Amazon is showing off a whole lot of new Echo goodies today, including everything from a revamped Echo Show to a smart plug and even a microwave. But for Microsoft followers, the company made an interesting announcement in the shadow off all these new devices: Skype calls are coming to an Echo device near you.
Skype integration is made possible by Amazon's choice to open up its communications API to third-party apps, and Skype is the first partner. From Amazon:
We're opening up our communications API to third-party developers.
And, we're excited announce that Skype will be the first partner to use these APIs. With this integration, we're expanding the global network of contacts that Alexa customers can reach to the hundreds of millions of people using Skype around the world. Customers can also enjoy Skype's low-cost calling package.
If you're a heavy Skype user, that's sure to be great news, but it leaves Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke smart speaker in an awkward position that only compounds its struggle to stand out from Amazon's offerings.
The ability to make Skype calls was arguably the only major advantage that Invoke could tout over the Echo line, but that's disappearing with this announcement. It's a win for consumers, to be sure. But it makes it harder to justify an Invoke when compared to the more expansive skillset of the Echo platform.
Perhaps that has something to do with today's $50 fire sale on the Invoke at Best Buy.
This is just the latest example of a partnership between Amazon and Microsoft that has been growing for some time. Alexa and Cortana have joined hands to work with one another, and your Echo will soon be able to act as a voice control input for your Xbox One.
For a rundown on everything Amazon announced today, be sure to check out Android Central's full coverage.
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