Amazon's working on a software development kit for its 4-month-old in-home digital concierge, opening up the possibility that independent developers will soon be able to create third-party apps for the Echo.
The retailer revealed the news in an email to Echo users on Friday. “For those who want to help shape Echo’s future, the team is working on an SDK to help hobbyist and enthusiast developers create new apps and experiences,” the message said. The email also included a link to a signup page where developers and other interested parties can submit their email and ask to be notified of the SDK's beta test as well as any local events.
Today's news, while thin, suggests that there continues to be enough interest both with customers and with outside developers to justify the expense. That's good news for anyone who thought the Echo could really use a fart button app.
Kidding aside, I'd like to see the Echo gain the ability to act as an VOIP client, and also read ebooks, emails, and other text documents to you.
I've been wanting Kindle ebook support since the Echo launched, although to be honest I don't think I'd want to buy an Echo even if it had that ability. I've read enough stories of late on the problems of smart devices that I'm soured on the idea of sharing my space with an always on microphone.
The Echo remains an invite-only product, available for $99 to Amazon Prime members and $199 to others.