Now you can design and manufacture your own Alexa. Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN) released the 7-Mic Far-Field Dev Kit today to enable device makers to integrate its popular voice assistant into their hardware. The kit essentially outsources the technology behind Alexa to hardware manufacturers. This includes Alexa's circular array, acoustic echo cancelation and wake-word recognition (or the ability to respond to a specific keyword). It also means that manufacturers can have their device perform the same functions as Amazon's voice assistant.
"Since the introduction of Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, device makers have been asking us to provide the technology and tools to enable a far-field Alexa experience for their products," Priya Abani, director of Amazon Alexa, told Geekwire in a statement, adding that Amazon's announcement today makes it "easier for device makers to integrate Alexa and offer their customers world-class voice experiences." (See also: Alexa, Who Won CES This Year?)
Amazon's move is part of a larger game plan wherein its speakers are integrated in multiple devices and industries. It opened up Alexa's Application Programming Interface (the program that enables other applications to connect with it) last year to boost its skill sets. This past February, the company created fellowships at major research universities, such as John Hopkins, to promote research into Alexa's algorithms to broaden their reach. Already, major brands such as General Electric Company (GE) have designed products that feature the speaker. (See also: Amazon Funds Fellowships to Boost Alexa's Skills.)
More Alexa devices will help Amazon mop up additional data regarding user habits and choices. In turn, this will enable the company to serve up products customized for the user. The Seattle-based company has stolen a march over rivals, such as Alphabet Inc. (GOOG) subsidiary Google and Samsung Electronics Ltd. (SSNLF), which have released similar speakers. According to the latest estimates, Amazon has sold 8.2 million Alexa devices so far. (See also: Amazon Has Sold 8.2 Million Speakers, So Far.)