Amazon is following the Netflix strategy, embedding Alexa everywhere it can possibly make sense. There are TVs (of course – think Amazon Fire TV Stick), refrigerators, and all sorts of Amazon Echo-like docks, all using Alexa’s voice recognition technology without requiring the purchase of an Echo.
Add to that the devices that integrate with Alexa’s APIs, making themselves controllable by the user’s Amazon Echo.
You can read about some of these devices, shown off at CES 2017, in this Loop post.
But Amazon has even larger ambitions for Alexa ubiquity. They’ve inked a deal with Ford to add Alexa voice recognition to their SYNC system. From this New York Times article:
This week at the International CES, the giant electronics conference in Las Vegas, Ford Motor announced that owners of its cars would soon be able to use Amazon’s Alexa voice-activated assistant in their vehicles. Drivers will be able to ask for a weather report, stream music from Amazon Music or add appointments to their calendars. They will also be able to use Alexa from home to start or unlock their cars remotely.
But the automaker also envisions drivers using Alexa to help with other tasks — like shopping on Amazon. Stuck in traffic? You can take care of Valentine’s Day by saying, “Alexa, order flowers on Amazon.”
This last is a direct threat to Apple’s efforts with Siri and CarPlay. In the past, Siri and Alexa have played in largely separate spaces. That changed when Amazon added Alexa to the Amazon Fire TV Stick, offering a much cheaper path to Netflix than Apple TV.
Perhaps signaling their intentions, Amazon has not yet built an app for the Apple TV to allow Apple TV users to access Amazon Video. And now, Amazon is more directly challenging Apple in the car space. And the ability to ask Alexa to order flowers (and many, many other things) from the car shows Amazon’s intentions much more clearly. Amazon is going after their own form of ecosystem lock-in.