Amazon’s Alexa voice-controlled operating system is already proving highly successful not just in pulling off voice interaction that actually works, but in also creating a working SDK around it that makes it scalable and adaptable to a range of devices and features. A new Amazon patent shows where the company is looking to take the Alexa software further. And that direction is continuing Amazon’s appetite to compete in pretty much every space, taking on the phone market.
The planned devices from Amazon will make use of existing voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology similar to Microsoft’s Skype service, except Amazon is integrating the technology directly into their hardware rather than taking the strictly software approach from Microsoft. The patent highlights how the Alexa service can link directly to a user’s network carrier and then route all calls directly to the Alexa device over the network. While the device will make use of the phone and the network carrier, the device itself is not required for the interaction and the Alexa phones will handle all aspects of the conversation.
It doesn’t really bring too much fresh to the market, as hands-free calling is already available on devices and you can use a service like Skype to take calls from a variety of devices around your house. What Amazon has going for them though is their exceptional voice recognition software that is more likely to actually phone your wife Pattie than order a pizza. It’s also able to pick up your voice from a further location, making it more hands-free than most existing devices. Costs to and from the Alexa device will be billed as usual to the specified network carrier and will likely only be confined to US markets for now before Amazon will expand to international markets.
It’s not the most ground-breaking idea from Amazon, but represents the first step in a newer market where they will likely innovate further and add features that could seriously challenge the handset market. Personally, until it offers holographic video calling I won’t be impressed, but what I am interested seeing is how the rest of the market responds to this threat.
Last Updated: May 3, 2017