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, Windows.

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.

Opinion: Why has Google Glass pioneer Babak Parviz jumped ship to Amazon?

Amazon started off selling books from a garage and quickly grew to become the world's largest retailer and the industry leader when it comes to the Cloud. If I was to describe Amazon, I'd say the company has a mix of the traits of their closest competitors.

These traits include; Microsoft's ambition, Google's craziness, and Apple's ability to approach things differently.

Mobile devices are an arena in which Amazon is only just starting to move into; and cautiously. The recently-announced 'Fire Phone' has been...

By Ryan Daws, 18 July 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Android, Devices, Platforms.

Opinion: Amazon's "Fire Phone" burns creators, feeds consumers

Rather than teaching the next-generation to create, we're teaching them to consume. Amazon unveiled its anticipated Fire Phone yesterday and the company has removed almost all of Android's productive abilities and replaced them with the ability to easily buy and consume Amazon content. It really solidifies the viewpoint.

One of the key features of the Fire Phone is 'Firefly' where you can point at almost any object with the device's camera in order to purchase it. This is an impressive feat of technology, but...

By Ryan Daws, 19 June 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Android, App Stores, Devices, Platforms.

Amazon apps go global: Distribution expanded internationally

It's been announced that Amazon will be expanding their Appstore to include app distribution in several new countries. The Amazon Appstore for Android launches have previously included the UK, Japan, France, Spain, Italy and Germany and, while already a huge market, almost 200 more countries will be added to the distribution list, meaning that developers will be able to submit their apps more or less globally, reaching a whole new group of international customers.

Which Countries Are Being Included And When?...

By Ampheon, 03 February 2014, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, App Stores, Development Tools, Monetisation.

Amazon blazes forward with new FireOS and Kindle HD(X) devices

As a business which profits from content; Amazon, like Google, want their services in as many hands as possible – that’s why the companies sell subsidized devices such as the ‘Kindle’ and ‘Nexus’ lines (respectively) at a great value accessible to most.

Over the holiday launch period in late-2011; the original Kindle Fire HD shipped 1.2 million devices, placing the tablet in third place behind hardware heavyweights Apple and Samsung – gradually slipping as the gift...

By Ryan Daws, 25 September 2013, 1 comment. Categories: Amazon, Devices, Enterprise, Platforms.

Amazon’s API update offers innovative monetisation

Whilst Amazon is getting more immersed into their own hardware, software, and incredible cloud capabilities; at their forefront – the company is still the world’s largest online retailer.

This brings unique advantages in what the company can offer to not only consumers, but also developers...

The firm is expanding its advertising opportunities through the launch of its Mobile Associates API. This addition to Amazon’s portfolio will be available across their own products including the Kindle...

By Ryan Daws, 28 August 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Advertising, Amazon, Development Tools, Monetisation.

Amazon Web Services can Push your users a million times a month

Our favourite online bookstore (they still do books, right?) has expanded its popular Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform to include a unified alerts system for their Simple Notification Service.

Providing the ability to send push notifications to multiple devices simultaneously – even cross platform on; Android, iOS, and Kindle Fire hardware. This latest update is available to all current AWS customers at no extra cost.

Starting at this level contains support for handling up to one million notifications...

By Ryan Daws, 13 August 2013, 0 comments. Categories: Amazon, Cloud, Development Tools.