Amazon released the Alexa Appkit last month in hopes that developers will create cool new features for the voice technology that powers the Echo. This time, the e-commerce giant is offering the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) itself as a developer preview, which both hobbyists and legit hardware manufacturers can integrate into their own connected devices. The best part is the company's allowing the use of its technology for free. "By adding Alexa to your device, your users can request and receive information in the same way they would from an Amazon Echo," the company's Getting Started Guide reads. That means devices loaded with Alexa will also be able to answer questions about the weather and look up stuff or the traffic conditions online.The devices' users, according to Amazon, will be able to:
- Ask their device all kinds of questions, like math problems or facts about famous people, dates and places
- Stay informed on the news with Flash Briefing, a customizable news feed that includes podcasts and headlines from sources like ABC News, Good Morning America, Fox Sports and more...
- Play and buy music by artist, song, album or genre from Amazon Music
- Explore Prime Music, which provides unlimited, ad-free access to over a million songs, hundreds of playlists and personalized stations – free with Amazon Prime
- Enjoy podcasts, music and live radio from iHeartRadio
- Listen to audiobooks from Audible using their Audible or Kindle Unlimited subscription
- Add items to their To-Do and Shopping lists
- Get traffic updates for their daily commute
- Check the weather in their home town or in other locations around the world
- Access millions of Wikipedia articles
- Check appointments or weekend plans in Google Calendar
- Listen to jokes
- Play Simon Says
- Hunt for fun Easter Eggs, like "Alexa, I am your father"
- Set voice triggers for recipes created in If This Then That (IFTTT)
- Access new capabilities that you and other developers create using the Alexa Skills Kit
- Use the free Alexa companion app (available on Fire OS, Android, iOS and desktop browsers)
We doubt an Alexa-powered internet-connected gadget other than the Echo will pop up for sale soon, since this is just a developer preview and all, but we'll keep an eye out for you all. To note, the voice assistant has been getting great reviews, and even our senior editor who reviewed the Echo ended up falling in love with her for her amazing capability to understand natural language.