Yesterday I started seeing reports that the Amazon shopping app was rolling out an update introducing the Alexa service and allowing you to have similar functionality that you have with your Echo.
If you are a skills developer (or just registered on the Amazon Developer portal) you may have recently received an email from Amazon advising that you have received $100 in credits for the AWS service. This isn't a one-off piece of generosity from Amazon. It is actually much more.
Earlier in the year at CES, several car manufacturers announced that they would be integrating Alexa into new models of their vehicles. This was great in that it was the first steps of taking Alexa out of the home. The problem being of course that to take advantage of Alexa you would have been required to purchase a new car.
Amazon has announced a new webinar for those interested in developing devices that implement the Amazon Voice Service (AVS). AVS allows device manufacturers and tinkerers to utilize Alexa and voice commands on their hardware.
The webinar aims to assist people with the following:
Google has finally confirmed roughly when the Google Home will be released in the UK. During an interview with the BBC at the Mobile World Conference, Google's Rick Osterloh confirmed that Google's home assistant would be released by the end of June.
Up until now if you wished to control a smart lock you would have needed to first initiate a skill and call the command within the skill however now the Smart Home Skills API has been extended to introduce the following intents:
I completely missed this after the original announcement however Amazon have announced a new Skills contest. This time the contest is in partnership with Dev Post.
The contest is extremely open and any type of skill can be submitted providing the skill is unique. The overall prize value for this contest is a whopping $40,000.
Today Amazon suffered a major failure on 1 of their online services. The S3 services in the US-East1 (North Virginia) became unresponsive. The outage lasted several hours and impacted some quite large names.
The Amazon Alexa team recently posted on the Alexa blog. The Amazon Echo was initially released on November 6th, 2014 to Prime members (and June 23rd, 2015 for non-Prime users). To have achieved sp many skills in such a short period of time is made even more impressive by the fact that skill developers currently cannot monetize their skill.
1 much-requested feature for Alexa was the ability to use Office 365 calendars. In today's Amazon Echo newsletter they mentioned that support has been added for @outlook.com, @live.co.uk, @hotmail.com, @hotmail.co.uk and @live.com calendars. Of course, an office 365 account does not end in any of these but I thought I would give it a try regardless. To my delight, it worked.