While it relies on your phone and the Alexa app, this approach is probably going to be much more popular with OEMs than the old AVS SDK. Interested parties can sign up to be notified when the dev tools are available.