Amazon wants to upskill Alexa to stay ahead of voice rivals

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Amazon has confirmed the new gadgets and placed special emphasis on how this will be the first smart glasses with Alexa.

Pulciani told Business Insider that Amazon paid $100,000 to Alexa's top developer past year and rewarded others with $10,000 or more.

A pair of Amazon Alexa-enabled digital glasses is debuting at CES this week. Vuzix has scheduled the release of the AR glasses for the second quarter of this year. The company has announced a new "Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit" that will allow hardware manufacturers to integrate Alexa with wearable products like headphones and smartwatches.

Instead of adding a bulk of code to enable Alexa integration, Amazon claims that the Alexa Mobile Accessory Kit enables OEMs to connect their Bluetooth audio-capable devices directly to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) via the Amazon Alexa app on end users' mobile devices. The latest development is a lightweight solution of the AVS Device SDK that the company launched past year to let OEMs start integrating Alexa into their Bluetooth-supported connected devices. However, these devices won't come with Alexa built in and will rather connect to the Alexa app via Bluetooth.

Vuzix is no stranger to smartglasses. According to the latest report, Alexa-powered AR smart glasses will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week. Amazon would generate revenue from its Alexa service, while Vuzix's smart glasses would easily appeal to the smart assistant's following. Users will thus be able to access all of the great features that Alexa has to offer.

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Companies including Apple and Facebook-owned Oculus are rumoured to also be working on their native AR glasses. Amazon has also promised that support for other home appliances will soon be added as well. Or you ask Alexa, among its numerous other skills, to catch you up on the news, weather, and traffic while you're shaving, say.

Amazon's digital assistant is branching out.

In August, Microsoft tied-up with Amazon to let Cortana and Alexa work together - rivaling Google Assistant and Siri.

As Amazon points out, OEMs no longer have to handle most of the coding themselves in order to integrate Alexa into their devices.

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