Amazon makes it cheaper to host Alexa skills on AWS

New promotional credits include a one-time $100 AWS credit that's valid for 12 months, plus an additional $100 recurring credit that's doled out on a monthly basis. ​

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Amazon is now offering $100 promotional credits that will make it free for developers to host and build most Alexa skills on AWS Lambda.

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Alexa is the brain of Amazon's Echo and digital assistant efforts, and the skills are essentially apps built by third-party developers that allow Alexa to deliver additional services and features. Amazon says there are now more than 10,000 Alexa skills available.

These new promotional credits are designed to cover any additional cloud storage and computing costs incurred by developers for Alexa skills that go beyond the limits of the current AWS Free Tier.

Amazon says most Alexa developers take advantage of the free tier, which offers one million AWS Lambda requests and up to 750 hours of Amazon EC2 compute time per month at no cost. However, when skills see extensive use and exceed the AWS Free Tier limits, developers get hit with a monthly usage charge.

The promotional credits are Amazon's way of removing the price barrier and encouraging developers to build more robust skills. The move is also a way for Amazon to one-up Google in the competition for developer mindshare.

"There is already a large community of incredibly engaged developers building skills for Alexa," said Steve Rabuchin, VP of Amazon Alexa. "Today, we're excited to announce a new program that will free up developers to create more robust and unique skills that can take advantage of AWS services. We can't wait to see what developers create for Alexa."

Developers must have at least one skill live in order to apply for the credit program. The credits include a one-time $100 AWS credit that's valid for 12 months, plus an additional $100 recurring credit that's doled out on a monthly basis.

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