Amazon Cuts Alexa Connect Kit Cloud Fees to Encourage Smart Device Builders
Amazon has cut the Alexa Connect Kit cloud fee by three-quarters to reduce the cost of building Alexa-enabled modules for smart home devices. The price reduction comes with the release of the developer preview of the ACK software development kit to make it easier to modules for smart lights, switches, and other small devices.
The cloud fee had been $2 until now, with Amazon dropping the price to $0.50 for all device makers. Though the price reduction is universal, Amazon said it is looking to stimulate developers to work on certain kinds of devices, those that are already at the lower end of the price spectrum like dimmer switches, plugs, air purifiers, and similar products. The new ACK SDK is a source code for prototyping using Espressif and other chipmakers.
“With connected devices becoming increasingly ubiquitous around the world, customers have come to expect stress-free and low cost products for their smart homes,” Amazon developer Ashish Pal explained in a blog post. “We want to enable our device maker partners to offer their customers more value and greater selection. With the cloud fee reduction and the flexibility to build lower cost modules, we will enable our partners to grow their business by reducing their costs. Device makers can pass along these savings to end customers, lowering the price premium of connected devices for end consumers.”
The reduction in price is also notable for its timing. Amazon has just launched the Alexa Skill Developer Accelerator Program. The program ups the percentage of earnings from Alexa skills given to developers from 70% to 80% if they bring in less than $1 million a year. The increased revenue share will roll out with new ways for developers to capture traffic and boost the visibility of their skills. Amazon claims the benefits are worth as much as another 10% in potential revenue. The shift in cloud fees and new ACK SDK won’t matter much for premium kinds of products like the proactive iRobot Roomba, but the news may draw plenty of interest from other manufacturers. And while Amazon refuted reports that many people don’t use Alexa devices for more than a few tasks or for very long, expanding the types and sources of Alexa smart home products while cutting costs might help encourage people to integrate the voice assistant into more of their home life.
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