Amazon’s toy car helps developers code self-driving tech

Amazon has unveiled a toy car designed to help developers safely test self-driving code which could be used in full-sized vehicles.

The 1/18th-scale vehicle is called DeepRacer and costs $249 if pre-ordered, or $399 post-release.

DeepRacer wants to help democratise reinforcement learning development. The technique was used by Alphabet’s researchers to create AlphaGo, an AI which defeated the human world champion of the notoriously difficult Go board game.

Created by the Amazon Web Services division, the...

By Ryan Daws, 29 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Amazon, Devices, IoT.

Amazon Web Services opens up machine learning courses to all developers – for free

If you want to get on board with machine learning, then there may be good news from Amazon Web Services (AWS). The cloud giant has opened up its machine learning courses previously used to train Amazon engineers to all developers.

There are more than 30 digital courses totalling more than 45 hours of material, focusing on four key groups: developers, data scientists, data platform engineers, and business professionals. Devs...

By James Bourne, 27 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Amazon, Development Tools.

Amazon releases Reminders API for Alexa developers

Amazon has released a new Reminders API which enables developers to expand the notifications Alexa users can receive.

Using the API, users can set reminders for things such as picking the kids up from school or getting that bill paid.

When enabling a skill, the user must grant permission for reminders. They’ll also need to give permission for each subsequent reminder they wish to set to avoid developers abusing their new powers.

Vytas Kancleris, CTO at TvGuide.co.uk said it was easy to add to their...

By Ryan Daws, 06 November 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Amazon, API, Platforms.

Amazon’s new APIs make your front porch smarter

Amazon has continued its smart home offensive with a set of new APIs for developers targeted at making our front porches smarter.

There are three new APIs in total – Doorbell Events Source API, Motion Sensor API, and 2-Way Communication API.

Each of their names gives away their use somewhat, but for a full breakdown:

  • Doorbell Events Source monitors for a doorbell press so a relevant action can be taken upon user interaction. The Doorbell Event Source endpoint is prompted by a press of the doorbell through the Doorbellpress event.

  • Motion Sensor...

By Ryan Daws, 16 October 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, IoT.

Amazon Polly adds over 50 TTS voices to Twilio's platform

Twilio’s communications platform has added over 50 Text-To-Speech (TTS) voices thanks to Amazon's deep learning-based Polly service.

Amazon Polly offers lifelike synthesized speech across various languages.

“You can select the ideal voice and build speech-enabled applications that work in many different countries,” says Amazon on Polly’s page.

Twilio is a cloud-based platform which aims to make it easy for developers to build...

By Ryan Daws, 07 August 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, Platforms.

Getting OTT to work: How to ensure quality and satisfy users

“Over-the-top”, or OTT, is the sexiest term in entertainment right now. We are on the cusp on significant change in a world that hasn’t changed a great deal in the last 50 years - and OTT sits at the centre of the inevitable and unstoppable merger between the worlds of television and digital video.

For app developers, as well as entertainment companies offering movies and TV shows on demand, the

By Carlo Cadet, 10 July 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Android, Development Tools, Testing.

Alexa can now monetise her ‘Skills’

Amazon has announced new tools for Alexa which enable ‘Skills’ for the digital assistant to be monetised.

The fight for the smart home between Amazon and Google continues to heat up. Just yesterday, our sister publication IoT News reported that Google Assistant has tripled the number of devices it supports in four months.

Today, Amazon is announcing in-skill purchasing (ISP) and support for Amazon Pay in Alexa Skills....

By Ryan Daws, 04 May 2018, 0 comments. Categories: AI, Amazon, IoT, Monetisation, Platforms.

Amazon’s GameOn APIs enable powerful eSports features

Amazon has announced the launch of its GameOn set of APIs which enable developers to add powerful eSports features to their games.

The APIs can be used to add cross-platform competitive gaming across mobile, PC, and console. Built on AWS’ cloud infrastructure, GameOn works on any operating system.

“GameOn has made it easy for us to add leaderboards and tournaments in-game,” said Pascal...

By Ryan Daws, 19 March 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, Gaming.

Alexa learns to cook via the Smart Home Skill API

An update to Amazon’s Smart Home Skill API has introduced support for Alexa to control a range of cooking devices.

The new capabilities will enable Alexa to control kitchen devices including microwaves and conventional ovens. Support for the former is available today, while for ovens is said to be coming soon.

Users of apps...

By Ryan Daws, 05 January 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API.

Sumerian helps developers build AR, VR, and 3D apps in Amazon’s cloud

Sumerian is a new service from Amazon which aims to help developers build AR, VR, and 3D applications in AWS.

