Amazon has launched a new software developer kit for Alexa, the cloud-based “brains” behind its voice-activated Amazon Echo device. The Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) offers application program interfaces and other tools for developers to build new capabilities for Alexa.

Additionally, Amazon has also opened its Alexa Voice Service to third-party hardware creators, meaning Alexa is effectively a free agent that’s unbridled from its Amazon confines.

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The Amazon Echo taps the Internet of Things concept of ubiquitous computing and smart homes, letting you control lights and switches using your voice. But you will need to buy other devices to actually execute the tasks, such as the Belkin WeMo Switch, which costs $43, or the WeMo Insight Switch and Light Switch. The Echo also works as a hands-free, always-on personal assistant that answers your questions on things like traffic, weather, and other information that can be found on the Internet.