Amazon makes it easier to bring different kinds of silicon to Alexa devices | GeekComparison

Amazon makes it easier to bring different kinds of silicon to Alexa devices

Alexa walks around. The voice assistant is in all kinds of devices, not just Amazon’s Echo products. You can talk to Alexa in a coffee maker, take him on a trip, spend the holidays together, and even let him feed your pet. But many of those products — at least the ones made from 2019 — have the same core hardware and silicon. Through a software development kit (SDK) announced by Amazon this week, businesses will still be able to leverage Amazon’s cloud services, Alexa apps and skills while having more freedom over the hardware used to deliver those services. to deliver.

In 2019, Amazon launched Alexa Connect Kit (ACK), which allowed tech brands to use ACK modules, or, as Amazon explains it, “an Amazon-managed system-on-module” integrated into the Alexa device. It runs firmware that enables communication between the product and ACK managed services, which come from Amazon Web Services’ IoT activities.

Before this week’s announcement, the hardware was either a Mediatek WM-BN-MT-52 chipset with an Arm Cortex-M4 processor and MT7697H SoC or an Espressif ESP32-PICO-V3-ZERO, which uses Espressif’s ESP32-V3 SoC. . Either means that makers of third-party Alexa products “don’t have to write Alexa skill, manage a cloud service, or develop complex network and security firmware” for the voice assistant to work.

Development board with Mediatek based ACK module integrated.

Development board with Mediatek based ACK module integrated.

Now Amazon is letting OEMs and system integrators build their own hardware modules in an effort to provide “greater control over costs and features.” Partners can use and work around an Amazon-approved SoC or “apply” to use their own SoC, Amazon said in its blog post. That sounds like a potential bottleneck, but Amazon is also adopting applications to give more SoCs the Amazon seal of approval.

The news provides an opportunity for greater variety in the components used in the ever-growing list of products incorporating Alexa. That can mean better battery life, for example. Amazon pointed to tweaks such as “refining power profiles by taking advantage of the SoC’s power-saving modes and better control over peripherals” as potential product benefits as Amazon loosened its hardware reins.

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