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Amazon’s excellent mic system could soon end up in third-party Alexa devices

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Dan Seifert / The Verge

Amazon already lets other companies build the Echo’s voice assistant, Alexa, into their own products, and now it’s going to start letting them build in the Echo’s microphone tech, too.

Companies building Alexa into their own products will be able to apply to use the Echo’s seven-mic system and the software Amazon has built out to make those seven microphones so good at listening to what owners have to say.

While developers will be able to use Amazon’s code wholesale, they’ll still have to source their own hardware for the microphones. But Amazon will provide a reference kit so that companies have an easier time doing that.

Opening this tech up to third parties should make the development of Alexa devices even quicker, and it’ll likely make them better, too. Rather than every company having to develop its own microphone and processing system (or buy one of unproven quality), these companies can now just go straight to Amazon, which already has a working system — and a good one at that.

Amazon will give its software and dev kits away for free, but access isn’t open to everyone. Interested developers will have to apply to Amazon for access, providing details on what kind of devices they’re building and how many they hope to ship.

Update April 13th, 11:13AM ET: This story has been updated with pricing and hardware details.