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Amazon Is Opening Up This Echo Feature to Other Manufacturers
Amazon Echo has been a massive hardware hit, and now the e-commerce giant is letting other manufacturers use its technology in their own voice-controlled devices.
The Amazon Echo, which the company debuted in 2015, is a tall cylinder that includes a speaker and supports Alexa, a voice-controlled helper that answers questions, plays music on-command, and orders groceries, among other tasks.
Amazon is now letting other manufacturers access select blueprints for Echo so they can make their own devices using voice recognition. Called Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development, the new offering includes the hardware designs for Echo microphones; the software for word recognition, noise reduction, and echo cancellation; and the ability to integrate Alexa.
The company said that it would be working with manufacturers on a case-by-case basis, but would not be charging companies to use the new offering.
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Amazon has also started letting manufacturers integrate Alexa elsewhere. In December, GE Lighting said it would use Alexa in a new lamp that can understand voice commands. By enlisting manufacturers like GE, Amazon hopes to encourage greater adoption of its assistant as it competes with Apple and Google.