The great performance of Amazon’s Echo and a recent acquisition indicate a new front for the online giant in chip design that will give it an edge over competitors.
Amazon first ventured into chip design back in 2015 when it acquired Annapurna Labs. It also acquired Blink towards the end of 2017 for a reported $90 million. This most recent acquisition points to a revamped effort to increase its foothold and control the technology that goes into its devices. The company is said to be developing a special chip that can execute tasks based on artificial intelligence. This chip would reside within the Echo reducing the instances which the home assistant will be dependent on Amazon’s cloud service.
Amazon’s cloud service is used to generate audio fingerprints on the fly with the servers responding instantly to requests from the digital home assistant. However, redundancies common when using such services is pushing device manufacturers to provide increased computing capabilities in new products to reduce dependence on cloud services.
This development by Amazon will enable Alexa to process a huge number of queries without the back and forth to its cloud service. Blink’s camera technology which enables them to run on two AA batteries for almost two years could also come in handy to help develop a portable Echo.
If Amazon gets it right in the chip game it could lead to development of low-power chips that may lead to increased portability of its Echo devices. The company is already designing its own artificial intelligence chips for Amazon Web Services, its cloud computing division.