Amazon Announces October Updates to Alexa ASK

Amazon added a number of tools and features to the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) in October. Amazon published a video roundup to run developers through the updates. From new languages and personalization capabilities to better metric data and expanded regional support, here's a summary of the updates:

  1. Spanish skills in the US: developers can now publish skills with the Spanish language in the US. Those Spanish-based skills can be monetized through in-skill purchasing and Alexa Developer Rewards. Learn more here.
  2. Premium Kid Skills: Developers now have access to in-skill purchasing for kid skills. In-skill purchases allow developers to offer premium content through subscriptions or one-time purchases specifically for kid skills. Learn more here.
  3. Skill personalization: Developers can personalize a skill-based on a voice profile. Once a profile is created, Alexa can identify the speaker and respond according to speaker preferences or settings. Learn more here.
  4. Echo Dot and Alexa Presentation Language: Skills for the Echo Dot with a clock can now be built using the Alexa Presentation Language (APL). The Echo Dot with clock includes a display, and APL uses this display to create visual skill experiences. Learn more here.
  5. APL updates: Alexa Presentation Language supports a number of new features: shadow effects, noise filters, remote play/pause buttons, and hover. Learn more here.
  6. Get Metrics API: A new API, the Get Metrics API, allows developers to access data about skills without logging in to the developer console. By providing better access to skills data, developers can better optimize skill engagement. Learn more here.
  7. Alexa Smart Home Developers: A beta version of a testing tool from Alexa Smart Home Lighting and Thermostat skill has been released. The tool allows developers to automate tests associated with these skills. The tools are accessed through the Skill Management API or the ASK CLI.
  8. AWS Lambda regions: Developers can now host Lambda Alexa skills in additional regions. Expanded regional support should reduce latency due to less need from cross-region calls. Check out the entire supported list here.

Stay tuned to the Alexa Developer Blog for more updates. 

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