Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to put Alexa everywhere. One of the core underpinnings of the e-commerce giant's strategy is to increase the number of access points to its virtual assistant, to the point where Alexa is nearly ubiquitous in the user's life. That's why Amazon has a large stable of third-party manufacturers that integrate Alexa into their gadgets, and why it offers a growing line of affordable first-party devices.
There's about to be a lot more of the latter.
Expanding into new categories
CNBC reports that Amazon has no less than eight new Alexa devices in the pipeline. They're set to be released by the end of 2018. Among the Alexa-powered products are a microwave, an amplifier, a subwoofer, a receiver, and some type of device intended to be placed in a car, according to the report. These are product categories, such as home appliances and high-end audio equipment, that Amazon has not yet ventured into directly. However, there are similar connected products that support Alexa made by third-party manufacturers, so Amazon would be looking to compete with some of its partners.
By releasing more of its own devices, Amazon will likely be able to accelerate its momentum in the smart home, connecting more and more appliances that can be controlled by Alexa from near or far. In particular, the foray into the car is especially meaningful.
Driving with Alexa
Imagine being able to ask Alexa to accomplish tasks while you're driving to work, or having it control your smart-home devices like an alarm system or locks as you go out for the evening. While many automakers have been integrating various voice controls into vehicles for years now, those are typically relegated to features within the car itself. Sure, other virtual assistants can find their ways into your car with features like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but direct integration offers far more convenience.
That's why Amazon launched an Alexa Auto software development kit (SDK) in August, providing tools for automakers to integrate Alexa directly into cars. The SDK includes new features that are specifically designed for automotive use cases, like navigation and local business search. To be clear, Amazon has already been working with some automakers to integrate Alexa. Audi unveiled its first electric car last night, the E-tron, which integrates Alexa, for instance.
Much like the rumored gadgets, releasing the SDK will help Amazon build on its current momentum. Slowly but surely, Alexa is finding its way to every imaginable product category and form factor in Amazon's quest for ubiquity.