Amazon has fired another salvo in the virtual assistant wars by opening up access to the far-field voice recognition technology found in its Echo smart speakers so that third-party manufacturers can make their own versions (via BBC).

The move comes as Amazon attempts to spread the use of its Alexa virtual assistant across a wide range of connected products and take ownership of a larger portion of the growing smart devices market. Google announced its branded Home smart speaker in November, while Apple is also rumored to be planning a similar Siri-enabled device this year.

FamilyShot centered
The initially invite-only access to the technology via the Alexa Voice Service program will give manufacturers the right to replicate the Echo's seven-microphone array that allows the speakers to hear a voice command from across the room.

The access also means third-party developers can use the proprietary algorithms used for wake-word recognition, which focus the array on the owner's voice and filter out echoes and other noises. Developers will be provided with a reference kit as a starting point for their own designs, and the freedom to source components from a range of parts manufacturers.

"Our vision is for Alexa to be everywhere, and that means making it available to other companies and services to integrate into a wide range of devices," said an Amazon spokesperson.

"We expect Alexa to be in many devices over time, including products that compete with Echo, which is why we're investing in making a wide range of hands-free and far-field reference solutions available to OEMs [original equipment manufacturers]."

Amazon's rollout of Alexa has gained steam ever since CES 2017 in January, when the virtual assistant cropped up in a range of products including third-party smart speakers, cars, TVs, lamps, and even refrigerators.

In February Amazon announced it was extending third-party support for its Alexa Voice Service (AVS) internationally, and last month it added its Siri competitor to the company's iOS app, allowing users to search Amazon, track orders, play music, and start audio books from Audible.

Top Rated Comments

Kabeyun Avatar
72 months ago
I like a lot of Apple stuff, but my experience is that Siri is nearly useless. It boggles my mind how they're pushing it everywhere before it actually works. Siri fails both on the input end (you can't even recognize one of my established contacts?) and on the output end (how about finding the accurate location near me rather than the similar-sounding one across the country in Nevada? And maybe answer my question instead of referring me to the Web). AI has moved beyond setting a timer ('https://youtu.be/_brGtcrcM9w'), and it seems like Apple is being handily beaten while they keep doubling down on a crappy feature which is training me not to use it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macs4nw Avatar
72 months ago
Smart, strategic, pre-emptive move by Amazon. Third-party participation should give Alexa and the Echo a big boost.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
72 months ago
I don't want an always on microphone in my place, disabled siri on my iPhone.
What does it add, I prefer privacy over convenience.
I keep seeing people come onto public internet forums for tell us all how much you value their privacy. I'll wager most have Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Whatsapp account(s) and surf without using a VPN or cookie blockers.

Personally I love the convenience of Alexa, comfortable that I as only a single anonymised source of data, am not that interesting.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
justperry Avatar
72 months ago
I don't want an always on microphone in my place, disabled siri on my iPhone.
What does it add, I prefer privacy over convenience.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrGimper Avatar
72 months ago
Great smart move. Even before this you could run Alexa on a Pi, and this just opens it up more.

Personally, I think Siri is a bigger fail than Apple Maps... at least they've sorted that out over time.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nunyabinez Avatar
71 months ago
The Urban Dictionary first result:
"Lone wolf is a term commanly used by many people. It means that they used to belong to a group and left to become stronger."

In response to the above posts, I too value privacy over convenience. Although I have gmail, outlook, icloud email, facebook, i have facebook deactivated. I also run my own linux email server, i have my own vpn, i use encryption, i turn off location privilages, i removed webcams and mics from my iphone SE. if it breaks and apple only sells unibody iphones, i will stop buying iphones. i dont use skype, hangouts, apple messages, apple pay, uber, very little amazon: mostly for software, i dont use windows 10 or os x.

The people I know that own these, in my honest experience, they all vote democrat in every election, they live in california and denver and honestly claim to spend like $20,000 on uber. They were all really confused when trump won. i expected him to.

I dont plan to ever use one of these devices. besides, every time i see someone try to call their local pizza place through siri, it takes like 2-3 tries.

i could find it on google faster if i wanted, but i already have the number memorized.

I find it in rather poor taste that people like satya nadella got paid 18 million just for 2016s compensation, while most people float around the poverty line. I havent seen anything innovative come out from silicon valley in over a decade. But i get how the game works.
It's a good thing that you do and don't do all of that. I don't use a vpn, have Facebook, use Google, Windows 10 and MacOS.

Your diligence has prevented you from having all the horrible things happen to you that have happened to me. Oh...wait...
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
maxresdefault

Apple Responds to Video Testing Crash Detection Feature With Junkyard Vehicles

Friday September 30, 2022 9:11 am PDT by
The Wall Street Journal's Joanna Stern recently traveled to Michigan to test Apple's new crash detection feature on the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Ultra. In response, Apple provided some additional information about how the feature works. Stern recruited Michael Barabe to crash his demolition derby car with a heavy-duty steel frame into two unoccupied vehicles parked in a junkyard — a 2003...
Hero0005

Best Apple Deals of the Week: M2 MacBook Air Hits New All-Time Low Price at $1,049, Plus Sales on AirPods Pro and More

Friday September 30, 2022 9:05 am PDT by
This week's best Apple deals focus on the AirPods Pro, AirPods Pro 2, and M2 MacBook Air, including numerous all-time low prices on these devices. You'll also find up to 50 percent off discounts on Anker and Eufy accessories on Amazon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
iOS 16 Wallpaper Spectrum Feature

Five Wallpaper Apps to Check Out for iOS 16's New Lock Screen Depth Effect

Thursday September 29, 2022 9:08 am PDT by
One of the biggest new features in iOS 16 is a completely redesigned iPhone Lock Screen. The new Lock Screen is entirely customizable, letting you change the colors and fonts, add widgets and new wallpapers, and more to make your iPhone uniquely yours. Of course, even before iOS 16, you could customize your Lock Screen with a wallpaper of your choice. iOS 16 takes the Lock Screen wallpaper...
top stories 1oct2022

Top Stories: Stage Manager Expands to Older iPad Pro Models, No October Apple Event?

Saturday October 1, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
While we had been expecting a follow-up October Apple event focused on Mac and iPad announcements, it sounds like we might not be getting another event after all. Instead, the pending updates in those product segments could be considered minor enough that they may be announced via press releases. It wasn't all bad news, however, with Apple announcing that it will be expanding an on-device...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
dynamic island alan dye

Apple Executives Talk About iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island in New Interview

Sunday October 2, 2022 10:48 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, and Apple's vice president of human interface design, Alan Dye, sat down to discuss the thinking behind the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island and how it was developed. During the interview with the Japanese magazine Axis, Federighi, who oversees the development of iOS, said Dynamic Island represents the...