Amazon today announced app-to-app account linking, a way for developers to enable an Alexa skill through an iOS or Android mobile application. Users can link an existing Amazon account when setting up a new service or device, which completes the setup via the Alexa Skill Activation API. Account linking can be used to personalize skill experiences.
The new service gives mobile app developers a way to easily extend a service to an Alexa skill — and gives Amazon a mobile foothold. This is important since, unlike Siri and Google Assistant, Alexa is not native to any mobile operating system.
In iOS account linking requires only a two-step process, while Android users must login using their Amazon account information.
Alexa skills can also be enabled with voice, via the Alexa Skills library on Amazon.com, or in the Alexa app.
Reducing the friction to connect Alexa with other devices has been a goal lately: In July, Amazon introduced skill connections so any third-party voice app can, for example, print with an HP printer or schedule a taxi.
Alexa voice control is also shifting to interact with more devices.
Earlier this month, Custom Interfaces for Alexa made its debut, a way to exchange information between custom Alexa skills and smart home devices. Built on the Gadgets Toolkit, this would allow the maker of a piano keyboard, for example, to offer a custom skill for teaching piano lessons.
In June, the Alexa Conversations beta was introduced to stitch together a series of Alexa skills to create curated experiences, reducing dozens of voice actions down to just a few.
Proactive hunches to provide smart home suggestions about how to control Alexa’s intelligence is also evolving, so now you can simply say “Alexa, vacuum the house” instead of “Alexa, tell Roomba to vacuum the house.”