The low-code tool offers a point-and-click user interface for building scenes and applications which should help to make AR and VR development more accessible without the need for years of coding and design experience.

Sumerian has a built-in library of pre-built assets and templates, but users can...

By Ryan Daws, 27 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Cloud, Development Tools, VR.

Developers can now migrate their Lex chatbots to Alexa

Amazon has rolled out the ability for developers to migrate their chatbots based on the Lex framework into a skill for Alexa.

Jeff Bezos' company is a story of successes. Amazon’s line of smart speakers, Echo, are by far the most popular on the market and can join the company’s long list of achievements.

The AI powering these speakers, Alexa, may be lackluster in some areas, but its capabilities are going from...

By Ryan Daws, 08 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Development Tools, Platforms.

Got engaging Alexa skills? Amazon will now reward your efforts

Amazon has announced that developers ‘of eligible skills’ in Alexa, the company’s personal assistant software, will be remunerated under a new program.

The initiative, available to developers with the highest customer engagement in the US, UK and Germany, is through six new categories: education and reference, food and drink, health and fitness, lifestyle, music and audio, and productivity.

Amazon had previously been rewarding top game developers with a program rolled out in May, while...

By James Bourne, 21 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, Development Tools.

Skills for Alexa will soon push notifications to devices

Skills for Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa will soon be able to send push notifications to supported devices.

The notifications could alert users to new content available on their Echo or other Alexa-supported devices with a chime and pulsing green light. Announced this morning, Washington Post, Life360, JustEat, and AccuWeather will be among the first four skills with the ability to push notifications to users who opt-in to receive alerts (which can be done on a skill-by-skill basis.)

In the...

By Ryan Daws, 17 May 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, IoT, Platforms.

Amazon launches developer tools for Alexa gaming

(Image Credit: Amazon)

Amazon wants to improve Alexa's gaming prowess by introducing a new set of tools which makes it easier for developers to build related experiences. 

The impressive voice assistant has gone from strength-to-strength and is often seen as the leading AI for the smart home thanks to integrations with third party devices – the result of a burgeoning developer scene for Amazon's bestselling Echo device which features Alexa for interactions. 

Whilst most voice...

By Ryan Daws, 03 August 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Development Tools, Gaming.

Amazon launches Dash-based programmable IoT button – sells out within a day

(Image Credit: Amazon)

AWS (Amazon Web Services) is popular, the IoT is hot, and when you combine the two in a product for developers it sells out within a day. 

Based on the single button 'Dash' hardware by Amazon – which has been used in the past to order items with a button press – the AWS IoT version is a "Limited Release Programmable Dash Button" for developers to get started with AWS IoT, AWS Lambda, Amazon...

By Ryan Daws, 17 May 2016, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Cloud, Devices, Hacking, IoT.

Alliance for Open Media will deliver next-generation media formats

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/sd619)

The web is based on a collection of standards which even Apple knows must be open in order to thrive. Several high-profile technology companies have formed a new alliance to create the next-generation of media streaming formats. 

Heavyweights including Netflix, Google, Amazon, Intel, Mozilla, Cisco, Microsoft, and more have partnered for the 'Alliance for Open Media' which hopes to...

By Ryan Daws, 02 September 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, HTML5, Industry, Microsoft.

Sky is the limit with Amazon's Cloud Drive API

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/zakokor)

Amazon's Cloud Drive API allows third-party developers to integrate the company's storage solution into their applications for users to do more with the masses of files placed into Amazon Web Services' vast amount of global servers.

The API is REST and provides the ability to create, read, and update documents in a Cloud Drive user's...

By Ryan Daws, 04 February 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, API, Cloud.

Google Play outpaces iOS' App Store for third year

Android holds the largest smartphone marketshare around the world, and therefore marks an important platform for developers to reach the biggest audience possible. The app store which accompanies Google's mobile OS has seen meteoric growth, but has trailed behind Apple's iOS in submitted apps due to its later launch.

The latest report from appFigures points towards a change of tides...

By Ryan Daws, 13 January 2015, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Android, App Stores, Ecosystem, iOS, Platforms.

Amazon’s acquisition of Twitch puts a huge marker on the e-sports market

Late last night, it was reported that Amazon had bought video game streaming provider Twitch for a total of $970m (£585m) in cash, having beaten rivals Google and Yahoo to the punch.

The deal represents the biggest in Amazon’s history, according to Simply Business, ahead of the retail giant’s $928m buyout of Zappos in 2009. According to Geekwire’s analysis, Amazon is paying approximately $17.60 per Twitch user, compared to online shoe retailer Zappos’ $206 per user valuation.

Twitch confirmed...

By James Bourne, 26 August 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon.