The microphone array allows for users to trigger the smart speaker from across their home or office with simple commands. Amazon opening it up to select developers could allow for more uniformity across the Echo/Alexa ecosystem and offer developers an easier way than sourcing or developing their own microphone solution elsewhere.
"With this new reference solution, developers can design products with the same unique 7-mic circular array, beamforming technology, and voice processing software that have made Amazon Echo so popular with customers," said Priya Abani, director at Amazon Alexa, in a prepared statement.
Amazon has never released any official sales numbers for the Echo. The trio of smart speakers December 2016 sales were "up over 9x compared to last year's holiday season and millions of Alexa devices sold worldwide this year."