Amazon’s Echo, Dot and Tap, all robot powered speakers, continue to grow in popularity among houses nationwide, as consumers continue to prefer “smart” speakers over regular systems. However, the speakers are also promoting a new wave of developer interest, which come in the form of add-ons, dubbed “skills”. These skills allow users to teach Amazon’s personal assistant Alexa some new tricks, such as calling users and uber or ordering a pizza. On Friday, Amazon announced its Alexa app store has over 1,000 skills. This is a benchmark achievement, especially because the echo was in limited supply just last June.
Amazon also enabled Alex to power other devices, such as the Fire TV, thanks to its open and inviting platform. This ecosystem of apps is growing to new levels, especially considering the skills section was a mere 130 apps this past January. The company announce several new additions to Alex’s skills, including Capital One, Domino’s, Fitbit, KAYAK, SmartThings, and Uber. Director of Alexa Rob Pulciani also commented that the developer size is around tens of thousands. This information implies a significant interest in Alexa, even if not all developers are launching apps.
Developers have plans to build on the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) by allowing their voice powered apps to work with Alexa. Alexa can hear and understand the user’s request, and resolve it. Alexa’s capabilities are also improving over time. For example, in March Amazon improved her voice services, and are now releasing four new ASK built in intents that help users of third party apps to navigate the skills easier. This includes being able to go to the next item in a list, pause an action in progress, go back to a previous item, or resume an action.
The Alexa app store: the section in the Alexa app that works with the connected speaker and on Alexa powered devices, is in its early stages. Search does not quite work as well as planned, there are no categories or top charts, something users see in every other app store. With over 1,000 apps and growing, Amazon will definitely have to step up their game so that potential users can easily find what they need.