Amazon is opening up the Echo Button — the $20 light-up buttons that are designed to add a fun, physical component to interacting with Alexa — so developers can create their own games with the beta launch of the Gadgets Skill API.
While the Echo Buttons are largely meant for games (things like trivia or Simon Says-esque pattern tests), Amazon notes the API can be used for non-game interactions, too. For example, the Echo Button can be doubled as a physical interface for starting or stopping a time or as a sound effect generator.
The new API marks the latest step Amazon has made in opening up the Echo Buttons to developers, which first began with an early developer preview when the buttons were announced last September. The name of the API is also telling. When Amazon launched the Echo Buttons, the company said that they would be the first in a new line of “Alexa Gadgets,” and eventually, the Gadget Skill API will be used to control other devices in that product category, too. Six months later, we’re just getting to the Echo Buttons out of the five Echos Amazon unveiled last fall.