Intel and Amazon team up to help developers build Alexa devices

We could be seeing more voice-controlled gadgets next year.

Bloomberg via Getty Images

At this week's Amazon Web Services conference re:Invent, the online retailer revealed two smart home initiatives that are getting a big hand from Intel. First, Intel built a reference design for a smart speaker that employs the Alexa virtual assistant to help with tasks. The device is meant to encourage other companies to make their own gadgets with Amazon's voice tech and the Intel platform. Developers and manufacturers will be able to get their hands on the reference device during the first quarter of 2017.

Second, Intel brought Alexa voice controls to its Smart Home Hub, including wrangling smart devices, asking questions and more. In other words, Intel is helping developers build connected home products that can be controlled primarily through voice commands in addition to your phone, computer or tablet. Alexa already has some smart home skills through Echo, like controlling Logitech's Harmony Hub. The virtual assistant also went to work on LG's SmarThinQ hub, but it doesn't help with any household tech there.

"With voice as the central interface, customers have an even more natural way to manage the hundreds of tasks they experience every day," said Alex content marketing manager Ted Karczewski in a blog post.

Intel making a bigger push into the smart home is no surprise. Earlier this year, the company formed an alliance with Microsoft and Samsung to help all of that connected gear in your house talk to each other. Intel also announced a new chip for the IoT industry back in October, following years of investment in the area and its own platform for the smart devices.