It seems as though Amazon is looking to expand the Echo's Alexa as a platform, having announced a software development kit and a $100 million investment fund.

The announcement comes only a few days after Amazon opened up its Echo for public sale, having generated a lot of buzz and developer interest since it was first announced.

"When we launched Amazon Echo we immediately heard from developers about the innovative voice experiences they would create if they had access to an SDK," said Greg Hart, Vice President of Amazon's Echo and Alexa Voice Services. "Today, we're making the Alexa Skills Kit available to any developer, maker, or general hobbyist that wants to invent on behalf of customers, creating new skills and capabilities. We can't wait to see what developers are going to invent with this technology."

The goal is that developers will be able to take advantage of Alexa for their applications and/or services, with a number of companies already having expressed interest in the system, including the likes of Intuit, StubHub and AOL.

While the Amazon Echo is a great device, many are hailing it because of the interest around Alexa and around voice-based computing. Combined with its voice recognition features the Echo represents, for some, the future of computers. In opening up the platform to developers, the Echo has the potential to be even more of a game-changer. To date, one of its main drawbacks has been a lack of third-party integration, and it's nice to see Amazon seeking to remedy this.

With the Alexa Skills Kit, which enables software hooks, developers will be able to connect their apps and their software to the Echo. Not only that, but it is free to use, and is extremely easy to use.

Of course, the $100 million investment fund will certainly help kickstart the developer program, and it proves that Amazon is taking the Echo and Alexa seriously.

The Echo is especially important for Amazon because it could potentially be the cornerstone for Amazon's entire Internet-of-Things strategy, with other device all connecting and interacting with the Echo.

Amazon is certainly in a position to develop a great IoT system. The company has a lot of experience in mining and analyzing data about consumer behavior, and it is able to bring all of that information and knowledge into Alexa, and by extension into the Echo.

Only time will tell how big of an impact the Echo and Alexa can impact the tech world, however Amazon is certainly putting itself in a position to make a difference.

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