Amazon Echo beta SDK coming for developers, content providers

The cloud and retail giant is preparing to expand its voice-activated assistant's capabilities with the launch of a beta software development kit to help outsiders to build apps.

(Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet)

A select few developers can now build apps for the Amazon Echo, the company's debut voice-activated assistant.

The pre-release software-development kit (SDK) program is by invitation only, similar to the way the Echo purchase was handled.

See related: Amazon Echo review: A perfect 10

Those wanting to sign up for the beta SDK should head over to the sign-up page. There's not much information about the program, nor what it requires to get selected, though the page implies that Java, Ruby, Python, Node.js, PHP, and JavaScript might be supported in the SDK.

This is great news for Amazon Echo owners. It may be the vehicle for getting expanded functionality to the device, such as controlling smart home devices by talking to the device.

The Amazon Echo is a unique device that impressed me so much I gave it a rare perfect 10 rating in my review. It does what it does well, but the range of functions could be better if owners and developers were able to write their own apps.

The release of a beta SDK for the Echo also begs the question if apps in the Amazon Appstore might also be coming soon.