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Amazon Echo tech now open to third-party manufacturers

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Amazon Echo

Just two days after opening up the Amazon Echo speaker to all customers, the firm is setting about making the ‘brain’ behind the tech as ubiquitous as possible.

The Alexa personal assistant, which handles, sources and responds to queries made by Echo owners over the cloud, is being opened up to third-party manufacturers.

Thanks to a new Amazon Voice Services API, developers can now include Alexa in any device they desire. Amazon is even creating a $100m Alexa fund to attract start ups and designers who might want to integrate the tech into their idea.

Amazon uses the potential example of a Wi-Fi alarm clock people can ask about the weather or items on their calendar.

On a much grander scale, Amazon envisions a car with an Alexa button, which would enable drivers to issue commands like “read my book” or “remind me to pick up flowers after work.”

The potential use cases also stretch to automated ticketing machines where moviegoers could say “buy six tickets for the next showing of Jurassic World.”

Related: 5 Amazon announcements that took us by surprise

As well as opening up Alexa to third-party manufacturers, Amazon is also making it easier for developers to create “new voice-driven skills and capabilities” for Alexa via the new Alexa Skills Kit.

Amazon points out that a “fitness service can enable Alexa to access a user's workout history, so a customer can say "Alexa, ask My Fitness how many miles I have run this week.””

All-in-all Amazon seems to be set on Alexa permeating all manner of devices, while allowing all developers to benefit from it in one way, shape or form. Could it boldly go where Siri and Cortana cannot?

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