Amazon’s Alexa voice service made its debut with the company’s Echo line of smart speakers, but these days it’s also available on tablets, TVs, and other gadgets from Amazon and third-party companies.
That’s because Amazon has just introduced a new Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit, and the company says device makers including Bose, Beyderynamic, Jabra, iHome, and Linkplay are already developing products with it.
Amazon’s new kit lets companies add Alexa to just about any device with audio capabilities and Bluetooth wireless support. There’s a catch though: you’ll need to have the Alexa app installed on your Android or iOS phone to use Alexa on your headphones, smartwatch, or other mobile accessories.
That’s because the solution offloads a lot of the work to your phone. The upshot is that device makers don’t need to add complicated features to their earbuds or other gadgets. The down side is that you can’t use Alexa if you leave your phone at home.
Still, the move makes sense for Amazon. The company’s Echo line of products currently dominate the smart speaker space, but rivals Google and Apple have their own voice assistants that are baked into Android and iOS. There are also wearables and headphones that work with both Siri and Google Assistant.
Amazon hasn’t had as much success launching its own smartphones, so if the company wants you to use Alexa both at home and on the go, baking hands-free Alexa support into wearable devices could be a good way to tempt users into installing the Alexa apps on their phones.